Cybersecurity and Technology Misuse

Cyber Threats

Modern society is defined by the Internet: over a quarter of the world's population is wired into the net - and this number is growing every day. The Internet is a source of information, communication, entertainment and education, and it is impossible for many of us to imagine a functioning world without it. Unfortunately, as with most technological advances, the Internet also has a dark side; the evolution of the Internet has been paralleled by an evolution in crime.

The advent of new Internet technology has resulted in the corresponding development of both new forms of crime, and new methods of committing old forms of crime. For instance, phenomena such as phishing, pharming, and the diffusion of malware, as we commonly know it, were non-existent before the arrival of the Internet, while long established crimes, such as fraud, theft, and even terrorism, can now all be committed in new ways through the medium of cyberspace. Due to its decentralized structure, users of the Internet can enjoy high levels of anonymity, with little risk of being traced. Consequently, the internet is a magnet for all sorts of common criminals - after all, cybercrime is just regular crime with an "online" or "computer" aspect.

To give an idea of the types of cyber threats currently in existence, the ENISA Threat Landscape 2014 has analyzed more than 400 sources in the security industry, networks of excellence, standardization bodies and other independent parties, making the report the world’s most comprehensive synthesis presently available. The report provides an independent overview of observed threats and threat agents, while additionally identifying and listing the top 15 threats in emerging technology areas. The areas considered are Cyber-Physical Systems and CIP, Mobile Computing, Cloud Computing, Trust Infrastructure, Big Data, Internet of Things, and Network Virtualisation.

The top 15 threats to the abovementioned areas as identified by ENISA in 2014 are:

  • 1. Malicious Code: Worms/Trojans
  • 2. Web-based Attacks
  • 3. Web Application Attacks / Injection Attacks
  • 4. Botnets
  • 5. Denial of Service
  • 6. Spam
  • 7. Phishing
  • 8. Exploit Kits
  • 9. Data Breaches
  • 10. Physical Damage / Theft / Loss
  • 11. Insider Threat
  • 12. Information Leakage
  • 13. Identity Theft / Fraud
  • 14. Cyber Espionage
  • 15. Ransomware / Rogueware / Scareware

In light of the numerous cyber threats posed to global society via the manipulation of technology, UNICRI is working on cybercrime in order to formulate ad hoc prevention policies, develop security methodologies and techniques, and strengthen the capacities of the actors involved in investigating and prosecuting this type of illicit behaviour.

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