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Friday 20.01.2017 | Name days: Aļģirds, Orests, Oļģerts, Alģis

Attacks on pacemakers and sexual blackmail – what should we fear this year?

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU2015 was rich with different data security violations. One such breach took place on servers of Ashley Madison international dating portal. As a result of this breach, private information of more than 30 million users were leaked and ended up in the hands of cyber-criminals. Creators of eScan anti-virus predict the main risk of 2016 will be ransom viruses and new forms of blackmail.

Security experts say so-called Ransomware will be the main problem for computer users this year. It is by far the easiest way cyber-criminals can extort money from their victims. Viruses of this kind infect personal computers and mobile devices and lock down all files stored on those devices. It is possible that cyber-criminals will start attacking Mac and Linux users as well.

Experts also warn about the possible increase of attacks on Android devices. «Even though millions of apps that are featured on Google Play are carefully checked, Android allows users to install third party applications, which opens the way for cyber criminals to upload malware to unofficial app stores,» – warns Baltimax regional manager Sergei Romanovskis.

Apple suffered a similar incident with its App Store last year, when Instagram app InstaAgent was revealed to had been gathering users’ login and password information and sending that information to unknown servers. Upon its discovery, the app was swiftly removed from Google Play and Apple Store.

With the rise of popularity of smart devices and rapid development of file-sharing services on the Internet, the topic of security becomes even more important. According to statistical information, soon there will be more than 30 billion linked devices in the world. With that, the risk of cyber attacks increases exponentially. Security experts say it is possible that cyber attacks can be carried out on medical devices, including pacemakers and insulin injectors.

Experts also predict cyber criminals will continue coming up with new forms of blackmail, particularly in terms of so-called sextortion, when criminals acquire photos or videos featuring their victims of intimate content in order to demand ransom later. The incident with Ashley Madison dating portal had also resulted in an avalanche of blackmail cases involving compromised users of this website.

Another sensitive area of particular interest for criminals is payment systems. Mobile devices and mobile payment apps are becoming more and more popular. These include Apple Pay and Android Pay. Hackers will never miss an opportunity to break open these and other payment systems.

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