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Online Security Predictions For 2015

Monday, January 26th, 2015

2014 was a pretty bad year for online security and privacy. The year witnessed increased government surveillance across the world as well as sophisticated cyber-attacks against corporations like Apple, Sony and Microsoft. As we move into the new year, here are some security and privacy predictions that are likely to dominate headlines in 2015:

1) Ransomware – 2014 witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of cases involving ransomware, a kind of malware in which criminals lock access to data or devices and demand money for releasing them. While earlier these types of attacks were restricted only against computers, recent trends show that hackers are now increasingly targeting mobile devices to extort money from their owners. Although the rise of online backup options provide a cushion against such threats, the number of attacks involving ransomware is expected to go up significantly in 2015.

2) Internet of Things (IOT) – As more and more devices start talking to each other and connecting to the internet, things are going to get a lot worse on the security front. The threat against Internet of Things would not only affect automobiles and home automation systems but also simple kitchen appliances that can directly connect to the web.

3) Legacy and Open Source Systems – Shellshock and Heartbleed exploits dominated headlines in 2014 and experts warn that we should be prepared for more such attacks in 2015. Legacy and open source systems form the backbone of the current IT and web based infrastructure but as the exploitation of these two vulnerabilities has shown, criminals can cause a massive damage just by discovering vulnerabilities in systems that were previously considered secure.

4) Payment Systems – As more and more people start using mobile payment systems like Apple Pay, there would be a greater incentive for criminals to target them. In addition, criminals would continue to target users of online banking and ecommere sites through sophisticated phishing and malware based attacks.

5) Online Surveillance – Online freedom experienced a significant decline in 2014 and the trend is expected to continue in 2015 as well. Governments around the world have increased their online surveillance capabilities plus they have also put severe restrictions on the freedom of expression on the web. On the positive side, 2015 could witness development of new tools or security protocols that may help the masses to protect their privacy on the internet.

6) Cloud Security – Since more and more organizations are now moving their data to the cloud, hackers have shifted their attention to discover loopholes in cloud infrastructure. In 2014, Dropbox became a victim of a sophisticated phishing attack and such attacks are likely to increase in the coming year.

7) Mobile Security – The number of mobile users and apps is exploding across the world so it is no surprise to see that hackers are now increasingly targeting mobile infrastructure. While Apple’s iOS was considered totally secure in the past, the discovery of Wirelurker and Masque bugs has proven that it is not immune to security threats. In short, mobile users and service providers should fortify their defenses and be prepared for large number of mobile based security threats.

January 26, 2015

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