Pragma Insights_2019 Cyber Threats

On The Rise: Cyber Threats in 2019

In 2018, we saw hacks on big corporations and this will only continue this year with higher frequency and sophistication. Here are five upcoming threats to look out for in 2019:

1. Turning AI defences against themselves

Artificial intelligence is now being used to help security companies to anticipate cyber attacks. Tech giants like Google are using AI defences to secure their cloud data centers. Now, there’s a growing concern that hackers will find ways to “trick” AI to avoid detection by manipulating datasets or the physical environment. Although this sort of attacks have not been reported, researchers have managed to conduct such tests; hidden voice commands were used to control smartphones that were inaudible to human ears and Google researches published a paper in 2014 showed how small distortions can trick a neural network to misread a number or identify an image.

2. Manipulating AI generated fake videos

In this video, Barack Obama can be seen voicing his thoughts on Black Panther and calling out on President Donald Trump; using AI techniques. This application of AI can make it possible for attackers to create fake video and audio messages that are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing. Imagine the endless possibilities, such as posting a fake video on behalf of a news agency to spread false news relating to country security and or to create political tension.

3. Attacks on cloud providers

The news of a Chinese hacking group attacking cloud service providers was reported in 2017, attempting to spread their spying tools to the service providers’ clients. Although this is not particularly new, it could possibly remain a major threat to look out for as more companies are outsourcing their operations to cloud service providers in an effort to keep up with the cloud evolution. The larger cloud companies such as AWS and Google should be safe from such attacks however, smaller companies should be more vigilant as attackers tend to target these companies.

4. Hacking of smart contracts

Smart contracts are becoming popular targets for hackers, simply because they are linked to payments and can be worth millions of dollars in digital currency. This blockchain program is also relatively new, with lesser known coding best practices. In this case, a smart contract coding company, Parity announced that digital currencies worth $30 million were stolen by hackers due to a vulnerability in the software.

5. Targeted Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is nothing new, the attacker gets in your email system and learns everything about you; your behaviour, language, etc. With that essential information, they are able to get in between an email conversation to conduct fraud. Although phishing is commonly linked to emails, attackers have turned to text messages and social media to trick victims. One sector that will see an increase in such attacks is in the property sector due to high transactional values.

Written by: Liwen


January 8, 2019

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