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2016 cybersecurity predictions


- Dave Nelson, CISSP is president and CEO of Integrity

With all of the information security breaches of 2015 in our rear view mirror, let’s take a moment to look ahead to my predictions for cyber threats and trends in 2016. It’s important to remember that these aren’t really random thoughts from some guy spelling doom and gloom for the future. They are based on research data from the likes of the Ponemon Institute, FBI, Secret Service, Verizon, Microsoft, Symantec and other well known organizations.  They also reflect the real world experiences of the incident response and consulting teams at Integrity. 

#1 Continued attacks against health care

Healthcare records are far more valuable on the black market than simple credit-card or bank-account information. There are several reasons for this. Financial information has a short lifespan. Compromised accounts are quickly closed or funds are depleted. Health care records however can be used over and over again. They can also be used for different purposes. Extensive fake identities for criminals or terrorists can be created using physical characteristics. People can be blackmailed into performing actions in order to stave off the release of private medical information. These records can also be used for financial gain in committing billing fraud through organized crime rings.

#2 Increased attacks against manufacturing

Research shows that intellectual property is one of the top targets during a data breach. Companies both domestic and foreign are under increasing pressure to compete in a global marketplace. For companies who spend billions each year on research and development, protecting this intellectual property is essential. Foreign nations are setting up advanced cyber warfare divisions to steal intellectual property for use in military applications. And those countries with nationalized industries are also looking for any commercial idea they can find to capture market share and increase revenue. Even smaller companies that make unique items or have a niche market are at serious risk.

#3 Increased use of social engineering tactics

As we continue to build more secure networks and applications, it gets harder to hack them in some respects. As this occurs, hackers will try to find other avenues to get what they want. Using our humanity against us through social engineering attacks will continue to rise until everyone understands our digital lives at work and at home are becoming indistinguishable. Our eating or exercise habits don’t change from work to home. Nor do our computer habits. We must train society at large to take information security seriously wherever and whenever they use technology.

#4 Attacks will become increasingly targeted and sophisticated

The cyberattacks that companies face today are different. They are shifting to targeted attacks looking to capture specific information or inflict specific damage. Because of this, these attacks are more sophisticated than ever.  The old days of simply patching systems to remove vulnerabilities in order to prevent cyberattacks are long gone. Cybersecurity defenses will need to become more advanced to keep up with the threat.

2016 will be no different than 2015. Successful cyberattacks will continue to occur at an alarming rate. We must adapt and take this global threat seriously at the individual, corporate and government levels.

Dave Nelson 2015 IowaBiz BlogDave Nelson is president and CEO of Integrity. 

Email: dave.nelson@integritysrc.com

Twitter: @integritySRC | @integrityCEO

Website: integritysrc.com


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