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Bitdefender 2019 Predictions: Cyber Threats are Coming to Town

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Liviu Arsene, global cybersecurity analyst for Bitdefender

Cyber Threats are Coming to Town

Just a few short weeks from 2019, it's the perfect time to look ahead and consider the future of the threat landscape. Proper preparations now for challenges we might face in 2019 can allow us to enjoy our holidays with visions of sugar-plums--rather than nightmares of cyber threats-dancing through our heads.

Ransomware Plateaus and Takes a Backseat to Cryptojacking

Ransomware has started to plateau and cryptojacking-which allows attackers to profit while flying under the radar-has risen. Dedicated solutions aimed directly at thwarting ransomware have also contributed to its decline. While we expect to see new versions of ransomware in 2019, it will likely not take on much bigger proportions.

Attacks Leveraging IoT Continue to Increase

With their inherent weaknesses and lack of regulation, IoT connected devices will continue to be under attack. As connected medical devices such as pacemakers are far from safe, it is also possible for an attack to become a life or death situation.  

LTE and ipv6 Open a New Can of Worms

As manufacturers shift their IoTs from WiFi to LTE and from ipv4 to ipv6 they promise increased security. However, these changes are likely to open up a new can of worms as they're relatively new ground for the IoT ecosystem.

MacOS Attacks Rise

As Apple's share of the desktop market continues to rise we project an increase in attacks targeting Mac users, including not just new macOS-specific malware, but also macOS-specific mechanisms and tools designed to capitalize on Macs post-breach.

MACROs and fileless attacks increase in scope

Attacks leveraging Microsoft Office MACROs and fileless attacks will also increase in number and scope. MACROs are a feature, not a bug, and thus perfect bait for social engineering scams.

PUA spells danger

Potentially unwanted applications (PUA) could lead to downloading a seemingly legitimate application unaware it's bundled with crypto miner or malware. We forecast an increase in JavaScript-based miners embedded in webpages and also a shift from drive-by-downloads of malware to full blown drive-by-mining.

Network-Level Exploits Function as Invisible enemy

Network-level exploits will enter the limelight, and may be hyped by social media. Researchers will devote resources to analyzing hardware-based implants, backdoors, and design flaws, as well as supply chain compromises in software.

Banking and Fintech Face Targeted Attacks

Advanced persistent threats will continue to emerge, with a renewed focus on the banking sector. For fintech services, the more money managed on behalf of their users, or the tighter the integration with traditional banking systems, the more attention they will get from cybercrooks.

GDPR Shows Its Fangs

Thanks to the EU's implementation of GDPR we should expect fewer "credential leaks" to occur. Security incidents will be more thoroughly contained at an organizational level in an effort to avoid hefty penalties.

Interference Affects European Elections

Mirroring recent developments in the U.S., we should expect turmoil including state-sponsored attacks on voting systems, social media propaganda, and other interference this year as Europe elects members of Parliament.


About the Author


Liviu Arsene is a global cybersecurity analyst for Bitdefender, with a strong background in security and technology. Reporting on global trends and developments in computer security, he writes about malware outbreaks and security incidents while coordinating with technical and research departments. His passions revolve around innovative technologies and gadgets, focusing on their security applications and long-term strategic impact. When he's not online, he's either taking something apart or putting it back together again.

Published Thursday, December 20, 2018 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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