Cybersecurity and data protection is a significant concern in every industry. The impact of data breaches is far-reaching, pressing the need for cyber security risk management. The heightened awareness has led to the establishment of new legislation governing data protection. Introduction of General data protection regulation (GDPR) for EU countries in 2018 was a significant step in reducing cyber-attacks. Despite the stringent measures and efforts towards securing networks and data privacy, the frequency of cyber incidents is still increasing.
The cyber security threats are becoming complex with a new data breach hitting the headlines regularly. We often focus on large companies forgetting the small business who are most vulnerable due to lack of expertise to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. In 2019, we expect data breaches to be on the rise due to increased dependence on technology. Every digital device is an entry point for criminals. Here are top trends in cyber security to keep an eye on in 2019:
1. Phishing Attacks Continue to Become an Issue
Many internet users continue to fall prey to phishing attacks. The attackers are abandoning the standard emails and crafting the emails to a target group. They are also moving from personal accounts to business accounts where many people are likely to take the bait. Hackers are getting a lot of money from structuring emails that appear legitimate. The phishing attacks are on the rise since they are more lucrative in comparison to ransomware. Companies need to invest in phishing stimulators to assist in identifying attackers.
2. Cloud-Based Attacks on the Rise
The use of cloud technologies is increasing due to the convenient access it offers to users. The convenience of cloud technologies is what makes it an attractive infrastructure for hackers. Imagine how easy their work is now! Instead of hacking several computers they need to break into one central point. Protection from cloud-based attacks lies within the company providing the infrastructure. However, users need to have local backups, use passwords and share information with reliable platforms only. A business should increase its cybersecurity spending to reduce data security threats.
3. Implementation of GDPR
Since its introduction in 2018, there have been speculations on how the application is likely to play out. Companies are getting ready and preparing their data to comply with the new legislation. GDPR is here to give guidance on how to organise your data security practices making them transparent. It also gives you a data map on how to improve data protection and compliance. GDPR also mandates reporting of cyber-attacks. Reporting creates awareness of current threats.
4. Artificial Intelligence Will Make It Hard to Detect Threats
Incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning into our daily lives makes it a potential target for cybercriminals. Hackers are learning how AI operates and are coming up with ways to carry out attacks. A real potential threat is the creation of AI-powered malware. The malware stays in the system without being detected, and studies the behaviors of the system and collects information. Understanding how AI programs operate is difficult. Therefore, it is impossible to correct the program when there is a mistake. Also, Malware goes undetected increasing the impact of the attack.
5. Data Breaches Turning into Information Manipulation
Hackers are no longer just stealing data from websites and devices. They manipulate the data making its integrity questionable. Unlike data theft, information manipulation causes long-term effects on companies. Their reputation and integrity will be ruined completely. To avoid such cyber-attacks business should use passwords and authentication method to prevent unauthorized access to their systems and websites. With cyber threats being a common occurrence business are carrying out a cyber security risk assessment to identify weak points.
6. Fake News
Cybercriminals are using artificial intelligence to generate fake video and audio content. Combining the generated content with fake social media accounts spreads information like wildfire. Nowadays some apps can create millions of articles in seconds. Hackers can also create seemingly-realistic videos of events that never took place. Cybercriminals are making it a lucrative business by blackmailing people and ruining reputations through character assassination.
7. The Internet of Things
We use the internet of things (IoT) to control our smart devices remotely. They are incredibly convenient but also a major pain point. IoT exposes connected devices to security threats. Hackers are finding new ways to target IoT primarily through the use of routers and cameras as an entry point. Countries are coming up with regulations to improve security measures in IoT devices to reduce cyber-attacks. Emphasise on building secure-by-design products instead of introducing security measures later, will enhance the security of the devices.
8. IT Inventory
Shadow IT systems pose a significant threat to system security. It exposes the system to external risks which can be catastrophic. Companies should monitor all devices connected to a system and disconnect those perceived as high-risk. To reduce vulnerabilities, a real-time inventory of devices connected to the system is needed for the businesses. The inventory should include those connected through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) is increasing the freedom of users in operating devices. However, freedoms should not compromise data security.
The increasing complexity in cybersecurity trends warrants an increase in IT infrastructure to stay secure. However, there is a shortage of IT security skills derailing the efforts to fight the cyber-attacks. Small businesses can implement affordable data security measures to reduce cyber threats.
Co-Authored via Riya – Riya is an inspired writer, spending her years studying and teaching marketing communication, Riya is always delighted to work with aspiring small business owners. Apart from her marketing expertise, Riya always enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling. Connect with her on Twitter, @sanderriya.