MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Some big hacks made headlines in 2014…so what’s in store for cybercrime this year? Experts warn that hackers are getting more sophisticated and predict they’ll go after even bigger targets in 2015.
Many people trust the internet with personal, sensitive information. Ian is no exception—that was until he got hacked.
“In my business I’m reliant on the internet, in just every facet of personal life,” Ian said.
So when he received a notice an online service he subscribed to was “hacked by an unauthorized party” he said it was unsettling and that he, at first, was “a little bit scared.”
Ian said he changes his passwords regularly and is careful when it comes to online activity as hacking is still a worry for him.
“They can do a lot of damage, and they can do it fairly quickly,” Ian said.
But Ian’s fear of hacking, according to experts, is understandable.
“We expect cybercrime to escalate even more than it has in the past. It’s really exponential growth that we’re seeing, both in the number of attacks but also in their sophistication,” said Patrick Nielsen, a senior researcher with Kaspersky Lab.
They predict that criminals will go after corporations directly looking for the big score, but that doesn’t mean it won’t affect consumers.
“It’s really clear that an attack on one organization can compromise the privacy, security, confidentiality and intimacy of hundreds of thousands of people—if not millions,” Nielsen said.
One potential target, they said, are financial institutions.
“Targeting banks directly and targeting Automatic Teller Machines, is a couple of things we’ve seen recently and we expect to see much more of in the future,” Nielsen said.
With the growing popularity of virtual payment networks, Nielsen expects those to be a new target. He also said it’s important for consumers to pay attention to security as best they can.
“Some technologies will come out and be very secure from the beginning and may not suffer catastrophic attacks. Others will come out without having been tested very much,” he said.
Experts also say hackers are now going after individual users in order to find ways into corporations.
“So, for example they will send emails that look like they’re a message from my mailroom here, right? And say, we need to you verify this package is real, click this link. And once I click the link, no matter what I do after that it’s downloaded this bad software that gets access to my computer, turns it into a zombie, whole network is infected,” Nielsen explained.
Nielsen offers advice to those looking to protect against the ever-growing, ever-changing attacks.
“It’s very simple things, right? The smart password, it’s about using a different password on every website, it’s about looking at the links before you click on them. The funny part is that we all sound like we’re broken records. There’s a reason: people aren’t listening, people still aren’t doing it, and that’s where a lot of these hacks are originating.”
As for Ian, he hasn’t suffered any negative consequences from the data breach but he remains vigilant.
“What motivates me to take these precautions is, you know, the headaches that you can face if, you know, your information is stolen,” he said.
Another tip experts recommend is to use two-factor authentication whenever possible. They say it’s much more unlikely a criminal will be able to get your password and also your phone which would receive a special pin in order to get into your account.
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