According to latest threat predictions from Fortinet FortiGuard Labs' global research team, the advent of global digital transformation has expanded the attack surface, while also encouraging the cybercriminal marketplace to up their game and capabilities.
In response to the increasing number of users accessing personal data online and the rise of the IoT environment, cybercriminals have begun to adopt the latest advances in artificial intelligence to create deadlier and more efficient attacks.
According to Fortinet's report, 2018 will see the rise of self-learning Hivenets and Swarmbots. The former will replace botnets with intelligent clusters of comprised devices to create more effective attack vectors, while cybercriminals will use swarms of compromised devices, or swarmbots, to overwhelm a target's defences from different angles.
Additionally, the report also predicts a sharp rise in ransom attacks on commercial services of big businesses. Targeting cloud service providers, as well as commercial services, cybercriminals will use this approach for attack to disrupt entities, such as government institutions, critical infrastructure, businesses and healthcare organisations.
Derek Manky, Global Security Strategist, Fortinet, commented: "Our digital economy is powered by technology innovation that creates opportunity for good and bad in cybersecurity. The proliferation of online devices and the hyperconnectivity of today has created a criminal playground that is increasingly difficult to secure.
"At the same time, adversaries are leveraging automation and artificial intelligence at an unfathomable pace and scale across the ever-expanding attack surface. Attacks like WannaCry and NotPetya foreshadow the massive disruptions and economic impacts possible in our near future, resulting from the ransom and disruption of commercial services or intellectual property."
He added: "Fabric-based security approaches that leverage the power of automation, integration, and strategic segmentation are critical to combat the highly intelligent attacks of tomorrow."