Cyber security threats to watch out for in 2015

/ 05:48 PM January 06, 2015


MANILA, Philippines—Cybercriminals will continue to pose threat this 2015 as they are “growing in confidence,” Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of secure content and threat management, said.

Kaspersky said that aside from financial cybercrime, 2015 is also likely to bring even more privacy concerns, security worries about Apple devices and renewed fears about connected devices to prevent hackers using tools like network printers to penetrate corporate networks.


Experts at Kaspersky Lab issued security predictions for 2015.

This years insights or what to expect:


  • Attacks against virtual payment systems, which could be extended to the new Apple Pay
  • Attacks against automated teller machines (ATMs)
  • Malware incidents where banks are breached using methods coming directly from the targeted cyberattack playbook
  • More Internet-bleeding stories: dangerous vulnerabilities appearing in old code, exposing the Internet infrastructure to menacing attacks.
  • In-the-wild attacks against networked printers and other connected devices that can help an advanced attacker to maintain persistence and lateral movement within a corporate network.
  • Malicious software designed for OS X being pushed via torrents and pirated software packages
  • A shift where the bigger, noisy cyberthreat actors splinter into smaller units, operating independently of each other. This in turn will result in a more widespread attack base with more diverse attacks coming from more sources.

Vabanque: a groundbreaking change

During a recent investigation, Kaspersky Lab’s experts discovered an attack in which an accountant’s computer was compromised and used to initiate a large transfer with a financial institution.

It represented the emergence of a new trend: targeted attacks directly against banks. Once attackers get into a bank’s network, they siphon enough information to allow them to steal money directly from the bank in several ways:

  • Remotely commanding ATMs to dispose cash.
  • Performing SWIFT transfers from various customers’ accounts.
  • Manipulating online banking systems to perform transfers in the background.

ATMs are vulnerable

Attacks against cash machines (ATMs) seemed to explode last year with several public incidents and a rush by law enforcement authorities globally to respond to this crisis.

As most of these systems are running Windows XP and also suffer from frail physical security, they are incredibly vulnerable by default.

“In 2015, we expect to see further evolution of these ATM attacks with the use of targeted malicious techniques to gain access to the ‘brain’ of cash machines. The next stage will see attackers compromising the networks of banks and using that level of access to manipulate ATMs in real time,” said Alexander Gostev, chief security expert at Global Research and Analysis Team of Kaspersky Lab.


Attacks against virtual payment systems

The team expects criminals to leap at every opportunity to exploit payment systems.

These fears can also be extended to the new Apple Pay, which uses NFC (Near Field Communications) to handle wireless consumer transactions.

This is a ripe market for security research and we expect to the appearance of vulnerability warnings about weaknesses in Apple Pay, virtual wallets and other virtual payment systems.

“The enthusiasm over the new Apple Pay is going to drive adoption through the roof and that will inevitably attract many cybercriminals looking to reap the rewards of these transactions. Apple’s design possesses and increased focus on security (like virtualized transaction data) but we’ll be very curious to see how hackers will exploit the features of this implementation,” Gostev added. NC

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TOPICS: Apple Pay, Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Kaspersky Lab, Near-Field Communications, predictions
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