Cyber Threats To Get Bigger, Badder in 2015. Here's Why.

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 30, 2014

cyber

In 2014, we saw an interesting shift focused on server side vulnerability and exploitation with the likes of Heartbleed, Shellshock. Looking forward to 2015, we fully expect this trend to continue in an alarming way as black hat hackers pry open the Internet of Things. As threats move to attack new product and software solutions, organizations are at even greater risk, says Derek Manky, global security strategist at Fortinet.

Fortinet researchers list out why cyber security threats will get bigger and badder in 2015:

1. Blastware to Destroy Systems, Erase Data and Cover Hacker Tracks

This destructive new trend of malware, following Scareware and Ransomware could lead to the ability for hackers to infiltrate systems, gather data and then wipe out the information to on systems and hard drives to cover tracks and thwart forensics. According to Manky, FortiGuard Labs observed the first indications of Blastware in 2014, Dorkbot/NGRbot, where the hackers had code routines built in, that if altered, would self-destruct and wipe out all information on the hard drive. This is a direct counter response to the rise of incident response services. Fortinet predicts that APT developers will build in sophisticated self-destruct mechanisms in seek and destroy fashion that could hamper law enforcement and forensics efforts as these resources increase to fight cyber crime. Hackers may also seek to use these tactics for ransom – i.e. to destroy data if ransom isn’t paid in a certain timeframe.

2. Hackers Look to Evade Law Enforcement, Frame the Innocent

As cyber crime increases, law enforcement practices to catch and penalize perpetrators increase with it. Thus, hackers must be more careful and calculated to evade arrest. In 2015, advanced evasion techniques will evolve in order for attackers to cover their tracks. To date, evasion has been currently focused on counter antivirus and intrusion prevention/antibotnet. Fortinet predicts this will evolve with a focus on Sandbox evasion. In addition, similar to counter intelligence, it is possible that attackers will frame the innocent by throwing more red herrings into their attacks to thwart investigators and intentionally planting evidence that that point to an unassociated attacker, explains Manky.

3. Internet of Things Becomes Internet of Threats (IoT)

Looking forward to 2015, we fully expect this trend to continue in an alarming way as black hat hackers pry open the Internet of Things. Hackers will continue to follow the path of least resistance as more and more devices are connected to the network. Vulnerabilities that Black Hat hackers will look to exploit will include Consumer home automation and security systems, as well as webcams, which we are already beginning to see. On the Enterprise side, Network Attached Storage and Routers will continue to be targets, as will critical infrastructure such as Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) and Supply Chain systems, which will create significant problems with third-party components and patch management. Common malware distributed and sold will include SCADA functionality, such as Havex’s OPC routine that would fingerprint devices used in industrial networks, and report this back to users.

4. Denial of Revenue/Data Breaches Continue and Expand

2014 saw some significant thefts from stores like Target, Michaels, P.F. Changs and Home Depot. FortiGuard predicts this trend will continue in 2015 as hackers become more sophisticated and find new loopholes for infiltrating retail and financial systems. In the New Year, damages will also extend to denial of service on assembly line, factory, ERP/SAP systems, as well as healthcare and building management, creating even more challenges in the way of critical consumer data compromises, revenue losses and reputation damages for organizations globally.

5. Rise in Counter Threat Intelligence

Crime services and solutions have already supported QA for malware, including sample scanning. Fortinet predicts this to extend to support QA for threat intelligence and undetected coverage for indicator of compromise (IOC) in 2015. As crime services extend their research and coverage, hackers will utilize the same type of processes for determining the best ways to bypass security systems. For example, current crime services scan malware against vendors’ capabilities to stop it, and give them a score result. As vendors expand from malware detection to threat intelligence correlation, criminals will work to counter this movement with the same type of approaches to find out if their botnet infrastructure is flagged in other intelligence systems as well, and work to hide their tracks.

Actions Threat Intelligence and Network Security Vendors Must Take in Order to Protect Against New Threats, say Fortinet researchers. According to Manky, in 2015, cyber security vendors and managed security solutions will make an even greater push toward actionable threat intelligence, with proactive services that filter data that matters and alerts clients to their potential vulnerabilities and protection measures, prior to an attack. Similarly, incident response to date has generally been reactive.

Moving forward, proactive response will significantly reduce damages that organizations will face in future. The selection of third-party vendors that provide more secure development through Product Security Incident Response teams, as well as deep threat research, will limit breach scenarios before they happen. Two-factor strong authentication will increase in 2015 as one simple and cost effective proactive measure, while vendor incident response services will grow to help clients when they are under attack, notes Manky.

 ”It is imperative they choose not just a security solution, but a proactive and intelligent solution, to protect them from the broad breadth and depth of growing attacks that firewall solutions alone will not stop,” he concludes.