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5 Cyber Security Threats for Businesses in 2019

Barjunaid Cadir

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5 Cyber Security Threats for Businesses in 2019

The cybersecurity ecosystem is evolving at an astonishing rate.

As the security industry grows and businesses are starting to invest more in their online data protection, the cyber underground is also changing.

In 2018, we saw the rise of new cybercrimes, as well as greater collaboration between online hackers.

In 2019, these problems will only escalate, making it more difficult for businesses to effectively identify and respond to cyber attacks.

So, what are the major cybersecurity threats we will face in 2019?

AI Triggers the Evolution of Sophisticated Cyberattacks

In 2019 the alliances between cybercriminals will grow stronger. Working together, they will be able to come up with even more sophisticated hacking tactics. For your business, this means fighting against highly intuitive software pieces that are easy to launch and yet, almost impossible to identify.  

Artificial intelligence allows hackers to improve their attacks, bypass security measures, and steal your vital data with ease.

Here are a few types of malware that dominated 2018 and that are expected to evolve even more in 2019:

  • Cryptojacking attacks, where a hacker uses a victim’s computer to mine cryptocurrencies. Stats say that, in 2018, the crypto mining attacks skyrocketed by almost 1000%.
  • Exploit kits are cybercriminals’ toolkits that let them identify the vulnerabilities in your cybersecurity systems and use them to exploit your data.
  • Botnets represent a group of computers working together to perform a certain task. Sometimes, a botnet can infect your systems directly, send spam, etc. However, sometimes it works as a spider, striving to make you a part of its web. By fooling you to install a virus, a hacker can have full control of your business’ computers, tablets, phones, and other devices.

The Rise of Synchronous Cyberattacks

Traditionally, cybercriminals focused on just one hacking method, like ransomware, phishing emails, or crypto jacking. However, as cybersecurity systems businesses apply are now stronger than ever, the hacker’s success rates are minimized.

Precisely because of that, they’ve taken their cyber attacks to a whole new level- instead of just one threat, they’re using multiple attacks to get their work done. These threats work together synergistically, making it more difficult for a victim to detect and mitigate the attack.

That’s why you need to be more creative when approaching your cybersecurity efforts. For example, when attacked, you shouldn’t focus solely on the diagnosis and the identification of the attack. This would only distract you from observing the big picture and preventing your business from further damages.

This also applies to prevent future attacks. You should take a more holistic approach to cybersecurity. Here is what to keep in mind:

  • Choose a comprehensive firewall hardware option that can protect you against different types of threats. Such solutions provide you with real-time detection, rapid response, as well as recognize and mitigate different online attacks, be they internal or external.
  • Develop policies for your employees. Educate them regularly about different types of cybercrime and about the steps to take when a cyber attack occurs.
  • Beef up your passwords. Choose strong and unique passwords and even use two-factor authentication.
  • Run thorough scans and try to identify the major holes in your cybersecurity systems.
  • Invest in a reliable CDN to protect your servers against unwanted traffic and mitigate DDoS hacks.

Voice-Powered Digital Assistants are a New Victim of IoT Attacks

With the rise of AI and wearable technologies, the number of voice-controlled assistant users has also grown. Even though this market is relatively new and it’s still taking shape, many businesses have started implementing it with their everyday activities. The business benefits of investing in these technologies are multiple, from increasing the overall employee productivity levels to helping you deliver faster and personalized customer experiences.

As the security features and the data privacy are still a concern for voice assistant users, cybercriminals will see it as an opportunity to control your office devices and corporate data. Now, we already had an opportunity to see how IoT botnets work. Botnets like the 2017 IoT Reaper or the 2016 Mirai Bonet infected millions of networks by leveraging the vulnerabilities in different IoT devices.

In 2019, smartphones and tablets are expected to be the key vectors for hacking IoT devices. By infecting a smartphone, hackers can crack your passwords and control your IoT devices without getting noticed. Namely, as the network traffic comes from a reliable device (your smartphone), your security software and voice assistants may not recognize these attacks as suspicious.

The Cloud Ecosystem Becomes More Vulnerable

The number of businesses switching to Software-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service cloud models has grown. Even though this is a great opportunity to centralize their business operations, improve employee communication, and grow the overall performance, the cloud also makes your corporate data more exposed. Given that, we can expect significant growth of cyber attacks in cloud computing in 2019.

And, as the cybersecurity measures are constantly getting improved, cybercriminals also use sophisticated methods of targeting, such as the exfiltration of data in cloud databases or cloud-native man-in-the-middle hacks.

Social Media is Used to Spread Misinformation

As social media companies are investing more in cybersecurity and businesses are starting to take their online data more seriously, hackers also needed to rethink their strategies.

Let’s look at the botnet accounts they use. In the past, these were easy to recognize and eliminate. Today, on the other hand, they seem more natural and legitimate than ever. This will lead to the notable rise of misinformation social media campaigns in 2019.

The idea behind using social media for harassment campaigns against popular brands is simple. Hackers use battalions of bots to spread fake news, deliver messages, and sparkle online debates on some critical issues. Being able to manipulate users’ opinions, they can ruin your brand image.

The use of botnets goes far beyond just piling information. They can be used to has a bunch of connected devices like routers, webcams, hardware devices- anything that is connected to the internet. Once they collect enough bots, hackers can use them to flood your site with different traffic sources and information until it stops responding.

Sure, knowing that many big brands are ready to pay just to ensure their online reputation remains untouched, cybercriminals will use the abovementioned tactics to extort them.

Over to You

Just like I’ve already mentioned above, things are getting more complex in 2019. When designing your cybersecurity policy and choosing the right software, always remember that a single phishing attack may trigger a series of additional, more serious attacks and hurt your business’ performance on multiple levels. This is why you need to approach your cyberdefense more strategically and always look at the big picture.

Hope these trends will help you prepare for new cybersecurity challenges in 2019!

Barjunaid Cadir is a Content Writer in The Weekly Trends, Web Developer, SEO Content Manager, LinkedIn Specialist, Social Media Manager, and a University Researcher at Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey.

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