It’s December — that time of the year when many industry experts make all sorts of predictions for the year ahead. But one prophecy caught Business Insider’s eye: the whole internet will shut down for 24 hours.
The dire forecast comes from US technology security vendor LogRhythm. According to the company’s chief information security officer and vice president James Carder, it won’t just be a technical issue stopping people from uploading their selfies on Instagram.
“In 2017, we’re going to see it hit big sometime, somewhere. If the internet goes down, financial markets will tank,” he said.
The security expert told Business Insider that all the signs were there this year, with criminals “testing missiles by shooting them into the ocean”.
“We saw the massive [distributed denial of service] against DynDNS just a couple of months ago. That DDoS attack took down sites like Twitter and Spotify for a few hours. We saw a similar DDoS hit Brian Krebs before the attack against Dyn. These were really just tests,” he said.
“If you can prove that you can take down massive sites and a large chunk of the US internet for a few hours, a 24-hour outage seems pretty easy to do?”
Carder also predicted the “fake news” issue would only get worse, with hackers targetting major media sites like CNN and Fox News.
“The power of influence is starting to shift away from main stream news outlets and I don’t think that is something those main stream outlets can afford to let happen. They will respond to the fake news threat by trying to implement some level of media control that will likely take it a little too far,” he said, citing Facebook’s post-election efforts.
“I think hackers, in the name of protecting our freedom of speech, will retaliate by knocking down a major media outlet or two.”
Australian executive Simon Howe predicted that ransomware on mobile devices would become far more prevalent in the new year, to extort money from unsuspecting smartphone users.
“Attackers will target consumers and hold their personal data hostage. For example, attackers will threaten to send out or delete a user’s photos unless a ransom is paid. Just think — how much would you pay to recover your photos?” said Howe, LogRhythm’s ANZ director of sales.
“Attackers will use pre-authenticated tokens to disseminate malware. Because so many Apple devices are interconnected, the malware could very quickly spread.”
LogRhythm, headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, is a company specialising in security information and event management (SIEM) software that has a global presence, including Australia.