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Cyber hazards 2016: Ransomware, gadgets, connected cars

Ransom demands are among the greatest cyber threats in 2016. Concealed wearables and connected cars also serve as gateways for criminals, as revealed in a study by Intel Security.

18 Jan. 2016

According to a study carried out by Intel Security’s McAfee Labs, ransom demands via software is one of the greatest cyber threats facing users in 2016. Other current threats include attacks on automobiles or infrastructure and storing and selling stolen data.

The term ransomware is made up the words ransom and software. With the corresponding programs cyber thieves seize files from computers, encode them – and only release them when a ransom is paid. In the first half of 2015 more than two million ransomware samples were discovered on the Internet around the world. According to McAfee Labs, in the same period in the year before there were only 260,000. Anonymous networks and payment methods are the greatest and most rapidly growing threats for ransomware attacks. It is estimated that the number of inexperienced cyber thieves making use of such "ransomware services" will increase in 2016.

McAfee Labs also sees connected cars as another perfect point of attack for cybercriminals. More and more electronic components such as computer modules and sensors are being installed in cars without a fundamental IT security concept. Wearables such as the Apple Watch will also be a prime target. "Even though most of these so-called wearables only collect a relatively small amount of data, they are an insecure back door that cybercriminals can use as a perfect point of attack," say the experts. In addition, there is a risk that the smartphones connected to the wearable devices will be attacked.

The solutions developed by the security sector to protect operating systems, user interfaces, and machines will be demonstrated at the " Business Security " cluster at CeBIT 2016.

Among other events, the " Business Security Forum " in Hall 6 organized in association with publisher SecuMedia will deliver practical information about comprehensive IT security for business. Short 20 minute talks will focus on apps, encryption, networks, data protection, industrial IT security, patch management, BYOD, cloud computing, car forensics and firewalls.

On stage at "CeBIT Security Plaza" experts from major industry players will talk about potentially catastrophic security loopholes and how they can be plugged. Topics on the agenda include IT security in the SME sector, in online shopping, in the cloud, as a service, and in online banking.