GDPR Extortion Attempts Are on the Rise Says Trend Micro

Antivirus and cybersecurity tech firm Trend Micro recently announced that GDPR extortion attempts are on the rise, with cybercriminals likely gearing up to attach larger organizations as they work to ensure compliance with the European Union privacy laws. Hackers and scammers can hold companies hostage by leveraging the power to take over control on vital aspects of these corporations if they gain access to their Internet of Things (IoT) devices or other devices on their network.

Trend Micro has discovered an increase in targeted attacks with ransomware, cryptocurrency mining, and more. Cybercriminals are out to make the greatest financial returns on their scamming efforts.

What is the General Data Protection Regulation?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affords privacy and data protection for the European Union’s citizens. This directly binding law helps to address the dissemination of personal information outside of the European Union. The approaching effective date of May 25, 2018, has web security analysts speculating that cybercriminals may use the GDPR to their advantage. The GDPR is meant to add layers of protection for personal data, but could, in fact, cause more opportunities for cybercriminals to reap financial gains.

Warning on GDPR Extortion Attacks by Cybercriminals

Trend Micro expects fewer cyber attacks using exploit kits and spray-and-pray techniques, with the focus instead shifting to strategies aimed at securing the greatest financial gain for the attacker. With the GDPR rapidly approaching, eyes turn toward possible vulnerabilities that could leave hackers raking in ransom money. Suspicions surround a possible scenario where hackers could breach a company’s data and threaten to go public, making ransom demands that are just below the fees associated with a GDPR penalty.

According to Trend Micro, businesses need to adhere to a cross-generational security solution to best protect their assets, as no “silver bullet” exists for true protection across the board. Costly consequences of not being fortified against cyber threats may range from steep monetary demands to data exploit, reputation damage, and more. Protections against cybercrimes continue to evolve to stand up to the latest trends in security breaches, malware attacks, and other vulnerabilities.

IoT Vulnerabilities at Risk

Today’s technology has changed the landscape of many aspects of day-to-day life, with smart home appliances and systems that respond to commands remotely. You’ve forgotten to set your thermostat before leaving on vacation? Do you want to record a show on your DVR while away from home? It’s no problem at all because most days you can do just that with a quick swipe or tap on an app on your device.

The rise in popularity of Internet of Things (IoT) products paves the way to even more potential exploits for hackers and cybercriminals. Based on its recent reports and research, Trend Micro identified more than 45.6 million cryptocurrency mining events in the year. This number corresponds to a very large portion of all the IoT events the company reviewed.

As technology continues to evolve, new vulnerabilities will also surface. Cybersecurity measures to keep individuals and businesses safe in 2018 and beyond are going to require less of a set-it-and-forget-it mentality and more of a fluid, adaptable approach.