The most interesting and important hacks of 2018

The hacks, exploits and data breaches security researcher need to most pay attention to are those that do something new or suddenly increase in volume.

Each year a few hackers do something new that begs further examination. The general public and Hollywood paints most hackers as these uber-smart people who can take control of entire city’s infrastructure and crack any password in seconds. The reality is that most hackers are fairly average people with average intelligence. Most don’t do anything new. They just repeat the same things that have worked for years, if not decades, using someone else’s tool based on someone else’s hack from many years ago.

The stuff that we need to pay more attention to are the new, evolutionary or revolutionary hacking methods that gave hackers access to something they didn’t have before. Maybe it isn’t exactly new, but it’s being used more or in more innovative ways than in the past (like ransomware did a few years ago). With that said, here are my choices for most interesting hacks of 2018.

Increase in internet-of-things hacks

Though no surprise, the increase in hacks against IoT devices is coming on strong as long predicted. IoT devices are invading both our personal and professional lives and are getting hacked to attack us and our organizations. Even the devices placed in our companies and homes that are supposed to provide us more security are being used against us.

Here are two representative examples: When the U.S. special prosecutor put a specific Russian company and specific Russian names in one of his indictments this year, it wasn’t a guess. Turns out that the Dutch intelligence agency had hacked into the video cameras that monitored the Russians, revealing everything they did in detail. While I’m not against this particular hack, it is a cautionary warning to any company or person who has IP-connected devices in the buildings where they are conducting sensitive activities.

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