A display of computer coding sits on a glass panel in the Airbus SE Defence and Space CyberSecurity pavilion. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

The Biggest Threats From Cybercriminals In 2018

2017 was the year when bitcoin soared, blockchain found more takers and the big technology companies dived deeper into artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and augmented reality.

Petya and Wannacry ransomware attacks underscored the challenges in such a connected world. New technologies would expose us to such threats even more, according to IBM Security. Here’s what it sees as the three big technology worries for businesses in 2018…

The Good vs Bad AI

The flipside of relying on more AI-based technologies is that cybercriminals are also using machine learning to spoof human behaviour. That’s why Kartik Shahani, integrated security leader at IBM India and South Asia, said the cybersecurity industry will need to tune its own AI tools to effectively tackle such evolved threats.

“The good news is that at this point of time, the good guys have a lead over cybercriminals. What I’m optimistic about is that lead is going to get us through 2018. But we will see threats like these come up all through the year.”

Where’s My (Aadhaar) Data?

Identity theft is another worry. Data from the millions of records stolen in 2017 will be used at a scale never seen before, Shahani said. He’s also hopeful that legislation to curb the use of stolen data will be enacted and companies will move away from using identifiers like social security numbers.

For India, it’s particularly relevant given the push to link Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric database, will everything from mobile phones to bank accounts and welfare services. “Will people follow the rules? Will processes be sacrosanct? Will they all link into a technology that’ll deliver?” Shahani asks. “The point is whether it’s India or any other country, if the three elements are not executed or managed properly, there is every chance to fail.”

Connected Devices

IBM foresees a pivot from using ransomware to lock up desktop computers to IoT devices. So the ransom will be lower as hackers move to a volume play and find a price point that is less than the cost of “just buying a new one”, he said. Large organisations that have deployed IoT security cameras, digital video recorders and sensors will be especially vulnerable.