What could we see in 2018 - cyber security predictions from the industry

As 2017 drew to a close we have taken a look back at the cyber attacks that took place, and it’s safe to say that 2018 is going to be a busy year for cyber security. The Equifax data breach was one of the biggest breaches of 2017, alongside the security breaches for companies such as Uber and also the NHS. A key prediction within the cyber security industry is that large-scale hacks are going to continue into 2018 with increased financial fraud, smart device hacks and also the beginnings of AI supported malware. 

A lot of organisations particularly in the UK feel that data hacks will reduce thanks to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The implementation of the GDPR has led to a lot of organisations taking action to update their systems and protocols, however, others are not jumping to action quick enough. Unfortunately, even though GDPR has been introduced large data breaches will not diminish. How businesses react and respond is the key here and how they minimise consumer data being published. 

Alongside large scale data breaches, another prediction for 2018 is smart device hacking. This threat can be exercised in many ways whether that be information acquisition, cyber fraud or even  taken to ‘big brother’ levels. There has been a lot of press around how virtual assistants such as Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home could be recording audio without users knowing and this could be detrimental in a smart device hack.

In terms of mobile device security, with the increase in commercial activity growing on mobile devices, there is a greater potential for hackers and fraudsters to reap the reward. Due to increased mobile usage there is likely to be a large increase in financially focused cyber attacks on mobile devices in 2018 (particularly in peak retail windows such as Black Friday, Summer sales and Christmas).

Phishing is also something to keep a close eye on in 2018, as they have grown in sophistication and even the most cyber-security savvy are becoming victimised by them. This coupled with AI supported malware means that cyber security threats are increasing higher for 2018. Despite AI being relatively new in the world of technology, ‘smart malware’ is now able to imitate emails in terms of tone, language preferences and even spelling mistakes. So keep an eye out of increased phishing, smart malware and potential AI supported phishing in the future. 

Finally, with the increased attention in the world press around state-sponsored attacks, these are likely to increase in 2018 with nations attempting to extort, spy and disrupt on others by infiltrating information systems. Key infrastructures such as power and communications could be key targets for these attacks and they are something that governments should be focusing on to ensure the protection of their inhabitants.

There are other cyber threats that are always present and must be at the forefront of the minds of both organisations and end users, but these are some of the key threats that the cyber security industry predict will arise in 2018. So make sure you are prepared and are taking action to prevent being victimised by one of these. 

FIONA GODFREY