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Professional hacktivists are more ambitious

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New research from market analyst Juniper Research suggests that the rapid digitisation of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase the cost of data breaches to $2,1-trillion globally by 2019, increasing to almost four times the estimated cost of breaches in 2015.The research, entitled The Future of Cybercrime and Security: Financial and Corporate Threats and Mitigation, has found that the majority of these breaches will come from existing IT and network infrastructure. While new threats targeting mobile devices and the IoT (Internet of Things) are being reported at an increasing rate, the number of infected devices is minimal in comparison to more traditional computing devices.

The report also highlights the increasing professionalism of cybercrime, with the emergence of cybercrime products (i.e. sale of malware creation software) over the past year, as well as the decline in casual activist hacks. Hacktivism has become more successful and less prolific – in future, Juniper expects fewer attacks overall, but more successful ones.

“Currently, we aren’t seeing much dangerous mobile or IoT malware because it’s not profitable,” notes report author James Moar. “The kind of threats we will see on these devices will be either ransomware, with consumers’ devices locked down until they pay the hackers to use their devices, or as part of botnets, where processing power is harnessed as part of a more lucrative hack. With the absence of a direct pay-out from IoT hacks, there is little motive for criminals to develop the required tools.”

Other key findings include:

* Nearly 60% of anticipated data breaches worldwide in 2015 will occur in North America, but this proportion will decrease over time as other countries become both richer and more digitised.

* The average cost of a data breach in 2020 will exceed $150-million by 2020, as more business infrastructure gets connected.

The research noted that leading OTT (over the top) players such as Apple, Google and Amazon were in pole position to capitalise on this transition, with each now offering cloud-based solutions both for personal storage and premium content access.

It argued that if consumers are tied into multiple products from an OTT, those consumers becomes increasingly reluctant to churn away from one element of the brand, as he/she loses access to content across their devices.