After Ashley Madison, cyber extortion will raise its ugly head again in 2016


Increase in sextortion:  There would be raise in “sextortion” attack as scammers believe they can blackmail and threaten to leak personal photographs and videos of celebrities in return of money.  This has set the trend of extorting money from them. The Ashley Madison was the most infamous internet scam ever as it opened Pandora box of scams. The hackers were quick to capitalize on Ashely Madison breach by sending impressive coherent spam messages. The Ashley Madison incident was a classic example of Privacy Breach and the registered users are reportedly having a bigger problem of Identity Theft.

Increase in Android threats would be murkier: There will be sharp increase in number of Android exploits in the coming year. The Stagefright vulnerability which was heavily reported in 2015 took Android market into storm. It allowed hackers to take over an Android smartphone by enabling malicious programs into audio files, delivered via MP3 or MP4 format.

Increase in iOS Malware:  Apple witnessed security breaches in its App Store, once with the Instagram app- InstaAgent after it was found to store usernames and passwords for Instagram users and sends them to an unknown server. This app was removed from both Google Play Store and Apple Store and prior to that Xcodeghost Malware which infiltrated the App Store. The cyber-criminals created an illegitimate version of Xcode, Apple Software for creating apps, which convinced iOS developers to download. When the apps were developed and downloaded, the attackers were able to steal data of users and send it to servers they control.  With millions of apps hosted and tested rigorously in both Apple and Google store, Android allows installation of applications from third party markets, thus making it easier for cyber-criminals to inject malware into unofficial markets.

Payment systems: To buy something, all you need is cash in your pocket. But thanks to mobile era, Payment systems have been transformed into other forms like Mobile Wallet such as Apple Pay, Android Pay etc. Cyber-criminals would be keen to get their hands on these payment systems and untested financial services.

Virtualization Firmware: Vulnerabilities in Virtualization Firmware could become an access point for cyber-crooks to gain entry into infrastructure of an enterprise. Virtual machines would be at risk as they could be the next target with system firmware rootkits. This could be the new tactic adopted by cyber-crook to gain entry into any corporate network by compromising it and extract valuable information.

Lastly we can conclude that our users, readers and administrators should be on their toes to escape the deadly fangs of the cyber crooks. Implementation of 3D security policy after understanding the exact requirement thoroughly will help the organization in minimizing the chances of any kind of cyber-attacks.

Author: Amanda Walker

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