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February 2017, Vol. 19, No. 1

In 2017, cybersecurity attacks will follow your data

Thanks to a polarizing election, the potential ramifications of cybersecurity attacks are front and center. Your friends and relatives probably have some concept of what it is that you actually do and its importance. But the daily challenges of protecting most enterprise environments is less like The Americans than they might think. Still, it's exciting. In this issue of Information Security magazine, we look at the incoming threats in 2017 and some countermeasures that can help your organization bolster its defenses.

Last year, we saw the internet of things used as a beachhead in larger cybersecurity attacks. Many devices now use cloud-based systems to communicate. They regularly send status updates to the cloud server and retrieve new commands to execute. Weak and incorrectly implemented authentication between device and cloud is often the point of failure that can be exploited to either attack the cloud infrastructure or the device. So far, destructive attacks are not common and are mostly limited to distributed denial-of-service attacks, which do not cause permanent damage. But future attacks, if they are combined with ransom demands, may destroy devices intentionally.

Breaches of cloud storage that modify data instead of just "stealing" it and vulnerabilities in microservices environments are other areas in which attackers may get more leverage. With the emergence of cloud-based microservices, this problem will only become worse. Instead of including a library in software shipped to clients, the software now relies on cloud-based web services to perform certain functions. We look at what is coming next and ways to mitigate these cybersecurity attacks.

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