Cybersecurity and Its Future
The future changes, this is a certainty. And, as it does, so too the commodities we rely on in our daily lives. Mostly, this relates to technology, especially in the IT sector. Most people have at least one mobile or smart device, capable of browsing the web and connecting to various apps. Each year they grow in functionality, constantly testing the limits of what’s possible. But with these changes come security risk and risks the realm of cybersecurity.
The future of cybersecurity is changing too, a booming industry reacting to the needs and challenges of people who rely on technology. Companies share and integrate valuable data, smartphones are vaults of priceless personal info, all of which are targets for malicious software and dangerous third-parties. Because of this, cybersecurity must constantly evolve to defend against the continuously shifting threats of the cyber world, while also preparing for various technological changes. And, with the growth of Big Data, Internet of Things, AI, and the continued proliferation of smart devices, this will only get harder.
10 Major Cybersecurity Predictions
1 – The Rise of Cryptojacking
Cryptocurrency continues to find popularity as a volatile – but lucrative – enterprise model, especially for malicious third parties. This is because cryptomining doesn’t demand extensive coding knowledge to implement, especially when injected with malware. Often tagging along into unprotected browsers, cryptomining extensions hijack unknowing victims to farm for virtual wealth. As more industries accept cryptocurrency exchange, it’s a valuable field.
2 – Multi-Factor Authentication
Any competent cybersecurity policy will recommend implementing two-factor authentication for better protection. So rises the use of multi-factor authentication for multiple uses, ranging from logins to business transactions. Traditional password solutions are no longer practical in today’s age of complex social engineering methods and phishing attacks. Therefore, 2FA solutions (and similar) will be commonplace in most business/website models.
3 – Emphasis on Personal Security
While there are plenty of methods, apps, and software to shield information, we’ll see additional emphasis on personal security and scrutiny. People will learn comprehensive ways to identify malicious software and social-engineering scams, especially as the latter grows in use. We’ll no longer be able to rely on a single anti-virus benefactor – the onus of protection will fall to us in a variety of ways.
4 – Focused Phishing Attacks
Social engineering has long been a staple of cyberthreats, and we don’t expect it to change any time soon. In fact, we predict phishing attacks will continue to evolve in complexity, focusing on bigger targets. One analysis by ProofPoint demonstrated phishing attacks were on the rise, and often successful in mimicking employee identities.
Today, you can see these techniques in action on popular social media platforms like Twitter – where accounts behave a certain way (often holding charged opinions as an attempt to sow dissent).
5 – AI Attacks
It’s not Skynet, but it’s getting there. As AI, chatbots, and virtual assistants rise in popularity, so too will attempted means to compromise them. Attackers will look for ways to hijack chatbots in an attempt to deploy malicious schemes, similar to what’s seen in social engineering (as in, tricking users to click links and similar). Third-parties can install unprotected chatbots on websites without the owner’s consent, for instance, creating the mentioned security problems. How websites, companies, and users prepare for this influx remains to be seen, but it’s something to watch out for.
6 – Rabid Ransomware
Due to the growing popularity of crypto jacking, there’s likely to be less ransomware saturation – in other words, less randomized attacks. However, this doesn’t mean ransomware is going anywhere. Worse, we fully expect ransomware to focus on more prolific, high-value “prospects.” Because of IoT and Big Data, there’s a lot to lose.
In March 2018, the city of Atlanta was subjected to a ransomware attack with a demand for $51K in BItcoin currency using methods we’ve highlighted already (phishing, social engineering).
This demonstrates the dangers of ransomware and also puts a spotlight on the potential havoc it can cause and the valuable targets it can effect.
7 – State-Sponsored Attacks
The digital realm isn’t just filled with email schemes – it’s also a network of complex state actors looking to destabilize infrastructure. That’s because the infrastructure is often handled by automated processes and networks which are valuable targets.
It also means complex cyber-attacks aren’t just a random assortment of people looking for a quick cash in. State-run entities looking to attack and destabilize anything from an IT network to a power-grid can do so with the proper malware.
8 – Legislative Action
Regulatory bodies at the federal level are likely to introduce legislation to produce additional protections for consumer data, like the California Consumer Privacy Act. We’ve also seen an increase in accountability with legislation like the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), in an effort to clamp down on how freely businesses share (and protect) user information.
Because of the rapidly evolving method of cyber-attacks, legislative and regulatory bodies will have to take action. Hopefully, we’d like to assume it’s a proactive approach versus reactive.
In other words, regulations will increase as the reality of cyber-dangers start to rear its ugly head. Companies and developers for hardware/software which shares data will follow policies deciding how they can safely store, send, and protect consumer info. Smart devices and IoT based devices will fall under the net of regulatory oversight too.
9 – The Pain of Cost
Unfortunately, a successful cyber-attack means more than just lost data. It’s also cost intensive, a nightmare scenario for smaller businesses. For one, downtime and compromised data can lead to millions in damages, along with the resulting brand damage (customers no longer see the business as trustworthy). There are also potential regulatory fines for not abiding with proper cybersecurity legislation, if relevant. And, there’s a rising cost associated with the need to protect networks and data with the investment of appropriate software, hardware, and IT specialists.
While those lacking capital typically hire a managed-service provider, cybersecurity will grow as a major cost factor.
10 – Blockchain Bodyguard
Our final prediction is the increasing use of blockchain. Blockchain offers a variety of benefits with data management, such as encrypting information with cryptographic keys and taking a “decentralized” approach towards cybersecurity (in other words, accessing a tidbit of blockchain data doesn’t grant access to an entire server or similar).
How it’s implemented will largely depend on what needs to be protected and successful integration of blockchain. Traditionally, the method is used to encrypt cryptocurrency transactions, but as data use is more widespread and utilized in different ways, blockchain will find more applicability.
The future of cybersecurity is fast approaching, with new threats on the horizon. There are numerous challenges and cost associated with it, but, promising ways to deal with data protection. Understanding potential threats is a key way to better prepare yourself and your business.
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