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Swarm Malware Predicted For 2018: Are You Ready To Stop Hivenets?

Cybersecurity experts predict that malware will become smarter in 2018.

According to one global security strategist, cybercriminals will soon replace botnets, which are networks of infected internet-enabled devices, with "hivenets."

Hivenets are clusters of infected devices that operate even more intelligently. Hackers can use hivenets to create more effective attack vectors to better target vulnerable systems. Infected devices in hivenets are "capable of talking to each other and taking action based off of local intelligence that is shared."

The infected devices themselves will also become smarter, able to take actions without being instructed to do so by the botnet herder. This will allow hivenets to "grow exponentially as swarms, widening their ability to simultaneously attack multiple victims and significantly impede mitigation and response."

In addition, experts predict that cybercriminals will target big businesses, including cloud service providers, with ransomware. This year will also see a rise in cryptocurrency mining malware and social media bots.

Finally, "next-generation morphic malware," which can automatically alter its code to evade anti-virus software detection without losing functionality, will become more common in 2018. This is a step toward malware created by machines based on automated vulnerability detection and data analysis. Ben Grubb "'Swarm' cyber attacks, crypto-currency stealing malware predicted for 2018," smh.com.au (Jan. 9, 2018).


Commentary

With hackers set to rely more on hivenets, organizations must learn about this new threat and take measures to protect themselves against swarmbots.

Organizations must audit their cyber vulnerabilities so they can fix them before a swarmbot finds them. Consider hiring a third-party cybersecurity firm, if you do not have the in-house staff to test for vulnerabilities.

IoT devices are the most at risk from swarmbots because they do not have the same protections as computers. IoT stands for “internet of things” and is any device that is connected online, including security cameras and security- related devices. Keep IoT devices updated and configured to the most secure security setting.

Segment your network so that if one part is infected, it cannot infect the rest of your network. Implement network security technology to monitor your network and reduce access. Using technology to keep your network secure, rather than relying on employees to devise strong login credentials and keep them confidential, can help organizations fight the smarter wave of malware to come.

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