The amount of data generated by today’s businesses doubles every couple of years. The number of threats to that data increases at a nearly identical speed. Cybercriminals are able to create new and dangerous attacks by taking advantage of a sophisticated array of tools and methods. If you want to be prepared for the next big digital security threat, it pays to stay informed. Here are five trends from 2018 that will have long-term effects on the world of information security:
#1. The rise of mobile malware
Recent years have seen mobile overtake desktop platforms for browsing the web, a trend that has led to an unprecedented rise in malicious activity targeted at mobile users. Although malware used to target desktop devices, it’s now taking aim at mobile technologies and other connected devices, including pretty much anything with an internet connection.
Third-party app stores host most mobile malware, with the lifestyle and multimedia categories being the categories targeted most often. These app stores often try to encourage users with special discounts or free offers but it’s much safer to stick with the platform’s primary app store, such as the Google Play and Apple App Stores.
#2. Cryptojacking overtook ransomware
2017 was the year of ransomware, and it continues to present a major threat as ransomware-as-a-service offers flood dark web marketplaces. However, small-time cybercriminals have recently discovered an even easier and more lucrative way to make money: hijacking their victims’ computers and mobile devices to mine cryptocurrency.
Cryptojacking doesn’t involve data theft or the unauthorized encryption associated with ransomware, but it does consume computing resources and may also be used to draw attention away from more serious attacks. It’s rise in popularity has happened so quickly that cryptojacking overtook ransomware as one of the most widespread threats. In 2018, it targeted business and home users en masse.
#3. Smart gadgets and new attack opportunities
New internet-connected devices are steadily transforming homes and workplaces as they make their way into everything from household appliances to office security cameras. Since any technology connected to the internet can potentially be exploited, the uptake of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is extremely problematic.
It’s no longer enough to implement network security or protect certain devices with antivirus software — your security strategy now needs to be expanded to cover any device that connects to your network and/or handles the storage or transmission of potentially sensitive data.
#4. Data breach costs continued to increase
According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach in a US company was almost $8 million in 2018. It also took an average of seven months for victims to identify data breaches, which is usually long after the stolen records have been sold on the dark web. These statistics will only get worse as businesses become more reliant on technology.
If those numbers sound unrealistic, remember that a data breach results in lost productivity, system downtime, and litigation in situations where the victim failed to comply with industry regulations. There’s more at stake than ever, which is why information security and privacy must be incorporated by design with every technology your business depends on.
#5. Almost 20% of Americans had personal information stolen
Some 60 million Americans have been successfully targeted by identity theft, according to a recent Harris Poll survey. Many of these incidents were products of social engineering scams, which are launched to exploit human weakness rather than technology vulnerabilities.
Phishing scammers are using an increasing variety of different methods to make their attacks more effective. They’re using artificial intelligence to automate attacks en masse, and they’re using more channels than ever before to reach out to unsuspecting victims.
In the workplace, it’s becoming increasingly common for high-profile executives to be targeted by sophisticated scams carried out by people masquerading as business partners or colleagues. Because such scams rely primarily on deception, the only real way to protect against them is through ongoing employee awareness training.
Founders Technology Group provides IT security services that protect companies in Eastern Connecticut and North Carolina. If you need help safeguarding your company, call us today to schedule your first consultation.