Hackers Will Grow Increasingly Bold in 2017

The new year begins with two big unanswered questions on the cybercrime front: Did the Russians influence the U.S. presidential election, and how did hackers gain access to 1.5 billion Yahoo accounts?

The fact that we may never have definitive answers suggests that 2017 will be just as digitally perilous for most people as last year.

Businesses, meanwhile, will continue grappling with the spread of ransomware — malicious software that encrypts and holds computer files hostage until money gets paid, typically in the form of untraceable bitcoins.

Bottom line: Hackers often have everything to gain and little to lose from their criminal activities, which leaves our increasingly techno-dependent society vulnerable to all manner of mischief.

?EU?Someone asked me the other day how much progress we?EU?ve made on cybersecurity,?EU? said James Andrew Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington think tank. ?EU?The answer is not so much.?EU?

The intelligence community seems to have reached consensus that Moscow was behind cyberattacks on Hillary Clinton?EU?s campaign for the purpose of helping ensure an election victory by Donald Trump. Lewis said his intelligence sources confirmed that belief.

It?EU?s now up to investigators to determine the scope of what happened and what can be done to prevent future election tampering from abroad.

The Yahoo hacks are more easily understood — and better represent for consumers the ongoing threat to people?EU?s privacy and digital livelihoods.

Nothing is safe. Not your email, your personal information, your photos, your files. If it?EU?s stored online, it?EU?s theoretically accessible to anyone with the skills and wherewithal to grab it.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, nearly 900 million records might have been accessed in almost 7,000 known data breaches since 2005. The actual number of breaches is undoubtedly higher because not all security lapses are publicized.

A few weeks…