What to Expect from Cybersecurity in 2016, According to the Hacktivists Fighting ISIS

According to Ghost Security Group, 2016 will be an eventful year in cybersecurity. Ransomware, ISIS, Bitcoin, hacks and breaches will likely paint the headlines as they did in 2015. 

“As was seen recently with the Ransom32 software earlier this year, ransomware is only getting better,” Ghost Security Group activist Akenalus told Hacked. “At some point it may even begin scanning our computers, extracting credit card information and automatically paying its own ransom.” This isn’t likely to happen any time soon, but it will be coming in the next few years.

“We can most definitely expect ransomware to be more commonly used, maybe even being used to take over things like the Playstation network and hold either Sony or individual users hostage, extracting ransom that way,” the hacktivist said.  No matter how it is used, ransomware won’t disappear in the upcoming year. That’s clear by recent innovations in ransomware. 

“And if Ransom32 was any kind of an example, we can expect it to get worse.” As has already been shown in the last year, cyber warfare plays a huge role in modern war. Ghost Security Group has gained a name for itself in the online battle against ISIS. They feel this is the most effective way to undermine ISIS influence. 

“Ghost Security Group, a team specializing in tracking ISIS members online and preventing their attacks, has already shown that cyber warfare is probably the best way to work against powers like ISIS,” he told me. They also claim there has been an increase in hacktivists battling ISIS.

“We can predict a large increase in cyber warriors this year, as groups like the GSG, Anonymous and GhostSec wage war against ISIS online, gaining more members daily,”Akenalus said. “We can also forsee world governments increasing their cyber efforts in order to improve surveillance against powers like ISIS.”

Visa called 2015 the year of online payments. The firm predicts more and more payments will be done over the internet through methods like Bitcoin and other alt-coins. In the last few years online purchasing has skyrocketed. This means more-and-more websites are storing credit card numbers in their databases. But not all sites are secure. According to Akenalus, this led to a major innovation in 2008.

“This led to the creation of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies,” he told me. “A new development in the world of crypto-currencies is the development of PrimeCoin; a new, more secure version of the Bitcoin, but we cannot expect it to be as well integrated online as the Bitcoin for several years.” Ghost Security Group advises Bitcoin for online purchases as often as possible.

“Bitcoin wallets are easily set up and much more secure than using a standard credit card,”Akenalus stated. “If BitCoin isn’t your style, services like PayPal are my next recommendation, because you will be storing your credit card info on only one site.” What do people need to remember most when it comes to protecting their privacy in 2016?

“I think people need to remember not to write simple passwords,” he said. “Right now, ‘123456’ is the most common password on the internet. People need to stop using “123456,” or their birthdays, or the names of their grandkids. A lot of stolen info could be prevented by having better passwords.” Another tip is to learn to identify a phishing attack.

“Millions of accounts are stolen by hackers every year using this simple technique, and it’s surprisingly easy to prevent,” he elucidates. “Learning to identify these attacks is crucial.” 

Simply by reading e-mails and double-checking domain names, many phishing attacks can be prevented.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Justin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.