Information Warfare, IoT Attacks, and More: Booz Allen Forecasts Future Cyber Threats

Feb 19, 2019 2:15 PM ET

What blockbuster attacks could change the face of cybersecurity in 2019? How could the threat landscape shift?
Booz Allen’s top analysts developed a forward-looking synopsis of risks and threats, based on our work with clients worldwide. The result is the 2019 Cyber Threat Outlook report. Here are some highlights.

Amped-up information warfare

The private sector may soon get caught up in the data leaks and fake stories that have caused PR crises and legal controversy in the public sector. In these information warfare campaigns, tactics will range from troll armies to AI-generated false video and audio content, or “deep fakes.”

Nation-state actors will increasingly exploit weaknesses in current attribution trends to “return to the shadows,” complicating threat detection, forecasting, and modeling. 

Escalating threats in everyday life 

Cyber criminals will be exploiting everyday devices, such as chip enabled credit cards and connected TVs, in their illegal pursuits.

Attackers have already successfully used malware-infected EMV readers for chip cards to skim money from ATMs. This year, they’re expected to move on to retail points of sale as well. Meanwhile, abuse of IoT devices is expected to increase, expanding from cryptocurrency mining and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks to state-linked espionage operations. 

These threats extend to everyday internet usage. Recent technological advances are making adware highly resistant to forensic analysis—in turn, making the large volumes of user profile data this adware collects more lucrative. 

New and expanding attack surfaces

During the past decade, attacks on industrial control systems focused on the energy sector. In 2019, expect water utilities to be a target, especially by foreign state-backed groups seeking information.  

Anticipate increased risk for wireless networks as well, as more IoT vendors turn to propriety and non-Wi-Fi protocols. Some threat actors may even find ways to attack customers using their own devices. 

Read about these threats in depth—and get recommendations on how to mitigate them—in the 2019 Cyber Threat Outlook report.