In its report “Mapping the Future: Dealing with Pervasive and Persistent Threats” cybersecurity solutions firm Trend Micro predicts cybercriminals will still use tried-and-tested attacks but with increased effectiveness and will employ “more sophisticated elements to take advantage of the changing technology landscape.”
“Cybercriminals will continue to follow a winning formula – exploit existing flaws, social engineering, and stolen credentials – to drive profits,” said Ian Felipe, Country Manager for Trend Micro Philippines. “As both corporate attacks surface and unknown cyber threats increase, it’s more important than ever for organizations to put more resources behind cybersecurity education to help protect against these growing attacks.”
The age-old strategy of social engineering will be used against businesses and individuals, according to the report. Trend Micro is specific that criminal hackers will target video content creators on YouTube and online personalities by attacking using phishing their social media accounts including Instagram and Twitter.
“Sextortion, or the process forcibly demanding money or sexual favors by threatening to publish a victim’s recorded sexual activity, is a growing epidemic in the Philippines, with the country being seen as one of the crime’s biggest breeding ground,” said Trend Micro in its media release. “Even if there is no guarantee that a blackmailer will come through, the highly personal nature of this kind of attacks will make the victim seriously consider fulfilling the attacker’s demands, whether that means money or sexual favors. As sextortion, in particular, becomes more widespread, this kind of attacks will affect, and perhaps even claim, more lives in 2019.”
Trend Micro cites Cloud Readiness Index 2018 which says that the Philippines is behind other countries in terms of cloud adoption. The issues mentioned are concerns about cloud security. Vulnerabilities found in cloud infrastructure, such as containers, and weak cloud security measures will allow greater exploitation of accounts for cryptocurrency mining, leading to more damaging breaches due to misconfigured systems.
While the industry is moving into emerging technologies, attackers will also find ways to use it against organizations. In Trend Micro’s reports, cybercriminals will make use of artificial intelligence (AI) in geotagging as well as “eavesdropping” on top-level executives’ activities. “This will lead to more convincing targeted phishing messages, which can be critical to BEC attacks,” Trend Micro said. “Additionally, it is likely that BEC attacks will target more employees who report to C-level executives, resulting in continued global losses.”
The threat landscape promises a lot of challenges for almost all sectors of the internet-using public in 2019. But the available tools and technologies should empower users and enterprises into positioning themselves more securely in the fight against cybercriminals and other emerging threat actors.
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