Kaspersky Lab said this week it has recorded a fourfold increase in cryptomining attacks in Africa and the Middle East this year compared to last. The bulk of the attacks is directed at financial institutions. The actual number of attacks increased from 3.5 million to 13 million.
"The past year has been extremely eventful in terms of the digital threats faced by financial institutions. Cybercrime groups have used new infiltration techniques, and the geography of attacks has become more extensive," the high profile cyber protector stated.
According to Kaspersky's statistics, the Middle East including Turkey and Africa experienced a 17% increase in banking malware attacks to reach almost half a million in 2018. Cryptocurrencies have also become an attractive target for cybercriminals resulting in a rapid increase in malicious mining of cryptocurrencies.
"The Middle East and Africa is becoming more appealing to cybercriminals with financial and malicious cyrpotomining attacks taking centre stage. We discovered six new ATM malware families in 2018. On the other hand, illegal mining of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically to overtake ransomware as the main threat of the last few years. We believe the reason is that mining is silent and cause less impact that ransomware, making it less noticeable," said Fabio Assolini, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
For cyber security in 2019, Kaspersky Lab predicts that biometric data will become the next target.
"Biometric systems for user identification and authentication are gradually implemented by various financial institutions. Several major leaks of biometric data have already occurred. These two facts lay the foundation for the first POC (proof-of-concept) attacks on financial services using leaked biometric data," stated Kaspersky.
On mobile security, Kaspersky predicts "Mobile applications for business are gaining popularity, which is likely to lead to the first attacks on their users. There are enough tools for this and the possible losses that businesses incur would be much higher than the losses incurred when individuals are attacked."
Kaspersky also predict that cryptocurrencies as a means of payment will further decline after the excessive expectations for the use of blockchain have moderated.
"In the end, this trend will be driven by people rather than the technology's capability, as organisations and industries come to the conclusion that blockchain has a rather narrow scope of application, and most attempts to use it in different ways are not justified. The reliable application of blockchain beyond cryptocurrency has been explored and experimented with for years but there is little evidence of achievement. 2019 will be the year people stop trying."