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Cybercriminals have their pick of vulnerable targets to compromise, and want to focus more on conducting identity theft over just stealing payment information.
After a data breach, especially if a debit or credit card information has been stolen, compromised users ask their banks to cancel cards. However, a data breach in which names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other personal data are stolen give criminals the ability to take their time to launch future attacks.
"We're clearly seeing a shift in the tactics of cybercriminals, with long-term identity theft becoming more of a goal than the immediacy of stealing a credit card number," said Tsion Gonen, VP of strategy for identity and data protection of Gemalto. "Identity theft could lead to the opening of new fraudulent credit accounts, creating false identities for criminal enterprises, or a host of other serious crimes."
Antivirus products missed almost 70 percent of malware infections within the first hour of submission, according to Damballa's "Q4 2014 State of Infections Report." In addition, only 66 percent of malware signatures were accurately identified when rescanned within 24 hours of infection - with that number going up to 72 percent within seven days.
Antivirus security companies share malicious file findings with one another, but it takes time for new discoveries to be integrated into their own programs.
"What's clear from these figures is that we have to turn the table on infection 'dwell' time," said Brian Foster, CTO of Damballa. "In much that same way that a flu vaccine hinges on making 'best-guess' decisions about the most prevalent virus strains - AV is only effective for some of the people some of the time. Viruses morph and mutate and new ones can appear in the time it takes to address the most commonly found malware."
Anthem's recent data breach should be a startling wakeup call to other insurance carriers and companies operating in the medical world.
Up to 80 million of the company's members could be at risk of identity theft, with hackers able to make off with client names, physical mailing addresses, birth dates, email addresses, Social Security numbers and medical ID data.
The cost of the breach could top $100 million, as Anthem's cyberinsurance policy will likely be exhausted following this incident.
Automakers want to embrace connected technology in new vehicles, but have failed to ensure proper cybersecurity protocols are available, according to Sen. Edward Markey (D - Mass.). The Senator believes almost all connected vehicles are vulnerable to some type of security risk, according to Markey's staff.
Following a number of security-related incidents showed connected cars are vulnerable, Markey wants to know what safeguards are being put in place to keep car owners secure. The report indicated "there is a clear lack of appropriate security measures to protect drivers against hackers who may be able to take control of a vehicle or against those who may wish to collect and use personal driver information."
"Drivers have come to rely on these new technologies, but unfortunately the automakers haven't done their part to protect us from cyberattacks or privacy invasions," Sen. Markey said in a statement.
The recent breach of Anthem was a brutal wakeup call that cybercriminals want personal records, and healthcare data is near the top of their list. UnitedHealth Group, Aetna and other groups have issued cybercrime-related warnings since 2011, but it didn't seem like a major concern among members until recently.
"A name, address, social and a medical identity... that's incredibly easy to monetize fairly quickly," said Bob Gregg, CEO of ID Experts, in a statement published by Reuters. Cybersecurity experts have warned that health-related data tends to be extremely lucrative on the black market.
Organized groups will try to target healthcare providers in an effort to compromise insurance companies, hospitals, doctor's offices, and medical equipment makers - with companies urged to improve their cybersecurity protocols.
More than 60 percent of popular dating mobile apps pose significant cybersecurity risks, with personal user information and corporate data at risk.
Twenty six of 41 dating apps available for Google Android had medium or high severity vulnerabilities, according to the IBM Security researchers. In addition, dating apps are being used to download malware, along with credit card data stolen and GPS information used to track movements.
"Many consumers use and trust their mobile phones for a variety of applications," said Caleb Barlow, VP of IBM Security. "It is this trust that gives hackers the opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities like the ones we found in these dating apps. Consumers need to be careful not to reveal too much personal information on these sites as they look to build a relationship."
The introduction of smartphone kill switches by manufacturers and wireless carriers helped reduce the number of device thefts in New York City, San Francisco, and London, supporters say. Apple iPhone theft in San Francisco dropped 40 percent, reported incidents slid 25 percent in New York, and thefts in London were cut in half.
The software kill switch allows phone owners to lock lost or stolen devices, along with bricking devices so they cannot be used or sold on the black market.
"The huge drops in smartphone theft have occurred since the kill switch has been on the market are evidence that our strategy is making people safer in our cities, and across the world," said Eric Schneiderman, New York State Attorney General, in a statement.
It's not just the United States and UK launching sophisticated cyberespionage attacks against foreign government states, with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and other nations increasingly jumping into the fun. Groups in China and Russia have been linked to major data breaches, such as Target, The Home Depot, Anthem, Sony Pictures, with future breaches expected to happen.
China is the most active country involved in launching cyberattacks, routinely targeting US infrastructure - and other lucrative targets, such as financial institutions and government departments. As witnessed by CrowdStrike, skilled Chinese hacker groups are able to adapt their strategies while avoiding detection.
The Obama administration has publicly criticized China for its cyberespionage activities, but has been unable to launch any meaningful political crackdowns.
Consumers and business users face a wide variety of different cyberattacks, and security experts are increasingly concerned about ransomware. Ransomware, a custom form of malware designed to hijack computers and work files, typically encrypt vital documents - unless a ransom is paid.
Microsoft Windows PC users face the largest threat from CryptoWall, a ransomware variation that has uncrackable encryption and uses anonymity networks to avoid detection.
Another nasty form of ransomware recently discovered is Invincea, which delivers the payload straight to system memory instead of targeting files on a hard drive. "This particular strain is new and quite harmful as it takes advantage of file-less infections that can communicate through the TOR network," said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO of KnowBe4. "We are going to continue to see more and more ransomware this year and this is just the latest innovation."
Cybersecurity incidents are going to occur, and companies should rethink their current security strategies. Instead of focusing on preventing criminals from accessing their data - which has become increasingly difficult - decision leaders should have a plan in place for when a breach finally does occur.
The median length cybercriminals have inside a compromised victim's network is 229 days, which gives them a significant amount of time to access data, find additional loopholes, and plan what information they will take. Companies often are unaware a breach has taken place, and don't have an appropriate strategy to boot the hackers and secure their networks.
Typical cybersecurity defenses need to focus on having "a description of the bad guys before they can help you find them," said Dave Merkel, CTO of FireEye, in a statement published by the San Jose Mercury News. "That's just old and outmoded. And just doesn't work anymore. There's no way to guarantee that you never are the victim of a cyberattack."