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2016 Cybersecurity Predictions

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In the last year, it seemed that hardly a week could go by without mention of some high-profile hack or other form of cyberattack.  From the OPM hack that exposed the personal information of millions of people to the Ashley Madison leak that may or may not have led to suicides, 2015 saw a wide array of computer-related security breakdowns.  What does 2016 have in store in the realm of cybersecurity?

Expect an increase in cyberattacks targeting or coming through apps.  More and more people use apps, and it's not uncommon for apps to have access to personal information, from your physical and email addresses, connections to your social networks and even credit card information.  All of that information is valuable to hackers, who can sell it on the black market.

It was pretty big news when it was demonstrated that hackers could take complete control of a motor vehicle through its entertainment console, and concerns have been raised over the security of internet-attached medical devices.  Expect such possibilities to be explored and exploited.  On top of that, as the IOT becomes more ubiquitous, you'll see consumer devices used in corporate settings hacked more often to gain access to corporate networks.

Social engineering is duping people into giving up information, like what you see in phishing scams.  We think you'll start to see an increase in targeted victims.  That is, with all the information available about individuals online, you'll see an uptick in hackers targeting individual people in order to exploit their connections to organizations with which they work.

I don't know how many people I've talked to who have been hacked who ask say things like, "I don't really care if my computer gets hacked.  All I've got on there are family pictures," or, "Why would I get hacked?  I'm nobody important."  You'll start to see this more with companies and organizations as cybercriminals begin to branch out from retailers and service industries to attack other industries for various reasons.

As governments begin to realize that cyberattacks can have palpable real world consequences, especially now that infrastructure like power grids are being targeted and attacked, you'll see governments begin to take more proactive steps, creating laws to standardize cybersecurity and mandate compliance regulations.  Laws will get tougher on organizations that do not take their cybersecurity seriously.