2015 is just around the corner and that means a whole new range of PC security problems. What kind of unique security challenges will 2015 bring us? What can we expect – and how can we prepare – for the upcoming onslaught of viruses and malware?
Here are the top 4 computer security predictions for 2015 that have a high likelihood of coming true:
4) Mobile exploits will continue to grow in popularity
Android and iOS malware have exploded with growth over the past few years – just like smartphones themselves have exploded with growth.
Expect this to continue growing in 2015, where Android malware and iOS malware should play an increasingly influential role in the computer security community. More and more people use their smartphones at work or for mobile banking. Hackers may see these smartphones as a “weak point” in an otherwise strong chain of security.
Expect more Android kits using similar tactics to the Blackhole Exploit Kit (BHEK), which took advantage of weak security problems caused by Android fragmentation.
How to protect yourself: Avoid accessing mobile banking apps over Wi-Fi connections outside of home. If you need to do mobile banking when you’re away from home, disconnect from Wi-Fi before you do so. It’s virtually impossible to hack into mobile network connections.
3) Criminals will use darknets to sell exclusive access to sensitive documents and illegal hacking software
Darknets are commonly used as the internet’s “black markets”. Darknets were thought to be responsible for the “Fappening” celebrity leaks which occurred in fall of 2014. Although darknets have existed for years, they’ve become a necessity for modern cybercriminals.
Today’s cybercriminals are facing more surveillance than ever before. Darknets – and browsers like Tor which have not yet been cracked – help these criminals avoid prosecution.
How to protect yourself: Protect yourself with a good firewall. At the same time, stay up-to-date on the latest tech reports and news. You may see news articles like “10,000 passwords leaked from Home Depot” or “New malware targets Mac OS X”. When you’re aware of these threats, you’re less likely to fall victim to them.
2) New mobile payment methods will face a wide range of security threats
Mobile payment platforms offer a tempting target to cybercriminals. If you could hack into a platform like Google Wallet or Apple Pay, you could potentially steal credit card data and other sensitive personal information.
Fortunately for early adopters of Apple Pay and Google Wallet, both Apple and Google store personal information encrypted on your phone. that makes it relatively difficult to access – even if someone were to hack into Apple or Google’s servers.
Still, there will undoubtedly be lots of threats and warnings about hacked payment platforms. I also would be 0% surprised if the “alternative” payment platform, CurrentC, which has been developed by companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot, gets hacked and customer information gets leaked – CurrentC stores customer information on company servers as opposed to storing it on secured, encrypted devices.
How to protect yourself: Don’t use CurrentC, which is being widely criticized for its lack of security. Instead, use Apple Pay or Google Wallet, where payment information is saved on your encrypted mobile phone as opposed to on retailer’s servers. Who do you trust more? The IT departments at Google and Apple? Or Wal-Mart’s IT department?
1) Targeted attacks will become the fastest growing type of cybercrime
Experienced users often say they don’t need a fancy firewall. After all, why would you need a firewall when you’re never the victim of a targeted attack?
During a targeted attack, a hacker specifically targets your computer or your IP address. If you’re the victim of a targeted attack, your security is about to be severely tested. With targeted attacks, you can’t rely on your “know how” to avoid a security threat. Sure, you may know not to open a malicious email attachment. But do you know how to defend a targeted server from a DDoS attack or an OpenSSL attack? Maybe not.
Targeted attacks are currently only performed against high-profile individuals, or anybody who’s made a name for themselves online. These attacks – against celebrities and influential personalities – will continue to occur. However, more ordinary users may become the victims of targeted attacks as well due to the low risk and high rewards available.
How to protect yourself: Invest in a router with a good firewall, install powerful antivirus software, and consider installing an additional firewall on your computer.