Malware on the decline while IoT and Ransomware threats are on the rise!

4 Apr

While there’s much celebration over malware being on the decline of late, ransomware and IoT threats are still very much on the increase, and unfortunately, still beneficial to the cyber-criminal. In terms of payment options, this means an increased risk of data breach and that’s bad for business.

The 2017 SonicWall Annual Threat Report shows that cyber-criminals are resourceful, and despite merchants being more aware of threats and protecting themselves against these threats, cyber-criminals often find their way around these security measures.

The Good News…

Here is what was stated in the report:

  • Malware attacks dropped from 819 billion attacks in 2015 to 7.87 billion attacks in 2016
  • Point of Sale malware attacks have dropped by 93% between 2014 and 2016

We put the improvement seen in a seemingly short space of time down to education. With more and more merchants becoming aware of the security risks and challenges they are faced with, more security measures have been set in place.

These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Chip Point of Sale systems
  • SSL / TLS encryption (this is Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security)
  • Making use of the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) checklist.

The Bad News…

Despite these precautions being taken, cyber-criminals have still found effective ways of hacking into payment systems and wreaking havoc. The report stated that cyber criminals were benefiting from ransomware attacks, with stats reflecting a rise from 3.8 million attacks in 2015 to over 600 million attacks in 2016!

It’s not just ransomware that steals the attention of cyber-criminals. Increased connectivity from the Internet of things (IoT devices) are also a focus of opportunistic criminals. Just last year hackers took full advantage of IoT security shortfalls and targeted industry leaders such as CNN, Pinterest, The Wall Street Journal and Netflix, to name a few.

The Sonic Wall Verdict…

According to Bill Conner, CEO of SonicWall, it isn’t that the threats have declined or increased, but it’s more like the risks have “evolved and shifted”.

Don’t Slack Off On Security Measures

Evolved and shifted… that’s what’s so interesting about cyber-crime. It’s ever-changing and criminals will always find a way to beat the system if you give them half the opportunity. The trick is to ensure that you are always aware of the latest threats and that you are taking the relevant precautions to protect your data.

Businesses tend to slack on their security when things are seemingly good for a period of time, and this is definitely a mistake. Consider data encrypted backups of any sensitive client data and always ensure that your payment systems and online services are safe and secure for both you and your customers.

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