The world sometimes seems like one large self-sustaining computer network interacting with itself. That interaction is usually beneficial. But with greater ease and virulence comes more frequent cyber attacks. The average computer user is savvier to the risk of identity theft and hacking these days. Despite this, people go on with their lives as if this issue doesn’t impact them. With millions of cyber attacks every day, it is helpful to know the current trends in cyber security.
1. Passwords are Passé
Passwords alone are not a secure barrier to cyber threats. They are merely one part of a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) process that is becoming more necessary, particularly after big attacks that affected millions like the Equifax breach. As these hacks become more sophisticated, passwords alone will not stop security breaches.
Companies also face major liability issues when data is breached and customers are put at risk. This is creating a growing market of Identity and Access Management (IAM) tools that will help companies create an extra layer of protection. They are often packaged with Risk-Based Assessment tools that work in the background and recognize the behavior and peculiar data patterns of the person attempting to get access.
2. Being Compelled to be in Compliance
Many companies in the United States are reluctant to cooperate with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which aims to strengthen data protection and has a compliance deadline of May 25. If companies are found to not be in compliance, they will be fined. Many companies feel they can absorb the cost and are expecting lenient enforcement. It is likely that the EU will crack down eventually and will push the GDPR more vigorously, which could impact American companies like Facebook, Google and Apple.
3. The Internet of Things is Vulnerable
The network of devices, home systems, appliances, and vehicles that make up daily life (the Internet of Things) is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. The software and sensors that help integrate these devices into our everyday activities are particularly susceptible to botnet attacks. The consequences of this infiltration into the IOT is largely yet to be seen. It’s possible that it results in widespread distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacks or spamming. Makers of IOT devices are getting wise to the threats and starting to incorporate security features. And the government is getting wise, as well. Multiple arrests have happened in connection to illegal botnet activity.
4. International Bad Actors
State sponsored cyber attacks are on the rise. Little is being done to thwart the efforts of foreign governments to attack other nations’ computer networks, putting power grids and critical infrastructure at risk. While sanctions do help, the heaviest sanctioned states (Iran, China and Russia) have great incentive to continue their attacks and perhaps even escalate them. The answer to this problem will likely be in stronger alliances with international partners, sharing cyber resources and information to inoculate against cyber intruders.
5. A Little Help from Machines
Cyber security is a labor-intensive undertaking with teams of people scanning enormous amounts of information and data. There is a trend toward machine-learning-based tools to assist human workers. While this type of automation can alleviate the workload, it won’t replace people; at least not yet. But over time and with use, the machines will get better at catching attacks.
Cyber security for your company and your personal data has never been more critical. When a company like Uber is breached, its brand is hurt as people lose confidence. Organizations have an opportunity to create better systems with stronger immunity to attacks. Customers will want do business with vigilant companies they can trust. For more information on protecting your business, contact us today.