Money, Data And Disruption: Cyber Attacks Of 2016

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2016 has been an interesting year for cyber security, and that’s putting it mildly

The hijacking of ATM systems, an increased prevalence of mobile banking malware and targeted cyber-espionage attacks are indicative of the threat landscape in 2016, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab.

These threats, combined with the mass hacking and dumping of sensitive customer data, highlight money, information and a desire to disrupt as some of the key cyber threat characteristics to have emerged over the last 12 months.

Eight new families of Point of Sale (POS) and ATM malware appeared throughout 2016 – a 20 percent rise from the previous year – and 36 percent of online banking attacks now target Android devices, up from eight percent in 2015.

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Furthermore, 28.7 percent of companies said it took them several days to discover a security incident in 2016, with nearly a fifth (19 percent) admitting it took them weeks or more. Worryingly, 7 percent said it took months before an incident was discovered.

Critical infrastructure was also found to be vulnerable on many fronts, as illustrated by the BlackEnergy trojan attack on the Ukranian power grid that caused blackouts in parts of the country. This resulted in the energy sector being labelled a “prime target” for cyber attacks, with one report suggesting that an attack on UK power sites could cost £442 billion.

“The number and range of cyber-attacks and their victims seen in 2016 has put the subject of better detection at the top of the business agenda,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Detection is now a complex process that requires security intelligence, a deep knowledge of the threat landscape and the skills to apply that expertise to each individual organisation.

“Our analysis of cyber-threats over the years has revealed both patterns and unique approaches. This accumulated understanding underpins our active defense tools, as we believe protection technologies should be powered by security intelligence.”

It has certainly been a worrying year for businesses (and that’s putting it mildly) as high-profile attacks on the likes of TalkTalk, Yahoo and mobile network Three have forced the issue into public consciousness.

What’s even more concerning, for governments, consumers and businesses of all sizes, is that 2017 could be even worse.

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