Will ISIS Turn to Cyber Warfare?

A cybersecurity software company has predicted that the terrorist group will target American businesses, utilities and presidential campaigns.

by Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / January 13, 2016 0
Members of the armed forces training in cyber defense. Wikicommons

(TNS) -- A Milwaukee cybersecurity software firm has made predictions for potential computer attacks in the U.S. and the forecast is downright scary.

Among the predictions issued Tuesday, Jan. 12, by PKWare, a provider of what it markets as "smart encryption" software:

  • ISIS will breach a major corporation. "We believe that ISIS will dramatically increase their cyber capabilities to target corporate America and other vulnerable Western entities and organizations," PKWare said in a statement discussing its predictions.
  • A U.S. presidential campaign will be hacked: "Political campaigns have mountains of unsecured data that is ripe for hacking," according to the PKWare statement. "As a result, we believe a U.S. presidential campaign will experience a major cyber-attack before the general election in November."
  • The U.S. electric grid will be attacked. PKWare isn't the only one forecasting such an attack. "...So many attackers have stowed away in the systems that run the U.S. electric grid that experts say they likely have the capability to strike at will," the Associated Press reported in December.

PKWare, which invented the .ZIP file compression standard, is also predicting:

  • U.S. law enforcement will be breached. "From body cameras to police databases, cyberattacks against law enforcement could become widespread in 2016," according to the company's statement.
  • Healthcare devices will be compromised. "With the rise of connected devices in the healthcare industry, it is inevitable that we will see a rise in cyber-attacks against the medical community," PKWare said in the statement.

"With over 30,000 businesses and 200 government entities as our customers, we have a unique view into future staging grounds for attacks," said V. Miller Newton, PKWare CEO and president, in the statement. "Based on what we're seeing right now, 2016 will see significant and dynamic cyberattacks on American interests."

"The new generation of attacks aspire to cause widespread disruption and fear, across entire industries, populations and geographies, by exploiting significant gaps in data protection," Newton added in the statement.

Since the company began making breach predictions in January of 2011, PKWARE says it has been more than 95% accurate in forecasting cyber-attacks on American interests.

"We release our breach predictions twice each year, and we do this as a public service," Newton said in the statement. "We're trying to call attention to the fact that these attacks are causing significant damage to our nation - and that they're largely preventable.

"If we're going to win today's emerging cyberwar, our government, businesses and citizenry must get serious about protecting our data."

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