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Written in the Star Wars: Top Security Threat Predictions for 2016

Posted December 17, 2015by Joseph Tavano

In just a few days, the most-anticipated movie of the century—Star Wars: The Force Awakens—will hit theaters, and is poised to be the biggest movie of all time. Naturally, the buzz is palpable; from supermarkets to big-box stores, you’ll find Star Wars everywhere right now, so when we asked our friends at Webroot about the top security threats to look out for in the upcoming year, my mind couldn’t help but wander to scenes from my favorite film series. Take a look.

1. People Push Back

Tools that prevent unintentional data collection—such as cookie blockers, microphones, malicious advertisements and camera blockers—will be increasingly adopted by consumers. Many of these tools block ads indiscriminately, which will have an impact on legitimate sites’ abilities to fund themselves. Consumers will also require web companies to disclose consumer data use and how it is being protected.

Love it or hate it, The Phantom Menace is an integral part of the Star Wars saga, and all this talk of messages being blocked or jammed is a quintessential Star Wars bad-guy move. So, I can’t help but think of veteran stage actor Oliver Ford Davies’ inimitable portrayal of Governor Sio Bibble and his jump to only one conclusion.

People Push Back as Security Concern Star Wars Meme

image credit: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace © Lucasfilm

2. Increased Attacks on IoT Devices

As more common items add connectivity for convenience, and thus become part of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is expected that hackers will take advantage of poorly implemented security. Weaknesses in passwords, firmware updates and the storage of user specific data make IoT devices a prime target and attacks against these devices will increase in 2016.

Astromechs are the best hackers in the Star Wars galaxy, and there are none more daring and more iconic than R2-D2 (or Artoo Detoo, if you will). Artoo was constantly breaking into low-security connected devices—from starship to the Death Star, there was nothing this little guy couldn’t take on!

Increased Attacks on Internet of Things Devices Star Wars Parallel

image credit: Star Wars: A New Hope © Lucasfilm

3. More Breaches

Cybercriminals will double down on phishing attacks – whether via telephone, texts, tweets, Instagram, Snapchat and other social avenues. With rapid growth on the rise in 2015, attackers will create remote sessions into PCs disguised as a trusted account vendor. Also, reps from fraudulent sites will offer support which results in a remote connection and users’ systems getting compromised.

Star Wars couldn’t possibly have a version of a phishing attack, could it? Of course! Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca evaded the Imperial fleet in Return of the Jedi through a combination of fraudulent credentials and social engineering. They may have been the good guys, but as member of the Rebel Alliance they broke all the rules!

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca evade the Imperial fleet in Return of the Jedi

image credit: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi © Lucasfilm

4. 2016 Predential Elections

There will be a spike in cybercriminal activity that exploits the 2016 US presidential elections and causes mass disruption. The attacks will include spam emails, campaign donation scams, fake election sites and telephone-based threats, which have been on the rise in 2015. Attacks will target social media and will increase in activity as the election night approaches. As a result, candidates will need to be more security-aware than ever before.

There’s only been one election in the Star Wars saga, and it was rigged. Long before the Empire took power, Senator Padme Amidala was tricked into calling for a vote of no confidence in the presiding leader of the Republic, Chancellor Vellorum. This opened the way for emergency elections, rigged by Senator Sheev Palpatine, also known as Darth Sidious—the man who would one day become the hated Emperor.

Senator Padme Amidala was tricked into calling for a vote of no confidence in the presiding leader of the Republic Chancellor Vellorum

image credit: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace © LucasFilm

So there you have it! How will present-day technology influence The Force Awakens? In just a few days, we’ll all find out.

Are there any other security threats you can think of that remind you of events in Star Wars? Leave a comment below!

Looking to consume as much Star Wars content as possible before the big premiere?

Start the New Year out right!

RMM 101: Must-haves for Your IT Management Solution

Joseph Tavano is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, with more than 12 years of experience in content creation and editorial in various disciplines. He is the author of numerous eBooks, eGuides, blog posts and other collateral that enable Continuum partners and IT service providers in the channel to make their businesses stronger and grow their profits. He is also the producer of the Continuum Podcast Network, which publishes multiple shows every week and reaches tens of thousands of IT professionals every year. A native of Boston, he holds bachelors in English and History from Suffolk University and resides in Salem, Massachusetts.

RMM 101: Must-haves for Your IT Management Solution
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