Lots of media outlets use ‘cybercrime’ when talking about crimes that occur on the internet. Personally, I hate that word and just about any other word that starts with ‘cyber’. It sounds like something a person from the 80s would say when talking about the early days of the internet.
Semantics outside, I’m here to tell you about the most important online crime trends and predictions that may occur over the year 2014. These predictions might come true, or they might not. Who knows? Nobody.
Malware and online crime surrounding the World Cup 2014
Brazil has one of the world’s fastest growing internet adoption rates. It is also one of the world’s most populous countries. Combine those two things together and you get millions of naïve internet users just waiting to be exploited.
The World Cup 2014 will present the perfect opportunity to strike at naïve computer users around the world. Expect to see lots of social media viruses and online crime around Summer 2014 as World Cup action ramps up.
And don’t forget: nobody is going to give away World Cup tickets for free online, so don’t be stupid and fall for those scams.
More regulation will equal more harmonization in the PC security industry
Government agencies around the world have realized that online crime is a genuine problem that presents a real threat to the state. That means better recognition and more organizational collaborations.
In early 2014, the United States will release its Cybersecurity Framework, which will describe America’s defense efforts against online crime as we move forward. Other anti-cybercrime organizations include:
-Network and Information Security (NIS) discussions and directives in the European Union
-Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which created the Information, Computer, and Communications Policy Committee way back in the 1990s to fight against online crime
-National Infrastructure Protection Center, which is an American governmental organization along with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice, and dozens of other government and non-governmental organizations across America.
-And many, many others
Organization collaboration can be a good or a bad thing. This isn’t the first time that governments, businesses, and other organizations have colluded to protect the internet, but there could be more productive collaborations than any other year.
Windows XP gets bombarded by hacking attacks after April 8, 2014
Microsoft is officially ending its support for Windows XP on April 8th, 2014. After that date, Microsoft will no longer support its decades-old OS, which means no more security updates or software patches – no matter how critical they may be.
Unfortunately, there are still millions of Windows XP users out there. And not all of these users are going to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 before that expiry date.
The weeks following the release of the last version of Windows XP are going to be a feeding frenzy for hackers. Zero day exploits will become permanent exploits. Vulnerabilities will be discovered and continuously exploited over and over again.
Anyone with Windows XP after April 8, 2014, will have a massive target on their backs. If you go to an infected website as a Windows XP user, that website could detect your Windows XP installation and instantly use known Windows XP exploits to basically destroy your system.
If you’re a Windows XP user currently reading this, then you absolutely need to update before April 8, 2014. If it’s after April 8, 2014, you need to upgrade yesterday. Even if you’re using the world’s best antivirus software, it won’t be enough to fend off the chaos that will envelop Windows XP after April, 2014.
More ransomware than ever before
Ransomware is nothing new. It’s been around for several years now. However, it has been growing more and more prevalent with each successive year. There’s no reason why ransomware would slow down in 2014, so you can expect more dangerous attacks throughout the year.
For those who don’t know, ransomware is malicious software that hijacks your computer and effectively takes it for ransom by locking down all important features. To access your features and use your computer, you need to pay a ransom fee (often disguised as paying for the full version of a particularly software program).
Ransomware is an evil, evil type of software. It’s also incredibly effective at making money from naïve computer users, so don’t expect hackers to pass up an opportunity to make money.
More two factor authentication systems
Two factor authentication systems are among the most effective ways to protect your online accounts. A two factor authentication system uses two factors to verify your identity. Generally, these two factors involve:
-Something you know (like a password)
-Something you have (like your mobile phone)
When you need to verify an account on a new computer (or even just sign in online), you’ll need to enter your password and then enter another code that Google, Facebook, or Twitter sends to your phone.
A hacker can steal your password. They’re probably not going to steal your password and your phone. Expect two factor authentication to grow in both popularity among users as well as support among websites.
What other trends do you think will occur over 2014? Did I miss any obvious ones? Are my trend predictions idiotic? Let me know in the comments section below!