In 2019, we can expect to see attackers changing their approach from pure data theft and website hacking to attacking data integrity itself using AI to manipulate and trick people.
I like to tell people it’s not a “when you get breached” scenario, it’s a when you get breached, how will you respond scenario? And now, we can add in another cyber violation: the manipulation of data integrity.
Data is the new global commodity, a highly valuable resource which impacts everything from business operations to government policy. Because of this, the risks associated with data theft are well known. Unfortunately, the dangers of hackers changing their methodology and choosing to manipulate data are only just becoming clear.
For most of us, consumers and businesses alike, “data integrity” is simply an assurance that our information can be accessed or modified only by authorized users. A data integrity attack compromises that promise, with the aim of gaining unauthorized access to modify data for criminal intent, either financial or reputational. For example, in 2016 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) suffered a data integrity breach. Hackers stole and released the personal data of famous athletes to damage their reputations, but upon reviewing their archived data, WADA revealed that the data that had been leaked was manipulated.
Data integrity attacks have the power to destroy a companies reputation and more. Political agenda’s can alter entire elections. Stock manipulation and business fraud is a very real threat. If a hacker owned stock in that particular business they could profit immensely. Even the power grid and other IoT systems from traffic lights to the water supply could be severely disrupted if the data they run on were to be altered. Possibly the biggest danger is that many of these “integrity breaches” could go sight unseen for years before the true damage reveals itself, if no data is stolen or leaked.
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