Targeted cyber attacks will become rampant in the Middle East, as hackers from the usual suspects have found success targeting victims around the world, a report said.
The annual security predictions report “Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2015 and Beyond: The Invisible Becomes Visible” released by Trend Micro, a global cloud security leader, also breaks downs seven other cyber security threat predictions for 2015 including banks and payment systems.
In the Middle East, the top threat is adware, while email reputation queries, also known as spam email, totalled 24 million in the third quarter (Q3) of 2014, including 14 million in Saudi Arabia, 8 million in the UAE, and 2 million in the rest of the Middle East.
The region had 1.5 million malware detections in Q3 2014, with online banking malware, ransomware, and malicious websites and mobile apps presenting high risk.
According to the report, targeted attacks campaigns will continue to multiply in 2015, after cybercriminals had noteworthy breaches via targeted attacks in the US.
Trend Micro’s threat defence experts predict hackers within countries such as Vietnam, UK, and India will pursue the use of targeted attacks.
“We will see attacks against non-traditional countries like we’ve seen recently against Malaysia and Indonesia based organizations,” said Raimund Genes, CTO, Trend Micro.
“What we are seeing today is not a huge surprise but rather the velocity and brutal measures cybercriminals are using to steal information.
“Following the success of targeted attacks from Chinese and Russian cybercriminals, many hackers from other countries will regard cyber-attacks as a more practical method to grab a foothold in an organization. Additionally, with the incessant barrage of data breaches emerging almost daily, it’s reasonable to presume that data breaches will be essentially regarded as a common offshoot of the present threat landscape.”
Threats around banking will continue to become more severe as more unique cybercrime attacks against financial institutions also emerge and financial and banking intuitions must implement two-factor authentication for online services.
“The payment ecosystem will continue to evolve,” said JD Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions, Trend Micro.
“Massive transformation is upon us and we will continue to see threat actors trying to manipulate Near Field Communications (NFC) as certain platforms gain momentum due to their significant following and user’s penchant for adopting the latest and greatest technology.”
Highlights from the 2015 predications report include:
• More cybercriminals will turn to darknets and exclusive-access forums to share and sell crimeware.
• Increased cyber activity will translate to better, bigger, and more successful hacking tools and attempts.
• Exploits kits will target Android, as mobile vulnerabilities play a bigger role in device infection.
• Targeted attacks will become as prevalent as cybercrime.
• New mobile payment methods will introduce new threats.
• We will see more attempts to exploit vulnerabilities in open source apps.
• Technological diversity will save Internet of Everything devices from mass attacks but the same won’t be true for the data they process.
• More severe online banking and other financially motivated threats will surface.
The Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2015 also include a continued increase in the exploitation of smart devices such as smart cameras, appliances and TV’s as cybercriminals become more aggressive at targeting these platforms as well as the organizations who manage the data.
As factors like market pressure push device manufacturers to launch more and more smart devices sans security in mind to meet the rising demand, so will attackers increasingly find vulnerabilities to exploit for their own gain.
“Smart homes and home automation will continue to proliferate across the globe, further increasing all of our attack surfaces,” said Sherry. “As such, smart device manufactures must consider how to secure the data that resides in these devices not just the devices themselves.”
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