Social Media Cyber Threats: 3 Predictions for 2018


1. Ransomware: Social media will be the number one vehicle for ransomware distribution in 2018. Currently, there are nearly 1 million social media accounts compromised every day, and that number will continue to rise, thanks to the plethora of easily identifiable targets. And with new channels comes new costs: the average cost of a ransomware ticket will go up 50 percent next year. Cyber attackers see that organizations are willing to pay the ransom, so they’ve upped their asking price. And while organizations may be paying a higher ransom, the cost of these attacks are going down, due to artificial intelligence tools making these campaigns infinitely easier to carry out.

2. Politics: The presidential election might be over, but we can expect to see more targeted social media attacks against public sector organizations leading up to mid-term elections next year. Social media has increasingly become a channel for public organizations to connect with their constituents, making it a prime target—particularly for bot attacks. Bots are being used by hackers to create discord, distribute cybercrime at scale, and disseminate political messaging.

3. Snapchat: Snap (NYSE: SNAP), the parent company of the popular Snapchat app, has made huge investments in advertising this year, which also means the company has taken huge steps to put itself in the line of fire for cyber attacks. Where there’s money changing hands, there are cyber criminals to try and exploit it. Even though enterprises are still in the early stages of adopting Snapchat, they need to prepare for this rise in Snapchat-targeted attacks.

[Editor’s note: This is part of a series of posts sharing thoughts from technology leaders about 2017 trends and 2018 forecasts.]

James Foster is CEO and co-founder of ZeroFox, a Baltimore-based social media security firm. Follow @

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