New report highlights top cyber threats for the year ahead


Intensified cyber attacks, new regulations and a shift in how businesses approach cyber risk management are key cyber trends for 2017, Stroz Friedberg predicts.

The specialised risk management firm believes top threats this year include nation state cyber espionage, a rise in data integrity attacks and an increase in attacks harnessing Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

“In 2016 we witnessed everything from cyber attacks influencing public opinion to hacked IoT devices and the introduction of new cybersecurity regulations. This year we’ll see an intensification of these threats, along with new challenges and a blurring of lines between the actions and responsibilities of the state, markets, businesses and civil society,” said Ed Stroz, co-president and co-founder of Stroz Friedberg.

“The flood of fake news and nation state-backed attacks in this past year’s US presidential election are just a sign of things to come, as attackers find new ways to seek faster and wider access to data and exploit sensitive information.”

In its 2017 Cyber Predictions Report, Stroz Friedberg highlighted six trends for the year ahead:

  • Criminals harness IoT devices as botnets to attack infrastructure: Stroz Friedberg expects an increase in IoT devices compromised, harnessed as botnets, and used as launching points for malware propagation, SPAM, DDoS attacks and anonymising malicious activities.
  • Nation state cyber espionage and information war influences global and political policy: Cyber espionage will continue to influence global politics and will spread to the upcoming elections in Latin America and Europe. Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea will remain regions of great concern in 2017, as they continue to develop deep pools of cyber-crime talent, the report said.
  • Data integrity attacks rise: Data sabotage as the next big threat will become a reality in 2017. Criminals will seek to sow confusion and doubt over the accuracy and reliability of information, impairing decision-making across the private and public sector.
  • Spear-phishing and social engineering tactics become craftier, more targeted and more advanced: Criminals will increase their focus on the human element as an entry point. In 2017, advanced social engineering tactics will become more targeted, cunning, and more effective, exploiting the weakest link – employees – that organisations always find challenging to safeguard.
  • Regulatory pressures force companies to focus more on red teaming: Increased pressure from regulators worldwide will push in-house red teaming capabilities to accelerate in 2017. In addition, companies that are not in the cyber business will face a different challenge: recruiting, motivating, and retaining highly technical cyber talent to keep their red teams at the forefront of cybersecurity. This push will likely first occur in financial hubs such as Hong Kong, Singapore, the EU, and even the U.S, Stroz Friedberg predicts.
  • Industry first-movers embrace pre-M&A cybersecurity due diligence: The financial services industry and other regulated sectors will be early-adopters of making cybersecurity