The annual prediction report from Trend Micro, leader in cybersecurity, has been released for 2015.
The report titled ‘Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2015 and Beyond: The Invisible Becomes Visible’, indicates attacks will become more targeted in a wider range of countries as hackers and cyber criminals become more professional and sophisticated.
Tim Falinski, director consumer, Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand, says bolder hacking attempts will target larger corporations as opposed to individuals.
“When cyber criminals attack big businesses they get a large amount of customer data,” says Falinski. “This is one way hackers are utilising data to attack individuals in new and different ways,” he says.
Trend Micro predicted that in 2014 there would be one main security breach every month and this has proven to be true thus far, says Falinski.
The 2015 report predicts increased cyber activity with more advanced hacking tools and attempts.
It is said there will be more exploits kits to target Android and vulnerabilities in mobile devices - new mobile payments will come with new threats, for instance.
Targeted attacks will be more rife, there will be attempts to exploit open source apps, and online banking will be the target of financially motivated threats.
The Internet of Everything devices will be saved from mass attacks due to technological diversity, but data will still be vulnerable, the report predicts.
From a consumer perspective, risk is very prevalent as people do not have the necessary security measures in place, says Falinski.
“People understand that PCs and computers need to be protected, but not so much mobile devices,” he says.
Trends in 2013 and this year have showed people are less aware that security breaches can happen through mobile devices, whereas many have some form of security on their PC.
The two screen syndrome, where people simultaneously use two digital devices with a screen, is becoming more common and with more devices, giving cyber criminals more opportunities for attack, says Falinski.
"The flow of information is opened up," he says. "People are giving up their privacy too easily and enabling the flow. Hackers have more access to our lives and information, and criminals are picking up on this creating targeted attacks."
While threats were, at one point, easier to pinpoint, they are more subtle and hidden. “Crime is no longer simply in the form of viruses," Falinski says. "It's not traditional but more sophisticated."
DNS (Domain Name System) hijacking, also known as DNS redirection, is a malicious attack that overrides TCP/IP settings on your computer and redirects it to a rogue DNS server, invalidating the default DNS settings.
A user can go about their business, thinking everything is fine, when really hackers are collecting information about the consumer to use against them.
Another example is online banking. The threats around online banking will continue to become more severe and unique, according to the Trend Micro report.
“While online banking has been around for a long time, it’s just in the last 3-4 years that it’s really driven forward,” says Falinski.
“Moving on from traditional devices opens up new venues for attacks, criminals are a lot smarter, and they can target mobile devices,” he says.
In response to this, more banks will deploy two-factor authentication for online services, Falinski says, but individuals must play their part, too.
“One in 10 people have had bank account details stolen, so it’s not a case of people not knowing this is an issue, but people need to increase the security on their devices other than their computer," he says.
Falinski says individuals and businesses alike have to be vigilant and realistic.
While free products to use against cybercrime threats are a good first step, it won’t be enough against the more sophisticated threats to security, he says.
It can be as simple as using protected WiFi ports, as opposed to those that are free. "If you aren’t using a secure network, take precautions," he says. “We encourage people to use 3G or 4G instead of free WiFi."
When it comes to applications on personal devices, people need to look at where the app is asking for permission. When they receive updates, consumers must note what it is asking permission for and where it is making it’s money. Furthermore, he says people can reduce risks by deleting the apps they don’t use.
“We urge people to ask the question, you need security, but what does that security really mean?” Falinski says. “We understand the world is changing and we need to change with it.”
"The New Zealand marketplace is internet forward and connected,” he says. "Therefore it is even more important to protect against potential threats."