One of the key issues of the year is the wide-scale WannaCry and Petya epidemics, which have harmed hundreds of companies worldwide. Still, in spite of the stir among the public, losses from famous encryptors form only the tip of the iceberg.  Quite often, cyber attacks, which cause much more harm, are not widely covered by media.
 
Already since 2015, we have seen a growing number of targeted attacks on the financial sector, and one can state with sufficient confidence that in the near future this industry will remain the focus of attention of cyber criminals. Attacks on banks will continue as long as they remain profitable, i.e. when income from a successful operation exceeds the risks and expenses for conducting it.
 
According to the statistics, up to 67% of cyber attacks are delivered for the purpose of receiving a financial benefit. The victims can be both large commercial structures and representatives of SMEs. Small organisations (with less than 100 employees) are not always the priority goal for hackers, but may suffer due to the deficiencies present in their security system.
The risk group includes companies, the business of which is directly related to information technologies. These are banks, players of the e-commerce market, communication operators, governmental institutions - it is easier to list the areas where information security is not critical.
 
In general, according to the forecast of the research company IDC, by 2020 the damage of organisations from cyber crimes will exceed USD 1 trillion.  
 
What new threats will users face in the field of cybersecurity in the future?
 
We expect the appearance of new and more complex attacks, primarily on the corporate sector. Even now we are seeing the appearance of new threats focused on devices of the internet of things. Our specialists do not exclude a possibility of a synthesis of threats, for example, appearance of ransomware, blocking smart devices and requiring of a ransom for restoration of access.
 
The number of mobile threats, primarily for the Android platform, will continue to grow. In 2015, intruders released 200 new malicious programs for Android a month, in 2016 about 300. In 2017, the number of new threats for Android will increase to 400 a month. For comparison, not more than two threats with regards to iOS appear in a month.
 
And if in 2007-2009 we observed an explosion in demand for antivirus products for PC, now similar events are taking place in the field of protecting smartphones and tablets for Android.
 
Moreover, a group of researchers have announced critical vulnerabilities of the WPA2 protocol these days, which protects almost all Wi-Fi networks. In fact, it means that data transferred through the network protected by a password can be intercepted and decoded in the same way as in the public network.
 
How will the growth of popularity of bitcoins and blockchain technologies affect cybersecurity?
 
By considering the growing popularity of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, fraudsters and hackers of all types draw the focus of their attention to this area.
 
One side of the problem is the appearance of malware intended for hidden mining. The attackers try to infect consumer devices with such software (native miners), in order to use their computation capacity for extracting cryptocurrencies into their wallet. Another method is web mining. In September, our virus laboratory published analysis of new malware, which extracts Feathercoin, Litecoin and Monero in browsers of users who visit certain websites.
 
Programs for hidden mining do not bring a threat, like, for instance, encryptors or bank Trojans, which allow funds to be stolen from user accounts. On the other hand, the computation capacity may not be used without the permission of the user of that computer. Therefore, ESET antiviruses detect and block programs for hidden mining.
 
The second part of the story is attempts to crack popular stock exchanges for cryptocurrencies and cyber attacks on ICO. In particular, this summer, the South Korean stock exchange for bitcoins Bithumb was cracked (the amount of stolen funds exceeded several million US dollars) and the website of the Singaporean startup Ethereum CoinDash (the amount of damage – USD 7.5 million).
 
What means of protection do you offer against modern cyber threats?
 
The number of cyber risks has increased - this is clear to both home users and companies. And if earlier some were doubting the necessity for comprehensive protection, now this issue is over.
 
In the corporate segment, we observe a growing demand for comprehensive solutions for protecting the infrastructure of different sites. For example, we offer a set of such solutions for protecting infrastructure or different components of a network. 
In September, we launched the “Office Control and DLP Safetica” solution, which protects against threats related to the human factor – malevolent actions or errors of employees.
 
Starting from October, subscription for the ESET Threat Intelligence information service is available for corporate customers – in fact, this is direct access to data on modern threats and cyber landscape, which are collected and analysed by our virus laboratories. The service is focused on the risk group organisations, which operate in the crosshairs of cyber criminals.
 

In general, in my opinion, the prevailing factor that influences the reduction of the level of cyber threats is the increase of the competency level of the people who are engaged in building protection. We all learn how to live and work in the conditions of a virus epidemic, master new technologies and methods. This is a natural process; a reaction to changes of the external market.