As twenty-nineteen rapidly comes to an end, cybersecurity professionals have long been looking ahead to twenty-twenty when keeping business safety and security top of mind. The world of cybersecurity is a fast-paced and ever-changing field, so information technology professionals must stay ahead of the game. Through research, experiences, and - in some cases - employing hackers to identify weak areas in technology, IT teams must understand every nuance and need. Here are five trends to look for as we move into the next decade.
1. Phishing Attacks
Phishing has become one of the most common types of cyber attacks around the globe over the past several years. Through a combination of phishing and hacking, criminals are finding more success through email scams. Since phishing attackers depend upon a recipient’s lack of awareness or naivety, this type of attack won’t decrease any time soon. In fact, the rate of opens and clicks on phishing emails and links unfortunately continues to grow.
To protect a business from this problem, awareness and scepticism for emails that have links attached from unknown or seemingly unusual sources should never be opened until the source is confirmed. This can be done by training and making staff aware of phishing attack methods. Additionally, IT teams can use software to scan emails which may recommend caution or suggest the email may be tied to a scam. When an email comes through with this warning, extreme caution should be exhibited.
2. Shadow IT Risks
Shadow IT is the use of devices or applications by end users that have not been approved by IT. When personal devices are used within a business, it inadvertently puts that organisation at risk. IT teams can prepare for this by continuing to monitor the network, deploying software that identifies when shadow devices or applications are used, and educating staff about the potential dangers of shadow IT.
According to a recent study, one major potential risk is that shadow IT users (i.e. employees) may unknowingly put the organisation at risk for penalties or fines if usage violates regulations of data privacy. If a violation does occur, this could pose a significant situation for business owners; strict regulations often come with heavy fines and reparations. Teaching what shadow IT is (and how to avoid it) is a great first step when educating non-information technology staff.
3. Managed and Unmanaged Devices
Similar to shadow IT, if a company has employees, there will always be risks tied to managed and unmanaged devices. An unmanaged device is one that is under the user’s complete control, and the organisation has no rights to enforce company technology policies. Alternatively, managed devices are regulated and under the control of the organisation.
With the readily available connections through the cloud or with IoT devices, information technology departments have a new wave of difficulties to manage. Because many devices have credentials that were rarely changed from initial start-up, cyber attackers have access to breaking into these devices, putting the security of an organisation at risk.
To help identify and manage this trend, teams such as cybersecurity professionals in London can provide guidance so businesses can pinpoint areas of concern. It is imperative to secure data both within and out of the organisation network. With professional assistance, business owners can create a partnership that will not only benefit the company as a whole, but also alleviate some of the unknown from the owner themselves.
4. Artificial Intelligence Attacks May Be Near
Twenty-twenty may begin to see a rise in cyber attacks through artificial intelligence (AI). Because AI has the ability to learn in an environment, cyber criminals are capitalizing on this adaptability. The intent here is not to steal data, but rather change or modify data for a specific purpose.
Additionally, there are three fundamental dangers an AI-based cyber attack poses for security: it has the ability to impersonate verified and reliable users; it can blend into the background, making it difficult to identify; and attacks are much more targeted with effective results.
Impersonating a reliable user profile. Because AI malware can sit undetected for long periods of time and has the ability to learn in an environment, this type of attack can learn specific users behaviours and mimic that through attacks, making it difficult to distinguish imitation emails from genuine emails.
Blending into the background. Difficult to detect, AI malware can often sit undetected for months. The attacker’s movements are slow and specific in order to not set off red flags for security professionals monitoring a network.
Targeted attacks. Because AI malware is adaptable to an environment, the attacks can be very specific and targeted. This is capable of targeting a source much more quickly and efficiently.
5. The Cloud Will Become a Greater Target
The surge in cloud computing has grown quickly, which should lead to no surprise that malicious attacks will also rise. While working off a cloud-based enterprise is convenient and can reduce IT costs significantly, companies are running the risk of opening themselves up to more malicious attacks if they do not have updated computer systems. Another key way to avoid attacks is to train employees not to open unknown email links.
When businesses work without an in-house IT team, partnering with an IT consultancy firm will put any company on track to ensuring the safety and security of the network and data. This partnership should result in open communication, a set of principles and procedures for daily network practices, and a thorough response plan for potential cyber attacks.
One key take-away from any technology related issue is that the people using it are human. Mistakes and errors in judgment happen. Information technology and security should not only rest on the shoulders of technology engineers; in reality, it is the responsibility and obligation of all employees to know what and how they access information.