Threat Detection and Response

Security Predictions from the Magic 8 Ball

With the end of each year, security professionals break out their crystal balls to estimate what will be the industry’s trends for the coming year. To break this tradition, I decided to not ask my crystal ball, but my magic 8 ball. This post will cover some of the trends that we can look forward to, based not just on my opinion, but the dark art of the 8 ball.

Magic 8 Ball, will we continue to see the decline of ransomware and uptick of crytpojacking?

Cryptojacking, or cryptomining, is utilized by financially motivated threat actors for monetary gain by using the computer power of systems to mine for cryptocurrency. Cryptomining malware is much easier to introduce to a victim environment, and much less costly to manage than ransomware.

In 2018 alone, there were more than 17 different cyrptomining variants affecting Fidelis clients, and attributing to over 5million alerts. I think Magic 8 ball got this one right for 2019.

Magic 8 Ball, will the U.S. enact GDPR like regulations in 2019 through federal legislation?

The European Union’s Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May of this year, with its main purpose to protect the personal information records that companies hold on people. Many in the U.S. have been asking for similar type regulation because of numerous data breaches or carelessness with how the information is being handled or sold. However, given the contentious climate of politics, and especially with control of the House of Representatives switching majority to a different political party, it seems unlikely that the legislative bodies of the U.S. will be able to enact legislation of this kind.

Note also, that after three months of enactment, many organizations still were not meeting the basic guidelines of GDPR reporting, with only 35% of European companies being able to comply with providing requested data within a 30-day limit, according to one survey.1

Magic 8 Ball, will cybercriminals stop innovating ways to successfully exploit victim organizations or people?

I am going to have to disagree with the Magic 8 Ball on this answer. If anything, we know that adversaries with a financial motivation will continue to find new ways to exploit their victims to make money. From continued use of ransomware, to sexploitation, and cryptomining we have and will continue to see changes in toolkits, tactics, and techniques. It is more important now than ever to be able to train end users in more than just basic security awareness training concerning complex passwords and “don’t click that link”; I mean, clickbait on social media still works, why wouldn’t that next phishing email.

No one really knows what 2019 will bring in cybersecurity. We could see the next Mirai or Eternal EXPLOIT driven global campaign. There is potential that privacy regulations will get past, holding organizations accountable for how they protect consumer’s sensitive and personal information. One thing is certain though, threat actors will continue their targeting, and to be successful, organizations must ensure they are not just securing themselves alert to alert, but anticipate those attacks.

  1. https://siliconangle.com/2018/09/13/state-gdpr-compliance-just-dreadful-survey-finds/
  2. Magic 8 Ball source: https://www.indra.com/8ball/front.html
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