Cybersecurity Experts Warn of Major Attack Threat

Posted Date 11/23/17

After WannaCry and NotPetya earlier this year, cybersecurity experts are expecting another major cyberattack soon. The chief technical officer of IBM Security Europe told the Financial Times that it was “alarmingly quiet” at the moment but he feared there may be another attack before the end of the year.

One could call him paranoid but in cybersecurity paranoia has turned into a survival instinct. After last year hackers allegedly connected to the Russian intelligence services leaked a number of NSA-developed cyber weapons into the dark web, there has been growing worry that these weapons are being prepared to be used in another cyberattack of the scale of WannaCry and NotPetya.

WannaCry was a ransomware attack that struck devices running Windows OSs and demanded payment to unlock them, wreaking havoc on the British healthcare system. NotPetya took offline the radiation monitoring system of the Chernobyl power plant and also affected the operations of global companies including Maersk, Merck, and WPP.

According to experts interviewed by the FT, both attacks were launched using some of the leaked NSA weapons and more are being worked on in the dark web to use in future attacks. For some experts, the two attacks were actually a blessing in disguise – a wake up call for the cybersecurity industry and all potential victims to start putting more effort into protecting themselves.

For others, however, what we have now is the calm before the storm as hackers plan their future attacks. These attacks, the pessimist say, may be a lot more devastating. The WannaCry attack, for instance, did not result in a lot of financial gains for the perpetrators, so now, perhaps, cybercriminals are biding their time, being more careful about their future attacks, to ensure greater gains.

The way to tackle this threat is through collaboration between all stakeholders, the experts say. For example, US cloud storage services provider Rackspace has already set up a collaboration forum on cybersecurity that involves titans such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and PayPal.

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