From startup companies to the world’s largest organizations, an effective cybersecurity strategy is essential. Threats to security in an increasingly digitized world are becoming more sophisticated, and the severity and frequency of attacks is expected to rise as faster and better information infrastructures develop.
Any business looking ahead into 2018 will need to be aware of the top cybersecurity threats that are on the horizon.
IoT based Attacks Will Become More Frequent
The Internet of Things has had a positive impact on business and consumer segments, allowing increased connectivity, automation, and collection of data across a broad range of systems. With the adoption of IoT devices increasing, organizations will need to ensure that they are not exposing themselves to unnecessary risk. Businesses will need to analyses existing security policies and implement more effective rules that take IoT devices into account.
It is critical that information technology departments are aware of the information that enters and exits their organization. Autonomous systems should be fully audited, and it is essential to understand that widespread installation and deployment of devices and sensors could take visibility and control away from an organization.
Criminals Will Increase Targeting of Point of Sale Systems
Merchant systems will not be overlooked by attackers in 2018. Point of Sale (POS) systems have evolved significantly in the past two decades. No longer isolated systems, the modern POS is networked and very often given access to the internet. Cloud based POS solutions are also vulnerable, particularly in cases where merchants use smartphone or laptop based systems to facilitate transactions while on the road.
Merchants will need to recognize the importance of securing their systems, and should choose solutions that focus as much on security as they do on convenience and features. Merchants will benefit from cybersecurity consultation, which is something that a number of smaller retailers have not had to consider in the past.
Some Threats Will come from Within Organizations
A recent report from Crowd Research Partners found that up to 53% of companies were victims of insider attacks last year. Internal cybersecurity is a sensitive area, as companies need to balance their approach to security with relevant privacy and monitoring compliance practices. As the complexity of information storage systems increases, it will be important to keep tight control of access privileges and sensitive data within any organization.
Employee behavior monitoring (in relation to systems access) will need to become a focus to prevent and deter 2018 cybersecurity issues.
The Threat of Ransomware and Malware Will Remain Present
2017 saw the rise of widespread ransomware attacks on private users and organizations. The WannaCry ransomware attack made world headlines and infected more than 300,000 computers globally. Ransomware uses operating system exploits and can act as a network worm, scanning and reproducing itself on multiple vulnerable systems.
Due to the constantly evolving nature of 2018 cybersecurity issues, it is not possible to protect against every potential outcome. What companies can do is implement strict security protocols (both systems based and user based) to limit the risk of infection. Cybersecurity professionals will need to understand that organization-wide security training is equally as important as robust network security design.
Antivirus Solutions Will Lose Trust
A software based antivirus or antimalware system is not an effective cybersecurity system in itself. A number of industry analysts believe that attackers will exploit security software directly, and use exploits to disrupt businesses, steal network resources, or gain access to private information. Direct attacks on software security solutions are rare, and are not often publicized when they are discovered.
Attackers that find and create exploits have an incentive to release this information, as it would cause a loss of confidence, and confusion within the market. Antivirus software should be frequently patched and assessed for performance, and cybersecurity experts will need to implement additional hardware and software safeguards to ensure that networks are secure.
2018 cybersecurity issues can have the potential to cripple businesses, causing significant financial loss and prolonged interruption to normal operations. In the case of IoT devices, particularly devices used to control automated machinery, the risks are much higher and there’s a real threat of injury or death when systems are compromised.
Any business, large or small, will benefit from professional cybersecurity consulting and an ongoing systematic approach to network and device security.