Cyber attacks will get worse by 2015

A report by McAfee Labs' 2015 Threats Predictions says there will be an increase in cyber warfare and espionage, along with new strategies from hackers to hide their tracks and steal sensitive data.

With different cases of cyber attacks grabbing headlines this year, security researchers have said that the situation will worsen in 2015, as hackers use more advanced techniques to infiltrate networks.

A report by McAfee Labs' 2015 Threats Predictions, there will be an increase in cyber warfare and espionage, along with new strategies from hackers to hide their tracks and steal sensitive data.

The report said: "Cyberespionage attacks will continue to increase in frequency. Long-term players will become stealthier information gatherers, while newcomers will look for ways to steal money and disrupt their adversaries."

McAfee also said small nations and terror groups will become even more active and will "attack by launching crippling distributed denial of service attacks or using malware that wipes the master boot record to destroy their enemies' networks."

At the same time, cybercriminals will use better methods to remain hidden on a victim's network, to carry out long-term theft of data without being detected, the researchers said.

"In this way, criminals are beginning to look and act more like sophisticated nation-state cyberespionage actors, who watch and wait to gather intelligence," the report said.

The report also said hackers are looking to target more connected devices, including computers in the farming, manufacturing, and health care sectors.

"The number and variety of devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) family is growing exponentially. In the consumer space, they are now seen in appliances, automobiles, home automation, and even light bulbs," McAfee said.

McAfee said it is already seeing hackers targeting devices such as webcams with weak security and industrial control systems. But it sees health care as an especially worrisome sector.

"With the increasing proliferation of healthcare IoT devices and their use in hospitals, the threat of the loss of information contained on those devices becomes increasingly likely," the report said.

It noted that health care data "is even more valuable than credit card data" on hacker black markets.

McAfee says other threats will also grow, including "ransomware," which locks down data and forces the victim to pay a ransom to retrieve it, and attacks on mobile phone operating systems.

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