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Ethan Reed
Ethan Reed

Cyber Security Trends For 2018



Electronic healthcare technology is prevalent around the world and creates huge potential to improve clinical outcomes and transform care delivery. However, there are increasing concerns relating to the security of healthcare data and devices. Increased connectivity to existing computer networks has exposed medical devices to new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Healthcare is an attractive target for cybercrime for two fundamental reasons: it is a rich source of valuable data and its defences are weak. Cybersecurity breaches include stealing health information and ransomware attacks on hospitals, and could include attacks on implanted medical devices. Breaches can reduce patient trust, cripple health systems and threaten human life. Ultimately, cybersecurity is critical to patient safety, yet has historically been lax. New legislation and regulations are in place to facilitate change. This requires cybersecurity to become an integral part of patient safety. Changes are required to human behaviour, technology and processes as part of a holistic solution.




Cyber security trends for 2018


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Changes in cybersecurity will require new types of skills in data science and analytics. The general increase in information will mean artificial security intelligence is necessary. Adaptive skills will be key for the next phase of cybersecurity.


Safety, reliability and privacy are also a part of cybersecurity. When these systems begin to have a direct physical impact, you now become responsible for the safety of people and environments. Without a handle on security, people will die. The reliability portion is essential for operation and production environments or anyone in asset-centric firms.


OTA analyzes cyber incident and breach events to extract key learnings and provide guidance to help organizations of all sizes raise the bar on trust through enhanced data protection and increased defense against evolving threats.


Ransomware was a major attack vector in 2017, and while it continued to have an impact in 2018, the overall numbers declined during the year. In its Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) 24, Symantec reported more than 500,000 ransomware infections, which was down 20% overall from 2017, but they saw a shift toward enterprise users, which actually grew 12%.[10] Many reports hypothesize that attackers shifted to other methods such as cryptojacking where the payback was more certain and exposure was less likely. Still, ransomware continues to make headlines, especially when it cripples organizations such as the city of Atlanta, which has spent an estimated $17 million to handle the aftermath.[11] In fact, Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that ransomware will cost organizations $8 billion in 2018, growing to $20 billion in 2021.[12]


Trend Micro detected more than 1.3 million instances of cryptojacking code in 2018, a greater than three-fold increase from 2017.[16] Many reports cite evidence that cryptojacking attacks declined as 2018 progressed, in line with the falling value of cryptocurrency, but it is important to remember that these attackers have a foothold and can pivot to other, more lucrative forms of attack.


Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were reported to have declined slightly in 2018, though they are still wreaking havoc in many industries. Kaspersky Labs reported a 13% decline in attacks in 2018, to approximately 160,000, while NSF Focus reported similar numbers, estimating 148,000 DDoS attacks for the year.[17] [18]


The financial impact across all these types of incidents is also difficult to determine. While some have definitive reports (BEC/EAC at $1.2 billion in 2018) or strong estimates (ransomware at $8 billion, credential stuffing at $5 billion), others have more general estimates (average cost of data breach grew to $3.86 million according to Ponemon Institute, average cost of $222,000 per successful DDoS attack), and some are undetermined (cryptojacking, formjacking).[36] Even using these loose estimates, it is easy to justify a total impact of more than $45 billion in 2018.


Welcome to the McAfee Labs 2018 Threats Predictions Report. We find ourselves in a highly volatile stage of cybersecurity, with new devices, new risks, and new threats appearing every day. In this edition, we have polled thought leaders from McAfee Labs and the Office of the CTO. They offer their views on a wide range of threats, including machine learning, ransomware, serverless apps, and privacy issues.


The Adversarial Machine Learning Arms Race Revs UpThe rapid growth and damaging effects of new cyberthreats demand defenses that can detect new threats at machine speeds, increasing the emphasis on machine learning as a valuable security component. Unfortunately, machines will work for anyone, fueling an arms race in machine-supported actions from defenders and attackers. Human-machine teaming has tremendous potential to swing the advantage back to the defenders, and our job during the next few years is to make that happen. To do that, we will have to protect machine detection and correction models from disruption, while continuing to advance our defensive capabilities faster than our adversaries can ramp up their attacks.


When Your Home Becomes the Ultimate StorefrontAs connected devices fill your house, companies will have powerful incentives to observe what you are doing in your home, and probably learn more than you want to share. In 2018, McAfee predicts more examples of corporations exploring new ways to capture that data. They will consider the fines of getting caught to be the cost of doing business, and change the terms and conditions on your product or service to cover their lapses and liabilities. It is more difficult to protect yourself from these issues, and the next year will see a significant increase in breaches and discoveries of corporate malfeasance.


Human-machine teaming is becoming an essential part of cybersecurity, augmenting human judgment and decision making with machine speed and pattern recognition. Machine learning is already making significant contributions to security, helping to detect and correct vulnerabilities, identify suspicious behavior, and contain zero-day attacks.


How cybercriminals are adjusting. These successes are forcing attackers to pivot to high-value ransomware targets, such as victims with the capacity to pay greater sums, and new devices lacking comparable vendor, industry, and educational action.


McAfee resists the temptation to join the cybersecurity-vendor chorus line to warn you of the danger that lurks within your vacuum cleaner. But our researchers do foresee digital attacks impacting the physical world. Cybercriminals have an incentive to place ransomware on connected devices providing a high-value service or function to high-value individuals and organizations.


In 2018, McAfee expects to see ransomware used in the manner of WannaCry and NotPetya. Ransomware-as-a-service providers will make such attacks available to countries, corporations, and other nonstate actors seeking to paralyze national, political, and business rivals in much the same way that NotPetya attackers knocked global IT systems out of commission at corporations around the world. We expect an increase in attacks intended to cause damage, whether by unscrupulous competitors or by criminals trying to mimic a mafia-style protection racket in cyber form.


And with that increase comes some serious cybersecurity revenue dedication. Everywhere, businesses are investing a remarkable amount of money into hiring security professionals, maintaining customer privacy and avoiding ransomware attacks.


In 2018, DRaaS solutions are the best defense that modern technology has to offer against ransomware attacks. With it, you can automatically back up your files, immediately identify which backup is clean, and launch a fail-over with the press of a button when malicious attacks corrupt your data.


The problem is that all of that interconnectedness makes consumers highly susceptible to cyberattacks. In fact, one study revealed that 70 percent of IoT devices have serious security vulnerabilities.


2017 ended with a spectacular rise in the valuation and popularity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. These cryptocurrencies are built upon blockchains, the technical innovation at the core of the revolution, a decentralized and secure record of transactions. What does blockchain technology have to do with cybersecurity?


While it's difficult to predict what other developments blockchain systems will offer in regards to cybersecurity, professionals can make some educated guesses. Companies are targeting a range of use cases which the blockchain helps enable from medical records management, to decentralized access control, to identity management. As the application and utility of blockchain in a cybersecurity context emerges, there will be a healthy tension but also complementary integrations with traditional, proven, cybersecurity approaches. You will undoubtedly see variations in approaches between public & private blockchains.


In 2018, expect ransomware to evolve more than it already has, AI to take a bit of the cybersecurity burden, the IoT and serverless apps to increase consumer vulnerability, and blockchain to transform cybersecurity efforts.


John Mason is a cybersecurity enthusiast. In his free time, he likes to give (free and paid) consultations and write about privacy related concerns, news, politics and technology. His work has been published in Tripwire, Digital Guardian, Glassdoor, StaySafeOnline and many more. His website is located here: JohnCyberMason.com


The focal point of cybersecurity activity for most companies is internalWhether companies have security resources that are part of a general IT infrastructure team or they have dedicated security employees, 72% of firms believe that their security center of operations is an internal function. With cybersecurity becoming a critical ingredient to operations and reputation, it is no surprise that businesses want to keep a close eye on things.


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