The financial sector is just one of the industries likely to be hardest hit by cyber crime in 2016, according to a new report. Other significant predictions for 2016 include security risks for wearable technology and connected cars, as well as virtual machines becoming targets, says McAfee Labs’ report.

The report, released today by Intel Security, also predicts a rise in “entire warehouses of stolen data”, creating combined records that are higher in value for cyber attackers.

While the amount of data stored on wearables is low, they are predicted to be targeted due to numerous software loopholes which presently leave the technology vulnerable.

According to the report, over the next year “an even more robust dark market for stolen personally identifiable information” will develop, including and usernames and passwords.

Attacks on firmware and hardware are likely to continue, and ransomware is likely to grow due to the rise in anonymised networks and payment methods facilitating ransomware-as-a-service offerings.

Cloud services are another potential source of compromise, with cyber criminals predicted to exploit weak or widely ignored corporate security policies surrounding organisations’ use of the cloud.

Intel Security said it also expected to see an increase in integrity attacks, where perpetrators seize and modify data or transactions in their favour. It is this sort of attack which McAfee Labs says could cost the financial sector millions of pounds next year.

Other employee systems will also be targeted in 2016, with criminals shifting their focus towards targeting insecure employee home systems to access corporate networks among other methods.

However, the report expects organisations to continue to tighten security through technology, policy and strategy, and to begin to take full advantage of threat intelligence sharing.

The report also includes predictions for 2020, which will see attacks below the operating system, cyber espionage tactics used on a corporate level and a surge in attacks on the Internet of Things.

“Keeping pace with, anticipating, and pre-empting adversaries requires that we match the intelligence exchange, cloud computing and delivery power, platform agility and human resource assets that cyber criminals regularly leverage,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of Intel Security’s McAfee Labs.

“To win battles against future threats, organisations must see more, learn more, detect and respond faster, and fully utilise all the technical and human resources at their disposal.”

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