ESET has warned that the ransomware menace is likely to continue in to 2018 with further growth in incidents and risks following an increase in, and sophistication of, cybersecurity incidents in 2017.
According to a 2018 cybersecurity trends report “Cybersecurity Trends 2018: The Cost of our Connected World”, released today by security experts at ESET, many companies are still prepared to spend large sums in ransom payment as opposed to investing in their cyber defenses.
The report focuses on ransomware, attacks on critical infrastructure, malware and combating criminal activity, as well as the cyber threats posed to electoral campaigns and data privacy. It proposes that countries should invest in preventative measures in 2018 to safeguard the digital security of the democratic process.
Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET, who predicted increased attacks on critical infrastructure as a 2017 trend, anticipates further threats to supply chains in 2018, saying: “While many large companies appear to be taking cybersecurity more seriously these days, with security teams getting both the budget and the C-level backing required to do a good job, many smaller businesses supplying goods and services to larger organizations are struggling. That makes them an attractive target.”
ESET’s successful collaboration with Microsoft, Europol and the FBI led to the arrest of cybercriminals involved in the Gamarue botnet. The joint effort is a demonstration by ESET on the importance of security companies and law enforcement working together to contribute to making the Internet a safer place for everyone, except cybercriminals.
The report also emphasizes on the vulnerability of elections in 2017 as major voting events took place around the world. Some of the questions explored include whether votes cast by an electorate can be tampered with, and if an electorate could be swayed in the run up to an election by hacktivists working to change public opinion.
Additional focus areas in the report include. user-awareness of data collection, the risks faced by data collected through the Internet of Things (IoT), and the significant fines for companies that fail to protect personal data under the European General Data Protection Regulation.
While technological innovations and their use in 2017 have produced remarkable possibilities in the digital world, they have in advertently also exposed users to new kinds of threats such as cybercriminals targeting sensitive and private information.
It is for this reason that ESET recommends that users should increase their awareness of cyber threats and manage their digital world more responsibly in 2018.