McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions Zeroes In on Cloud and IoT Threats

This blog post was written by Vincent Weafer.

In the McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions report, published today, we cover a lot of ground but focus particularly on two areas that will impact IT security for years to come: threats to the cloud and the Internet of Things.

The report kicks off with a big-picture examination of difficult-to-solve problems in cyber security and the security industry’s early efforts to solve them. These perplexing problems require foundational research, new classes of products, heavy development time and effort, and a sustained focus, often by multiple industry participants working together. In this article, we discuss six of those challenges.

Our next story looks at cloud threats and breaches, laws and borders, and vendor responses. Eleven McAfee thought leaders collaborated to produce this analysis of cloud threats and expected legal and industry responses during the next two to four years. What threats and breaches do we expect to see? How will geopolitical issues, legislation, and regulatory actions affect this environment? And what responses do we anticipate from cloud service providers and security vendors?

Our final long-lens story is about threats to the Internet of Things. Using the same approach as the cloud threats story, 10 McAfee thought leaders offer predictions about threats and breaches, laws and borders, and vendor responses during the next two to four years.

Following these in-depth stories, we make specific predictions about threats activity in 2017. Our predictions cover 14 threat types, including ransomware, vulnerabilities of all kinds, the use of threat intelligence to improve defenses, and attacks on mobile devices.

Among other things, we:

  • Predict that ransomware will peak in the middle of next year but then begin to recede.
  • Discuss why threat intelligence sharing will see major advancements in 2017.
  • Explain why machine learning will be used to enhance socially engineered attacks.
  • Detail why vulnerabilities in several of the most common apps will continue to drop in 2017.
  • Examine why there will be even more cooperation between security vendors and law enforcement agencies to take down cybercriminals.

Looking back at last year’s report, many of our threat predictions came true, some did not, and other threats were completely unanticipated. Very few could have predicted, for instance, that insecure Linux devices, including online consumer devices such as remote cameras and home routers, would be organized into a giant botnet to perform a major DDoS attack on an Internet infrastructure provider. But it happened!

This year’s report makes some bold predictions. I expect that our batting average will be about the same as last year and that an unexpected threat will come out of the blue, making major headlines. Such is the nature of the predictions business.

Read the McAfee Labs 2017 Threats Predictions report.

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