Biggest Cybersecurity Stories of 2018

Biggest Cybersecurity Threats

Here we bring for you a review of critical cybersecurity incidents of 2018.

In terms of cybersecurity 2018 has been a very busy year. As it is about to end let’s take a quick look at biggest cybersecurity threats that made news headlines.

Cybersecurity Threats of 2018

After peaking in 2017 Ransomware saw a downturn and was replaced by serious threats in 2018. Here we list various big frights of this year. These cybersecurity threats created a shift in the way world handles data, vulnerabilities, and cryptocurrency.

Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

Vulnerabilities that changed processor design

2018 started with a bang as security researchers revealed Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in January. This vulnerability affected nearly every computer chip (Intel, AMD and ARM) manufactured in the last 20 years. If exploited attackers can get access to user data that was considered protected earlier. The only way to mitigate the flaw is through security patches but this is not the real fix. As the only way to stay secure is to manufacture new chips without these vulnerabilities.

This hardware flaw was called catastrophic as it affected all processors and brought a change in the way chips are designed.

Facebook

Who can forget about the most talked data scandal in March that rocked Facebook. At that time reports about how political data firm named Cambridge Analytica collected user’s personal data was floating. Data of 87 million users was compromised due to which Facebook was condemned and had to face scrutiny. This was just the tip of iceberg as after this other online service were also under scrutiny including Google.

Read More: Who Has More Of Your Personal Data Facebook Or Google

New Orangeworm

In April we published about Orangeworm a new hacker group that targeted healthcare industry and international corporations. Orangeworm the group installed a custom backdoor named “Trojan.Kwampirs that spreads through SMB (Server Message Block) and allows hackers to access data from compromised machines. Orangeworm has been active since January 2015 and based on it activities since then it seems its purpose is corporate spying. Orangeworm targeted US, however there is nothing that says about Orangerworm’s origin.

VPN Filter

Another biggest cybersecurity threat that made news headlines was VPN Filter a router malware that infected 500,00 devices in more than 50 countries. This malware targets small offices and range of routers to steal personal credentials and knock off infected machine by making them unusable. Moreover, VPN Filter has the potential of cutting off Internet connectivity. Not only this VPN Filter has wide range of capabilities from spying on traffic to overwriting device’s firmware. Unlike other threats VPN Filter targets device using default credentials or those with known exploits.

Crypto-Mining

Another dangerous cybersecurity threat that appeared in 2018 was cryptocurrency mining. With the progress of digital currency in late 2017 hackers too became interested in it. As they got attracted to the mantra get-rich-quickly with digital currency. Malware actors tried to develop new ways to mine cryptocurrency for which they even abused Internet of things, used malicious add-ons and other things. But the only way that turned out fruitful was crypto-mining. This means threat actors used CPU power to mine cryptocurrency especially Monero for their financial gain.

Besides these direct threats there were other indirect threats that were seen in 2018. This consisted of data breaches, introduction of GDPR in Europe that forced companies to change their privacy policy. If they were found handling users data incorrectly they had to bear a fine of millions in Euros or 2% – 4% of their annual turnover. Other prominent cybersecurity risk contained shutting down of Google Plus due to security flaws that affected 52 million users, unpredicted Chinese visitors at Marriott hotel chain this means Chinese hackers accessed information of up to 500 million guests including their phone number, passport number, email address and other personal data. This was said to be Chinese espionage operation.

Also Read: Why Do Cyber Criminals Want To Hack Your Phone?

This was just a glimpse of what 2018 had for us but looking at this we can surely say 2019 is not going to be easy. There’s much in the Pandora’s box for us. With the beginning of 2019 an increase in cyberwar arms race is expected. Traditional Trojans, Worms will remain a threat along with the new emerging ones that will penetrate software and lead to more dangerous attacks. Furthermore, we can see live hacking, use of AI by attackers and much more that still can’t be predicted.

In next article we will talk about cybersecurity risk of 2019.

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