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News & Views

Ransomware growth

This year, IT security specialists, WatchGuard ( is warning of a rapid increase in the number of ransomware attacks on the cloud with the healthcare, government and industrial control systems sectors being particularly vulnerable to downtime according to the WatchGuard Threat Lab.

“The team at our WatchGuard Threat Lab has been tracking the trends over the last 12 months and it is clear that ‘shotgun blast’ ransomware attacks are being replaced by targeted attacks.  Too many companies think that migrating to the cloud means moving their data to a ‘safe haven’.  While the threats on the horizon won’t be any less intense, complicated or difficult to manage, we do see a move to simplify security in order to mitigate the risks,” says Corey Nachreiner, CTO at WatchGuard Technologies.  

“Security researchers have already exposed flaws in the cellular to Wi-Fi switch when people use devices in public Wi-Fi hubs, which have intelligence built in to automatically and silently switch between cellular and Wi-Fi.  So, as 5G is rolled out, it’s very likely we will see a large 5G to Wi-Fi vulnerability exposed in 2020, which could potentially allow attackers to access the voice and/or data of 5G mobile phones when they start to increase in use and operability.

With WatchGuard predicting that a quarter of all data breaches in the next 12 months will involve telecommuters and mobile devices, cloud-based multi-factor authentication (MFA) using easy app-based models will become the de facto standard among all midsized companies.

As the cyber security skills gap widens, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals keeps growing but without any recruitment and educational changes to increase the supply, WatchGuard is predicting the skills gap will widen by an additional 15% during the year.

Already a billion-pound industry, ransomware has so far largely left the cloud untouched but as businesses of all sizes move their servers and data, WatchGuard predicts more attacks on consolidated cloud assets, such as file stores, S3 buckets and virtual environments as the cybercriminals evolve to maximize profits.
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