New Report Warns Of Cybercrime Rise in 2018

US tech giant McAfee warned on Wednesday that 2018 will see a rise in online attacks, at a time when the EU is deliberating calls to beef up its Greece-based cybercrime agency.

In its McAfee Labs 2018 Threats Predictions Report, the online security specialists said attackers in the future would use “novel ways with each other and with their attack methods”.

The company also suggested corporate marketers would be unable to resist the temptation of gathering personal data on customers via an array of home-based devices. Such firms could accept fines and sanctions and continue the process, McAfee warned.

In a year which saw ransomware attacks, such as WannaCry, wreak international havoc, Greece’s role in preventing cybercrime came into relief.

In September, the EU Commission offered proposals which would strengthen the bloc’s Crete-headquartered cybersecurity outfit, Enisa. There have also been calls to double Enisa’s budget from its current €14 million and increase staffing.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also said earlier this year that cybercrime had increased five times in the last four years.

Greece, its institutions and people, have themselves felt the wrath of hackers and scammers in the past. In May this year the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was the victim of a series of cyberattacks using the ransomware virus.

In June 2013 the online ‘hacktivist’ collective dubbed Anonymous broke into the Athens Court website. Observers believed the original target had been the Greek parliament’s site.

Earlier that year in January, Brazilian hackers targeted the site of the printing department which produces official Greek government materials

In May 2016 Anonymous struck again, this time disrupting the Greek central bank. On YouTube the group claimed responsibility for the vandalism, issuing a chilling claim that “Olympus will fall.”

More locally, Greek and Turkish hackers traded insults and threats online as ‘hacktivists’ from Op Greek Anonymous claimed to have disabled around 80 Turkish websites in June this year.

Greece’s financial crisis has also seen a switch in tactics from would-be online scammers. A report in CyberScoop earlier this month warned that Greece, along with Ukraine, Bulgaria and Romania, was more at risk of ‘cryptojacking’ — illegally ‘mining’ digital currencies such as Monero and Zcash — than of traditional ransomware attacks.

McAfee’s Wednesday report backs this up, claiming: “Attackers will adjust to target less traditional, more profitable ransomware targets, including high net-worth individuals, connected devices, and businesses.”

It also warns of an “arms race” between scammers and those trying to repel them. Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer for McAfee, said: “As is so often the case in cybersecurity, human intelligence amplified by technology will be the winning factor in the ‘arms race’ between attackers and defenders.”