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Increased ransomware and IoT hacks predicted in 2017

2016 saw companies rocked by over 90 million cyberattacks. In 2017 the number could double. Cybersecurity expert Sameer Dixit explains how new innovation leads to increased vulnerability.

The threat of cybercrime looms ominously over companies and individuals. To raise awareness of the growing threat, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the United States and Europe.

The economic damage caused by cybercrime is massive and quantifiable. In 2016 companies and individuals will be hit by 90 million attacks. That’s 400 raids every minute. Nearly 70% of of these attacks will go unnoticed, yet the fallout is massive. Hacking costs companies $15.4 million per attack, according to Sameer Dixit, Senior Director of Security Consulting at cybersecurity firm Spirent.

Dixit shared his predictions for emerging cyberthreat vectors in 2017:


Next generation cyberwar is fought on the internet. Every day a new headline, tweet, or alert appears suddenly, and more often than not companies are forced to be reactive to unforeseen threats.

“Next generation” capability has been achieved by the products in the network firewall market, and vendors differentiate on feature strengths. Buyers must consider the trade-offs between best-of-breed function and costs.

Industrial control systems

Connected systems present a higher degree of risk to critical infrastructure. Bolted-on, legacy supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) networks can pose significant risks. [Old systems] are prime targets, not just because they control our electricity, natural gas, water, waste treatment, and transportation networks, but also because they were not designed with cybersecurity in mind.


With the expansion of IoT, from home appliance to security monitoring systems, new security challenges are becoming pervasive. Devices that were not meant to be internet-enabled are now online and potentially open to attack. Without proactive testing, networks are more vulnerable than ever before. Hackers have new entry points via which they can not only gain unauthorized access into our home or business networks, but can also intrude into our privacy.


Enterprise-targeted ransomware attacks have become mainstream and will continue to be a major threat next year. New methods of ransomware include exploiting vulnerable web servers as an entry point to gain access into an organization’s network.


Attacks on connected automobile systems will continue to increase and become more sophisticated. Specifically, attacks on vehicle access systems, engine control units (ECUs), remote key systems, V2X receivers, USBs, and OBD IIs will be prime targets.

Adapted from TechRepublic