Security Trends 2014: Ransomware, Madware and Cloud based attacks to grow, says Symantec

India is among world’s top five countries for the highest number of incidences of cybercrime such as Ransomware, Identity Theft and Phishing, said Tarun Kaura, director, Technology Sales, India and SAARC, Symantec, in the company’s latest Information Security Predictions for 2014.

India also witnessed a 280 percent increase in Bot infections, with a sizable percentage coming from emerging cities such as Bhubaneswar, Surat, Cochin, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam, Indore, Kota, Ghaziabad and Mysore.

The year 2013 has been eventful for the Information Security space as information became the most valuable and challenging asset for organizations while being borderless and dispersed, as cloud, mobility and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) took a stronger hold on businesses.

Information Security has been immensely threatened with businesses, government and individuals relying on the Internet for dynamic needs and cybercriminals have devised more sophisticated methods/techniques to trap victims, Kaura said.

Cyber crime

Blurring boundaries between consumer and business, sophistication in enterprise attacks and dispersion of authority for security within the ecosystem has led to growing concerns over data, financial information and critical infrastructure.

The threats observed throughout the year focused around social engineering techniques such as Ransomware, Madware and Cloud based attacks aimed at financial gains, IP and in some cases to bring down the critical infrastructure.

Symantec predicts this trend will only further increase as cyber criminals continue to employee more sophisticated and targeted techniques. They will continue to focus their attacks on data stored on the cloud vs. data stored on the network, thus putting a massive challenge for enterprises to handle.

Any new social network that attracts users will also attract scammers and miscreants. It has been observed that individuals are increasingly choosing convenience over safety and constantly exhibiting a potentially risky behavior online.

According to the latest Norton Report 2013, 18 percent social media users connect with people they do not know and 61 percent access their social network account over unsecure WiFi. Therefore it is important to protect yourself by using security best practices no matter where you are on the Internet or how you connect to it especially on social networks.

With millions of devices connected to the Internet—and in many cases running an embedded operating system—in 2014, they will become a magnet for hackers. Security researchers have already demonstrated attacks against smart televisions, medical equipment and security cameras.

“Already we’ve seen baby monitors attacked and traffic was shut down on a major tunnel in Israel, reportedly due to hackers accessing computer systems via a security camera system,” the report says.

Major software vendors have figured out how to notify customers and get patches for vulnerabilities to them. The companies building gadgets that connect to the Internet don’t even realize they have an oncoming security problem. These systems are not only vulnerable to an attack – they also lack notification methods for consumers and businesses when vulnerabilities are discovered.

Even worse, they don’t have a friendly end-user method to patch these new vulnerabilities. Given this, we are going to see new threats in ways in which we’ve never seen before.

Third party consultants, suppliers and partners outside the enterprise network as well as business associates in the ecosystem will be the easy targets for attackers as they are the weakest links in the information exchange chain. This includes consultants, contractors, vendors and others who typically share sensitive information or even have access to the networks of large organizations and Government entities.

Increasingly enterprises and individuals are using public clouds to store and access data. As per the latest Norton Report 2013, 29 percent individuals in India and 24 percent across the world are already practicing this trend. And with rise in usage of these platforms for both personal and private information, it is highly likely that we will see this as an easy target for cybercriminals to penetrate these data-rich cloud platforms for profitable motives.

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