Trend Micro 2016 threat predictions forecast an uptick in online extortion and hacktivism


Sophisticated threat landscape reinforces need for regulatory requirements & cybersecurity officers

Trend Micro LogoTrend Micro Incorporated has released its annual security predictions report, “The fine line: 2016 security predictions”. Next year, continued growth in online extortion, hacktivism and mobile malware is expected, as well as a shift to an offensive cybersecurity posture for government entities and corporations.

“We anticipate 2016 to be a very significant year for both sides of the cybercrime equation,” said Dhanya Thakkar, managing director at Trend Micro Asia Pacific. “Government and the private sector will begin to see the benefit of cybersecurity foresight, with changes in legislation and the increasing addition of cybersecurity officers within enterprises.  In addition, as users become more aware of online threats, attackers will react by developing sophisticated, personalised schemes to target individuals and corporations alike.”

According to the report, 2016 will also mark a significant turning point for malvertising. There has been a 41 percent increase in consumers globally using online ad blocking software this year. As a result, advertisers will seek to alter their approach to online ads and cybercriminals will attempt to find other ways to obtain user information.

Online extortion will be accelerated through the use of psychological analysis and social engineering of prospective victims. Hacktivists will be driven to expose even more incriminating information, impacting targets, and facilitating secondary infections.

“Hackers consistently evolve to adapt to their surroundings, just as online ads are declining, we see ransomware is increasing,” continued Dhanya. “Despite the growth in security investments and legislation, these changes will inevitably bring new, more sophisticated attack vectors.”

The growing popularity of smart devices in Australia and New Zealand is accompanied by challenges such as a diversity of operating systems and lack of regulation for these devices. These challenges are likely to lead to device failure in some instances and at least one incident causing fatality, in turn triggering a conversation on creating regulations on device production and usage.

“We’ve already seen hacking in devices ranging from baby monitors to smart TVs and connected cars, and as consumers in Australia and New Zealand rapidly embrace smart devices, we need to be aware of the potential dangers,” said Tim Falinski, consumer director, Trend Micro Australia and New Zealand. “As more drones operate in public air space, more devices are used for healthcare services, and more appliances are internet-enabled, the more likely we are to see device malfunction, hacking and misuse.”

Highlights from the 2016 predications report include:

  • Cybercriminals will devise new ways to personalise attacks, making 2016 the year of online extortion
  • Mobile malware will grow to 20 million, primarily effecting China, while targeting new mobile payment options globally
  • As more consumer-grade smart devices are used in day-to-day activities, at least one device failure will be lethal in 2016
  • Hacktivists will escalate attack methods to systematically destroy targets with high-profile data breaches
  • Less than 50 percent of organisations are expected to have cybersecurity experts on staff by the end of 2016
  • Increased ad-blocking products and services will force cybercriminals to find new means to target victims, resulting in fewer malvertisements
  • Legislation across the world will expand to a global cybersecurity defence model, allowing for more successful arrests, prosecution and convictions

To learn more about Trend Micro’s 2016 threat predictions, visit:

About Trend Micro
Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in security software, strives to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. Built on 26 years of experience, our solutions for consumers, businesses and governments provide layered data security to protect information on mobile devices, endpoints, gateways, servers and the cloud. Trend Micro enables the smart protection of information, with innovative security technology that is simple to deploy and manage, and fits an evolving ecosystem. All of our solutions are powered by cloud-based global threat intelligence, the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ infrastructure, and are supported by more than 1,200 threat experts around the globe.  For more information, visit


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