Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

WatchGuard Technologies’ Top 8 Security Predictions for 2014

December 18, 2013

Could a Hollywood hack come true? Will there be a U.S. Healthcare.gov data breach? Should you expect CryptoLocker clones?

SEATTLE, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — WatchGuard® Technologies, a leader in integrated security platforms, today revealed its annual security predictions for 2014. Assembled by WatchGuard’s security research team, the list includes expected advances in ransomware, hacking of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, critical infrastructure exploits and a data breach of HealthCare.gov.

“With shadowy government agencies building their own botnets, huge data breaches like the one Adobe suffered, and nasty file damaging malware like CryptoLocker, 2013 was an exhausting year for cyber defenders,” said WatchGuard Technologies’ Director of Security Strategy, Corey Nachreiner. “However, with new security visibility tools now available, 2014 should be the year of security visibility. And, although the threat landscape will continue to evolve at a blistering pace, with clever new exploit techniques and criminals focusing on new targets, security professionals should be able to use these new visibility tools to swing the cyber war pendulum back in their direction.”

WatchGuard’s 2014 security predictions include:

    1. Hackers Harass U.S. Healthcare Hangout - WatchGuard anticipates that the
       U.S. HealthCare.gov site will suffer at least one data breach in 2014.
       Between its topical popularity, and the value in its data store,
       Healthcare.gov is an especially attractive cyber attack target. In fact,
       this has already happened to some extent. Security researchers have
       already pointed out minor security issues like evidence of unsuccessful
       web application attacks and attempted Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks.
    2. Increased Cyber Kidnappings Raise Attacker Profits - Ransomware, a class
       of malicious software that tries to take a computer hostage, has grown
       steadily over the past few years, but a particularly nasty variant
       emerged in 2013: CryptoLocker. This year, it has affected millions and it
       is suspected that the authors have made a high return in their criminal
       investment. In 2014, WatchGuard expects many other cyber criminals will
       try to copy CryptoLocker's success by mimicking its techniques and
       capabilities. Plan for a surge of ransomware in 2014.
    3. A Hollywood Hack - In 2014 a major state-sponsored attack may bring a
       Hollywood movie hack to life that exploits a flaw against critical
       infrastructure. Even if these systems are kept offline, the often-cited
       Stuxnet proved that motivated cyber attackers could infect non-networked
       infrastructure, with some potentially disastrous results. Researchers
       have spent the past few years discovering and studying the
       vulnerabilities in industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory
       control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions, and found that these
       systems have many holes.
    4. Bad Guys Break the Internet of Things (IoT) - Next year, WatchGuard
       expects white and black hat hackers to spend more time cracking
       non-traditional computer devices such as cars, watches, toys and medical
       devices. While security experts have warned about securing these devices
       for the past few years, the market is just now catching up with the
       expectation. WatchGuard suspects that good and bad hackers will focus
       heavily on finding holes in these IoT devices in 2014.
    5. 2014 is the Year of Security Visibility - In the past few years, cyber
       attackers have successfully breached large organizations, despite
       firewalls and antivirus security defenses. Outdated legacy defenses,
       misconfigured security controls, and oceans of security logs make it
       impossible for security professionals to protect their network and
       recognize important security events. WatchGuard anticipates that in 2014
       more organizations will deploy security visibility tools to help identify
       vulnerabilities and set stronger policies to protect crucial data.
    6. A High-profile Target Suffers a Chain-of-Trust Hack - While top-level
       victims, like government and Fortune 500 businesses may have a higher
       security pedigree, they can still fail to stop the persistent, advanced
       hacker who preys on the weakest links on organizations' chains of trust -
       partners and contractors. As advanced attackers go after harder targets,
       expect to see more "chain-of-trust" cyber breaches in 2014, where hackers
       hijack partners in order to gain access to high level organizations.
    7. Malware Gets Meaner - Most cyber attacks and malware are not purposely
       destructive; if an attacker destroys a victim's computer, it cuts off
       access to further resources. However, the changes in hacker profiles have
       resulted in more cases where cyber destruction might become a valid goal
       for network attackers. Cyber criminals may also realize how the threat of
       imminent destruction could help increase cyber extortion success rates,
       similar to the countdown timer CryptoLocker used to scare victims into
       compliance. Plan for an increase in destructive viruses, worms and
       Trojans in 2014.
    8. Network Attackers Become Cyber Shrinks - Over the last few years,
       attackers have had the advantage over defenders, leveraging more
       sophisticated techniques and evasion tactics to get past legacy defenses.
       However, the tide is turning. In 2014, defenders will have more access to
       next generation security solutions and advanced threat protection
       capabilities, swinging the technological security pendulum. But cyber
       criminals do not give up easily, and we expect them to morph their
       strategy from technical advantages to attacking flaws in human nature. In
       2014, expect attackers to focus more on psychology than technology, with
       techniques like convincing phishing emails and leveraging pop culture, to
       target the weakest link - the user.

To learn more read the complete blog entry or download the infographic.

About WatchGuard Technologies, Inc.

WatchGuard® Technologies, Inc. is a global leader of integrated, multi-function business security solutions that intelligently combine industry standard hardware, Best-of-Breed security features, and policy-based management tools. WatchGuard provides easy-to-use, but enterprise-powerful protection to hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide. WatchGuard products are backed by WatchGuard LiveSecurity® Service, an innovative support program. WatchGuard is headquartered in Seattle, Wash. with offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. To learn more, visit WatchGuard.com.

For additional information, promotions and updates, follow WatchGuard on Twitter @WatchGuardTech on Facebook, or on the LinkedIn Company page.

WatchGuard is a registered trademark of WatchGuard Technologies, Inc. All other marks are property of their respective owners.


Kerry Desberg

WatchGuard Technologies

(206) 613-3760


Justin Hall

Voxus PR



SOURCE WatchGuard Technologies

Source: PR Newswire