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Cyxtera 2019 Predictions: Fraudsters and Phishers will Pose Greater Security Threat in 2019

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

Contributed by Ricardo Villadiego, GM Secure Access and Anti-Fraud, Cyxtera

Fraudsters and Phishers will Pose Greater Security Threat in 2019

There's no rest for the security weary. The turn of the year is an especially dangerous time as the physical and mental breaks associated with the holidays make IT systems even more vulnerable. Companies must have a plan for keeping offensive and defensive security strategies at full steam.

In 2019, we'll see fraudsters leveraging AI to create more and more fake attacks, such as that alter an algorithm's learning. The result? The algorithm will think "this" is how an attack typically happens, but then fraudsters launch a highly targeted phase two attack that skirts flagging from the AI algorithm, thereby avoiding detection. Attackers will become so sophisticated that they will be able to poison training data in such a way that it has a significant impact on how fraud-detection algorithms learn.

In a consumer's day to day, fraudsters will make messes there that we'll scramble to clean up. The political influence of fake accounts (bots) on Twitter and other social media sites have been used to manipulate public perception and opinion of current events. If we accept that social media will be used to discuss politics, we also must acknowledge that social media makes the public an easy target for fraudsters to post relatable content that tricks people into following certain accounts, which eventually fool them into handing over money and/or credentials.

Criminals are quickly realizing the profit potential of these easily-spread attacks, so they will increase in both scope and frequency. Fraudsters will take even greater advantage of escalating tensions and political divisions, using social media as an attack vector.

Phishers are fraudsters who target people with shams designed to appeal specifically to them. Phishers will expand strategies and combine various tactics (geo-specific email, advertising, social media posts, etc.) to create advanced campaigns. Be sure to read email carefully in 2019 and take all necessary steps to increase security of personal information.

One of those steps that'll grow in prevalence is passwordless authentication, which promises greater security if correctly leveraged, given the risks of username and password combinations and using unencrypted channels as alternate authentication factors. For example, SMS one-time passwords has been proven to be highly insecure. Incorporating them into a passwordless authentication process will open the door for easy interception by cybercriminals.

When adopting alternate authentication methods, like passwordless authentication, organizations must ensure they are effectively and securely doing so. Though passwords will not disappear, we'll see an increasing number of online platforms eliminating its use.

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About the Author

Ricardo Villadiego is the General Manager, Security and Fraud, at Cyxtera. He was previously founder and CEO of Easy Solutions, a global leader in electronic fraud protection and now a Cyxtera company.
Ricardo founded Easy Solutions from the ground up with the vision of building best-in-class technologies that would help organizations around the world fight electronic fraud. Under his dynamic leadership, Easy Solutions served more than 465 leading financial institutions, monitored over 30 billion connections and protected the online activities of more than 125 million users in 30 different countries. 

Previously, Ricardo held various management positions at IBM, Internet Security Systems and the Unisys Corporation. He has a degree in electrical engineering from the Universidad Distrital Francisco Jose de Caldas in Colombia and currently lives in South Florida. 
Published Friday, January 25, 2019 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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