Winter Soldier

Level 25
A new report from Panda Security’s PandaLabs research arm reveals that real time attacks that involve direct interaction with the victim are on the rise.

It also shows the increasing professionalism of cyber criminals. Highly specialized groups are forming in fields like the creation and distribution of malware and exploits. An example covered by PandaLabs is the RDPatcher attack, the purpose of which is to put the victim’s computer up for sale on the black market for use in a bot network.

Ransomware is still lucrative too, estimated to have earned criminals over a billion dollars in 2016. Attacks in the first quarter of this year include Popcorn Time, which sought the collaboration of its victims. Ransomware has entered the physical world too, with a hotel in Austria, whose electronic key card system was hacked and guests locked out of their rooms until the hotel paid the ransom.

The report’s authors note, “Ransomware attacks will remain in the lead in terms of attack numbers, and as long as there remains a percentage of victims willing to pay the ransom and security forces are unable to track the money through bitcoin, this trend will not change.”

Internet of Things devices and robots are a source of worry too. The European Parliament has detailed a set of regulations for the relationship between robots, citizens, and businesses. The goal of framework is to minimize the negative impacts that could result from the incorporation of robots into the workforce.

Cyber attacks, governments and politics are becoming increasingly intertwined too, with rumors of interference in elections around the world. The German army has announced that it will form its own cyber-command center to reinforce its online defenses. There is also of course the Wikileaks publication of a series of documents under the title ‘Vault 7’, containing technical details and tools used by the CIA to break into smartphones, computers, and even Smart TVs.

The full report is available on the PandaLabs site.