Between the controversial DNC email leak, theft of $81m from a Bangladesh bank, disclosure of two giant Yahoo! hacks and the DDoS attack that took down much of the internet, 2016 has seen an unprecedented wave of cyber security attacks.
It is clear that cyber cyber security attacks are evolving fast and defenders need to keep apace.
By analysing current security trends, we can try to gauge what the cyber security attacks of the future will look like. Here are three predictions for 2017:
(1) Attackers will undermine data integrity
We should expect a shift in the criminal business model to start affecting strategic business decisions, instead of just witnessing cyber security attacks stealing data.
Critical infrastructure providers are often cited as targets for hacktivists that might wish to, for instance, turn off an oil rig.
Instead of targeting the oil rig itself, it is possible for cyber security attacks to hide smart malware in the geophysical survey databases able to change the underlying data, so that the multi-million pound drilling rights are bought in the wrong places and many oil rigs come up drier than expected.
If you think the survey database is too well protected, you could attack the ocean sensors (Internet of Things) that are collecting the data in the first place, to ensure you are able to influence the decisions right from the start of the information supply chain?.
This is just one example of how attackers could cause damage by undermining the integrity of data. But ultimately, any business that makes strategic decisions based on data is equally vulnerable, such as the financial services sector.
On the next page, read on for the dangers and benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning when it comes to cyber security attacks.