Websense’s top eight predictions for cyber security for 2015

Computer security software company Websense says that, thanks to the lower cost barrier, more and more non-governmental groups will spring up to conduct pro-state cyber-espionage and cyber-warfare, especially among countries with high growth.

This is one of eight predictions that the company has announced for online security for 2015.  Among these, the company says a few are already coming true.


1. Hackers will target the healthcare sector

Medical records are becoming accessible to cyber criminals for the first time as hospitals move towards digitizing records.  The hyper-personal nature of medical information allows for a new level of fraud, according to Websense.  In addition, organizations that are upgrading may not have access to the latest protections.


2. Businesses will be more vulnerable to Internet of Things (IoT) hacks than consumers

Hackers will not be targeting your smart fridge, at least, not in your home.  Despite hacks of home thermostats and cars now being a proven concept, a hacker has more to gain from breaching these devices in a business setting.  According to Websense, every connected device makes your business as an easier target.

“These connected devices use new protocols, present new ways to hide malicious activity and generate more noise that must be accurately filtered to identify true threats,” the company said in an official statement. “Attacks are likely to attempt to use control of a simple connected device to move laterally within an organization to steal valuable data.”

The most likely sectors to see an increase in attacks are manufacturing and industrial environments.


3. Credit card criminals want the full picture

Hackers are ramping up their efforts with the American retailers finally implementing chip and PIN security measures.  But instead of just a credit card number, criminals will try to assemble “personal identity dossiers” of individuals with a wealth of personal information to be sold off.


4. Focus shifts from data to authentication hacks

While no large-scale thefts of finger prints have been reported for smartphone users Websense says that “credential-stealing” will be a growing method that will be used to access a wider range of information on demand – such as what is stored in the cloud – compared to stealing data that is stored locally.


5. Code vulnerabilities will grow in scope

While 2014 saw no shortage of vulnerability headlines, there are likely more that are still undiscovered by white hat hackers.  With increasing amounts of software being built on top of established open source code, any vulnerability that is found will only grow in impact in 2015.


6. Email still an old hacker favourite

While new technologies update and improve on security features of email, hackers will not be resting on their laurels.  According to Websense, “new highly-sophisticated email evasion techniques will be introduced and designed to circumvent the latest enterprise-grade defenses.”


7. The move to cloud will only enable hackers

As businesses move their work into the cloud, so will that of hackers.  In 2015, cloud services will not only host the data sought after by criminals, but also increasingly their means of accessing it, namely the command and control infrastructure.  The challenge for security providers will be to discern the legal activity from the illegal.


8. A new type of player will take over cyber warfare

A country never wants to be caught hacking or cyber spying.  Groups with loose ties to their government will be springing up increasingly next year to carry out attacks.  While Websense doesn’t go as far as to say that they will be government-endorsed, their pro-nation causes will likely benefit their country of origin.  Furthermore, governments will likely develop state-sanctioned cyber activities anyway considering the lower cost barrier versus traditional means of warfare.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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