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Expect ISIS Cyberattacks This Year, Says Leading Security Firm

PKWare also anticipates attacks on health devices, the electric grid, law enforcement databases, and a U.S. presidential campaign

[Photo: Flickr user Tim Simpson]

ISIS is likely to launch a cyberattack on a major corporation this year, security firm PKWare predicted this week.

"These extreme terrorist groups are just unconstrained, and we know the destructive nature of their physical attacks; I don’t discern any distinction between those motives physically and in the cyberwarfare realm," says PKWare CEO Miller Newton.

In its annual list of computer security predictions, the company also anticipated that hackers—not necessarily related to terrorist groups—will target systems related to law enforcement, health devices, and the electric power grid, and even breach the network of a U.S. presidential election campaign.

"Every campaign has huge teams of staff that are dedicated to digging up lots of sensitive information," Newton warns, making their systems a ripe target for attackers.

The amount of voter information stored by campaigns became clear last month, when staffers for the Bernie Sanders campaign ran afoul of the Democratic National Committee after apparently accessing data uploaded to a party data system by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Similarly, Newton says, health data uploaded to the cloud by implantable devices like pacemakers or FitBit-style wearables will be a likely target for hackers looking for leverage over providers or individual users.

"Both kinds of devices are connected to the Internet and feeding all of that collected information back to a website some place," says Newton.

And databases storing police records and uploads of footage from increasingly prevalent officer body cameras are another likely target, he says.

The company says it correctly predicted last year that hackers would infiltrate transportation systems, health care records, and the records of a professional sports franchise. A breach of flight plan systems grounded planes at a Warsaw airport in June, an Anthem database with millions of customers' health care records was reportedly breached in March, and a former St. Louis Cardinals official recently pleaded guilty in connection with a hack on the Houston Astros' network.

"We're trying to call attention to the fact that these attacks are causing significant damage to our nation—and that they're largely preventable," Newton said in a statement. "If we're going to win today's emerging cyberwar, our government, businesses, and citizenry must get serious about protecting our data."

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