There is no denying that 2016 was a big year for cybercrime. From the Bank of Bangladesh/SWIFT heist in February to the Dyn DDoS attack a few weeks ago, there was plenty of proof that hackers are getting smarter and their innovation is on a growth trajectory.
If there is one good thing derived from these hacks, it is that they have made alarm bells ring loud and true for consumers and organisations alike. This is the starting point for five cyber security predictions for the year ahead.
1. Consumers will prioritise security when deciding which companies to do business with
Following high-profile data breaches in 2016, including Yahoo and Three Mobile, consumers are more anxious than ever about the downstream financial crime that follows a cyber attack.
As the realisation of what a criminal can achieve once they have taken our data sinks in, consumers are beginning to demand guarantees that their services providers are safe.
>See also: Busting the 7 myths of cyber security
In 2017, a trend will emerge around customers wanting to understand more about the security of the organisations they do business with.
Just as companies promote ‘seals of approval’ for accomplishments like being ‘green’, promoting gender equality or having accident-free workplaces, customers will look for some sort of seal of assurance that the companies they do business with have a strong cybersecurity posture.
In fact, Ofcom has recently highlighted that broadband providers such as BT are worse at customer service than financial services providers and must do more to deliver a reliable internet connection.
2. Consumers will take ownership of their own cybersecurity
The great doorbell hack of 2016 kicked off the year with a loud ding-dong. Hackers have figured out that smart home devices, such as doorbells and refrigerators, are gateways to home Wi-Fi networks and email logins.
Similarly, to how they developed new and more inventive scams to get hold of consumers’ data in the ‘90s, this is just the beginning of consumer-targeted cybercrime.
As people add more Internet of Things (IoT) devices to their smart homes and take more of their daily affairs online, the security of their online environment will become even more important.
In 2017, new services will emerge that allow consumers to evaluate their own cyber security as they work to protect their data and savings from criminals, and strive to take ownership of our cybersecurity.
3. Consumers and businesses will acknowledge the threat potential of IoT devices
Beyond hacked doorbells and refrigerators, certain IoT devices, like self-driving cars, can present serious security threats. Expect more attacks to follow, especially as it is currently easier for a hacker to create an IoT botnet to compromise a device than it is to phish for data in traditional ways. There is a serious lack of security features in the code developed for IoT devices which needs to be addressed.
Due to the risk some of these devices pose to human life, it should be no surprise to hear that the security of IoT coding will come under stricter scrutiny than ever before.
As IoT devices become widely used by businesses and individuals alike, people and organisations will make security considerations a priority in their decisions to use smart devices, not an afterthought.
4. Businesses will assess the cyber security of their own and partners’ networks
Led by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) directive requiring banks to manage risks – including cybersecurity risk – in their third-party relationships, companies in all industries will start paying a lot more attention to their business partners’ cybersecurity posture in 2017.
Most businesses have large and complex networks of partners, suppliers, vendors and other stakeholders with whom they exchange information on a regular basis. This means that the web of risk is incredibly wide, and a security breach in any link of the chain can expose the entire network.
Boardrooms across all industries have brought concerns about partner network security to the top of their agenda, so in 2017 we will see growth in the adoption of tools that assess risk across the entire network and bring a company’s security status to the forefront for partners, enterprises, and insurers.
5. Biometric security data may become the biggest security vulnerability of all
It started with the innovative Apple TouchID, developed to make it easier for consumers to unlock their phones. But, in 2016, we have seen biometric identification go mainstream – even three year old kids’ fingerprints are being captured when they visit Disney World.
Many believe that biometric security data is safer than digit-based passwords and, if used correctly, it may be so. However, in the wrong hands, biometric security data also has explosive potential.
In the aftermath of the compromise of 5.6 million US government military, civilian and contractor personnel fingerprints, Eva Velasquez, CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center, explained that stolen fingerprints may be a big problem in the future.
This is especially the case if biometric technology is used to verify bank accounts, home security systems and even travel verifications.
Sourced from Doug Clare, VP of cybersecurity solutions, FICO