Cybercrime: What's to Come in 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, security experts are casting their gazes ahead to the new year and, in particular, what risks lay ahead in 2017. Unfortunately, cybercrime is only likely to worsen, as more and more financial, personal and proprietary information stored online presents an irresistible target for criminals and fraudsters all over the world. 

According to a recent article on, the issues that will matter most to those involved in data security range from low-level hacks to high-risk corporate fraud. First and foremost for the fraud fighters, the author writes, is the need for new legislation that actually puts some teeth into prosecution and punishment.

"Police will need new legislation to make prosecution viable: The longer that crimes committed with card details purchased on the dark web go unpunished, the more incentive there is for people to participate. It’s already the most common crime in the UK, with an estimated 2.3 million incidents in 2015-2016. There needs to be a way for businesses to report these crimes to police and have offenders face the consequences of what is, unambiguously, the crime of theft. This will require not just legislation but determination on the part of the legal authorities to act."

While chip and pin has provided more protection to cardholders, online fraud continues as data breaches provide personal cardholder information to cybercriminals who then peddle the data on the black market. As it stands right now, it is difficult for investigators and law enforcement to track down individuals across international borders (and sometimes through proxy servers and other online tools of deception) to bring them to justice.

The information age article highlights 10 things to look for in cybercrime next year, but for the purpose of this blog, we will focus on just a few more.

First, the way cybercriminals target victims will continue to shift:

"Data breaches will target passwords as much as credit cards. While credit cards details will remain the top target for breaches, the login details to popular services – username and password combinations that can be tried in multiple environments – are increasingly valuable, especially as credit card checks toughen up."

For most people today, social media is an integral part of life. This is both a pro and a con for fraud investigators, who see victims fall for social media scams, but can also follows those online trails:

"Social media will become an increased focus for criminals and detection. Both cybercriminals and fraud detection tools will increase their usage of social media. Fraudsters will use social media for reconnaissance and identity theft. Fraud detection tools would leverage social media to prove an online identity. Following BYOD, bring your own identity will grow as people use their private accounts in multiple sites, making social media attacks even more popular."

Perhaps worst of all, breaches and fraud against business entities can be devastating, resulting in putting those companies out of business altogether. Unfortunately, that won't change anytime soon:

"Companies will fail specifically due to fraud threat. Some companies in high-risk industries will cease trading specifically due to their inability to manage the volume of fraud that they are seeing. This will either be because of losses to fraud or because their merchant accounts are suspended."

It's clear that data security professionals, fraud investigators, law enforcement and anyone dealing with cybercrime is in for a busy year ahead. Better to be focused and prepared to prevent and detect such acts now, before the New Year brings it to your company's doorstep.