Skip to main content

Ransomware, iOS and IoT: WatchGuard's security predictions for 2016

As 2016 approaches, network security company WatchGuard technologies has released a list of 10 new information security predictions for the new year.

The firm's security research points to advanced ransomware moving to alternate platforms and an increase in the scope and level of targeted iOS attacks among other security threats that businesses and IT professionals need to be conscious of.

WatchGuard expects ransomware to branch out from the Windows platform which it primarily targets now. The company believes that cybercriminals will be able to develop ransomware for Macs and Android devices.

Social engineering tactics will continue to play a large role and many attacks will be based around tricking users into divulging their access privileges. WatchGuard recommends allocating time and resources to provide employees with knowledge and training in regards to the latest social engineering tactics used by would be attackers. The firm also believes that attacks against SMBs will return to basics and that companies can avoid falling victim to these attacks by following basic security best practices more rigidly.

WatchGuard predicts that in the coming year the amount of malware on Apple's iOS platform will rise. This comes as a result of cybercriminals successfully infecting Apple's development platform.

Malvertising increased in popularity in 2015 and the firm believes that it will continue to pose a threat to companies and individuals in 2016. WatchGuard expects attempts at malvertising to triple and to succeed more regularly using HTTPS. To prevent these attacks, security controls that can monitor HTTPS need to be implemented.

Cybercriminals will likely turn towards schools in an attempt to gain the data necessary to provide a full identity which is much more valuable on the black market. As schools collect a tremendous amount of data on their students, they will appeal to hackers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will also be a likely target for hackers. WatchGuard predicts that the firmware of these devices will be modified by attackers in order to make hijacking them possible. However, they also see the manufacturers of IoT devices doubling down on their security by implementing secure boot mechanisms during their production.

Threats to companies and individuals will likely increase in 2016 along with their complexity. By taking the necessary precautions now, companies will be able to prepare themselves and lower the frequency and severity of incidents they will experience.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / CobraCZ

After getting his start at ITProPortal and then working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches to how to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.