by MARTIN GILES on June 26, 2018

In early January, we predicted some of the biggest cyberthreats the world would encounter in 2018. Almost halfway through the year, it seemed like a good time to revisit that forecast and see how it’s playing out.

Here’s what we’ve gotten right so far …

One of my predictions was that we’d see more huge data breaches, and that hypothesis was proved pretty quickly. In March, exercise- and diet-tracking app MyFitnessPal said it had suffered one of the biggest breaches in history: hackers stole the usernames, e-mail addresses, and passwords associated with some 150 million accounts.

That made the breach even larger in terms of sheer numbers than the massive Equifax hack of 2017. The only silver lining was that many of the passwords were protected by strong encryption, which seems to have limited fallout from the attack.

Then there’s the Facebook imbroglio with Cambridge Analytica, which blew up the same month. Some 87 million users of the social network had their data shared without their knowledge or consent. Strictly speaking, this wasn’t a hack. But I think it merits a (dis)honorable mention here because had the social network put tighter controls in place, it could have spotted the unauthorized use of the data faster and stopped it.

I also predicted even bolder efforts to steal computer processing power for cryptocurrency mining, and we dug into this risk in more detail later in January (see “Forget viruses or spyware—your biggest cyberthreat is greedy currency miners”).

In the past few months, we’ve seen mining-minded hackers use popular malware such as Coinhive and Crypto Miner to hijack cloud computing capacity at companies like Tesla and British insurer Aviva. And one big security company, Darktrace, says it has found rogue mining software on the systems of a thousand of its customers.


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Martin Giles is the San Fransisco bureau chief of MIT Technology Review.