John McAfee, CEO at MGT Capital Investments, Inc. (MGTI) provides CSO with his predictions for 2017.
1. “IoT denial of service attacks on major Internet carriers, like the one carried out on Dyn earlier year will become commonplace, and the severity will be orders of magnitude greater than what we have seen. The 2016 IoT DDoS attacks were, I am convinced, merely designed to calibrate their weaponized software. 2017 will see serious internet outages.”
2. “The anti-virus paradigm will finally been seen as a dead paradigm. I invented this paradigm and predicted its demise more than 10 years ago. Every major hack of the American government and American enterprises were protected by multiple anti-virus software products. The world must move to proactive systems that detect the presence of a hacker within milliseconds of the hackers’ entry – months or years before the hacker can plant the malware that [anti-virus] systems can detect.”
3. “Intelligence agencies will finally accept the fact that a sophisticated Nation State can perpetrate any hack and make it point to any Nation or agency that they choose. Attribution for a hack, in this day and age, is statistically, a near impossibility. Hopefully this will motivate our leadership to focus on cyber defense rather than cyber weaponry and abandon the futile and obviously erroneous pursuit of forensic science as a means of identifying a hacker. This works for a 15-year-old who obviously knew no better, but Nation States and organized hacking organizations will never be trapped in this manner. It’s like determining that America obviously developed the Atom Bomb because “America” and “Atom” start with the same letter. It is a futile, senseless science that completely disregards the fact that more than 75 percent of all hacks are social engineering. Only 25 percent is technology.”
Asked for more on what he expects in 2017, McAfee stated “Ashley Madison, multi-billion dollar company, went bankrupt because of a hack a little more than a year ago. We will see dozens of such cases in 2017.”
McAfee also reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely in the near future, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
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U.S. investigators recently found proof that a cyber attack can take down a power grid. A destructive malware app known as ‘BlackEnergy’ caused a power outage on the Ukranian power grid this past December, resulting in a blackout for hundreds of thousands of people. Ukrainian officials have blamed Russia for the cyber attack. A CNN article states that U.S. systems aren’t any more protected than those breached in Ukraine.
McAfee asks us to imagine a blackout that could last months – where millions of Americans over several states are without running water, refrigeration, light, and a dwindling supply of food and medical supplies. A blackout could shutdown banks, challenge the police as they’ve never been before, and lead to widespread looting.
Cyber security is hardly a top major issue. Why is it that the media is not standing up a potential attack on our power grids ?
A logical conclusion is that cyber security is a complex topic which the media is not equipped to knowledgeably discuss in public. It is a sorry state of affairs for a potential cyber strike on U.S. power grids to be kept quiet.
His concluding suggestion that the United States look back to the era of mass civil defense as a model for how we might start to make preparations is provocative and sobering at the same time. “Our points of vulnerable access are greater than in all of previous human history,” he writes, “yet we have barely begun to focus on the actual danger that cyberwarfare presents.”
McAfee’s predictions seem to align with the recent trend of data breach and cyberwarfare activity.
We’ll check back in with McAfee for a mid-year update.