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New and Existing Cybersecurity Trends That Will Stick Around
Cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or unlawful use. What trends should you keep an eye out for?
We hear it all the time.
"Everything we have is backed up on the cloud and safe."
"My antivirus does just fine. It'll never let me down."
"If something happens, I'm sure someone has it covered. It's not high up on my priority list."
"What is cybersecurity?"
Let's break this down to understand the full scope of cybersecurity better.
Cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or unlawful use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. With our lives integrated into the Internet more and more, this definition covers a plethora of personal information on an enormous count of devices. Communication, entertainment, transportation, shopping, and medicine are some examples, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Risks of Inadequate Cybersecurity
Think about your cell phone. Do you have a banking app? Do you have social media apps? Do you check your email on your phone? Now consider it on a much larger scale, such as a business. Depending on the company, many will have information on hundreds, thousands, or even millions, of people. This almost limitless database, if not adequately protected, can be vulnerable on many different levels.
Understanding Cyber Threats
"Hacked, attacked, and thwacked" - Although a catchy mnemonic, it's a serious deal. It's applied to terms used to describe people who seek to exploit software and computer systems' weaknesses for their gain. Otherwise known as "Hackers" or "Intruders," their main objective is to steal information, gain access to sensitive materials, and exploit victims for further exploitation.
Malicious Codes: Otherwise known as "Malware" and "Viruses," this risk is probably the most generally known. Everyone has had one or knows an individual afflicted by one. Malicious codes can occur in several ways:
- Some require you to complete an action before it infects your computer. These variants are usually initiated by opening an email attachment, visiting a particular URL, or installing tampered software with harmful extra additions. In most cases, the user is completely unaware until it is too late.
- Other forms don't need an end-user to interact with anything to create chaos. Developers of these types of viruses exploit a software vulnerability by locating outdated software with backdoors or weaknesses. These vulnerabilities occur more frequently with users who don't keep their computers up-to-date with providers' latest updates. Watchdog organizations are quick to catch these risks and push out an update, but tricky hackers can be one step ahead of these professionals.
- The most troublesome form is malicious codes hidden in plain sight. These types will disguise the destructive codes as one thing your computer is familiar with but ultimately corrupts and attacks the workstation behind the scenes. Your computer is running slow, so you decide to do a quick search on ways to speed it up. You come across a result that claims it can "make your computer like it was brand new!" But this snake oil proposition is an intruder masked behind a "solution" to your pain point. These deceitful malware versions can send your personal information to an individual or even take over your entire pc.
Looking to get into cybersecurity? Take a look at our article about cybersecurity careers.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career demands for security analysts will grow 31 percent by 2029, vastly more prominent than the average for all occupations. One of the largest sectors at risk is the Healthcare industry. HIPAA information being a key target, attackers stride to break hospital systems to obtain personal information. Providers will need to ensure they are fully protected and stay on top of the trends.
This increase in demand doesn't go unwarranted. The Center for Internet Security spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated hacking trends throughout 2020 and expected it to worsen in 2021.
"The difference will be that these cyber threats will be more intense and challenging, perpetrated by more sophisticated threat actors leveraging new and devious techniques, with greater and more damaging consequences for the unprepared."
A recent vulnerability took the news by storm. Bleeping Computer reported on Acer tackling a coordinated ransomware attack. The company was targeted by a group of illicit hackers to obtain customer sensitive information, threatening to release the documents unless a payment of $50 million was received. This particular attack would make it the most significant ransomware demand to date.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that the world is constantly changing. New threats can emerge, companies will create new software defenses, and technology companies will create new hardware. If you have not created an action plan for your business's cybersecurity, your IT department needs to put a magnifying glass on your procedures. If you partner with a Managed Services Provider (MSP), ask them what steps they are taking to ensure you are protected and what you can further do to improve your security. MSPs who take a proactive cybersecurity approach will have plans already created and stay current on ongoing threats.
What's the difference between traditional IT and MSPs?
We go into detail on a few key differences, so you don't have to.