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Cyber threats to rise globally in 2020 as attention shifts to personal information


Come 2020, the global landscape is expected to witness increased cyber threats, as criminals target personal information.According to Kaspersky’s Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) 2020 survey, the landscape of targeted attacks will change in the coming months.
The overall trend showed that threats will grow in sophistication and become more targeted, diversifying under the influence of external factors, such as development and propagation of machine learning, technologies for deep fakes development, or tensions around trade routes between Asia and Europe.
The predictions were developed based on the changes that the Global Research and Analysis Team witnessed over 2019 to support the cybersecurity community with some guidelines and insights. The latter, along with a series of industry and technology threat predictions, will help to prepare for the challenges that lie in the coming 12 months.

According to Kaspersky, there will be abuse of personal information from deep fakes to DNA leaks.It explained that after a number of personal data leaks that happened in the past years, the number of personal details available made it easier for attackers to perform targeted attacks, based on victims leaked info. It stressed that the bar has been raised, and in 2020 the threat actors will dive deeper, hunting for more sensitive leaks, such as biometric data.

Security Researcher at Kaspersky, Vicente Diaz, however warned, “The future holds so many possibilities that there are likely to be things that are not included in our predictions. The extent and complexity of the environments in which attacks play out offer so many possibilities. In addition, no single threat research team has complete visibility of the operations of APT threat actors. We will continue to try and anticipate the activities of APT groups and understand the methods they employ while providing insights into their campaigns and the impact they have.”
But the report pointed to a number of key technologies, which could lure victims of personal data abuse in the attackers’ traps, among them is publicly discussed video and audio deep fakes that can be automated and support profiling and creation of scams and social engineering schemes.
Other threats for 2020 include that false flag attacks will reach a whole new level, and expected to develop further, with threat actors seeking not only to avoid attribution but also to actively lay the blame on someone else.
“Commodity malware, scripts, publicly available security tools or administrator software, mixed with a couple of false flags, where security researchers are hungry for any small clue, might be enough to divert authorship to someone else.
“Ransomware shifts toward targeted threats. A potential twist might be that, instead of making files unrecoverable, threat actors will threaten to publish data that they have stolen from the victim company,” the report revealed.
It further said that new banking regulations in the European Union (EU), open new attack vectors, as banks will be required to open their infrastructure and data to third parties, who wish to provide services to bank customers, it is likely that attackers will seek to abuse these new mechanisms with new fraudulent schemes.
It also predicted more infrastructure attacks and attacks against non-PC targets, as determined threat actors have, for some time, been extending their toolsets beyond Windows, and even beyond PC systems, VPNFilter and Slingshot, for example, targeted networking hardware.

“Cyber attacks focus on trade routes between Asia and Europe. There are several ways this could play out. They include a growth in political espionage as governments seek to secure their interests at home and abroad. It is likely to extend also to technological espionage in situations of potential or real economic crisis and resulting instability.

“New interception capabilities and data ex-filtration methods. Use of supply chains will continue to be one of the most difficult delivery methods to address. It is likely that attackers will continue to expand this method through manipulated software containers, for example, and abuse of packages and libraries.”
The researchers noted that mobile APTs develop faster. They submitted that there are no good reasons to think this will stop any time soon.However, they said due to the increased attention given to this subject by the security community, it believe the number of attacks being identified and analysed in detail will also increase.
Kaspersky also forecast that personal information abuse will grows, and armed with AI.   According to them, it is very similar to some of the techniques discussed for driving election advertisements through social media. This technology is already in use and it is just a matter of time before some attackers take advantage of it.

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Cyber threatsVicente Diaz
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