The Top Cybersecurity Issues of 2018 by Ellie Martin


Cyber hacking is no longer just a threat for tech companies or large banking firms. Over the last decade we have seen breaching attacks on a wide range of businesses from Target to Equifax. It doesn't stop there however, as many different types of businesses are hit regardless of their size. In the recent years we have seen the rise of ransomware, a type of malware that steals your data and then coerces a payment from you so that you may retrieve your data.

There has also been a proliferation in the use of Powershell attacks that use basic scripting to breach your security firewalls and collect information easily. The ransomware industry alone did over a billion dollars in business and hacking is now a legitimate form of business for most of the world’s criminals. The year 2017 saw hacking attempts on over 50% of all businesses in the world. While that number is staggering, it is only expected to increase in the years to come.

This puts a lot of pressure on business owners, as well as workers, to create systems that can secure their information so that they are not completely destroyed by an effective hack. The cybersecurity industry is working non-stop to create artificial intelligence that can detect and destroy malware attempts before they infect a business. That is not all, however, as computer programming sees a consistent rise in popularity then the amount of cyber attacks will also increase. Digital threats are also seen as an international threat as individuals can attack a business from anywhere in the world. This is why it is important to become educated about the different cybersecurity problems of the future.

We will see the rise of ransomware attacks as more and more individuals learn how to create exploits and hacking software. There are businesses overseas that only participate in brute force attacks that leave a company's website vulnerable to infection. When that company does consumer transactions online then the hackers have access to whatever information is inputted through the website. This means that millions of credit card transactions can be seized and used fraudulently in an attempt to steal as much money as possible. These are, in a way, the new bank robbers of the 21st Century.

The biggest issue here is that there is little to do about it once the information is stolen so a company must do everything they can to prevent such an attack. This means safeguarding everything and putting firewalls up wherever they can. Locking down the consumer side of the site is important but the company's intranet is just as important. We have seen a large increase in the amount of breaches that a company of considerable size suffers on a daily basis. There is also an increasing trend in firewall hacking with the goal of reaching an intranet and stealing data. Usually, this data is then collected and priced to sell back to the company. Ransomware will continue to rise in the near future as the exploits are evolving at an incredibly fast rate. You’ll need experienced software consultants who specialize in cyber security to make sure those technical exploits aren’t there.

This also leads to more traditional means of hacking such as social exploitation. This should be a major concern for all business owners and employees. Illegal access to an intranet through an authorized user can do more damage than just about any hacking attempt. It is going to be very important, in 2018, to educate yourself and everyone you know about safe practices with sensitive information. There will be no more sticky notes on monitors and no more sustained logins.

The physical computers should have their file systems encrypted along with their ports and CD drives. This will be important as social exploitation will become one of the largest breaching methods. Someone can wait outside of a business and hand out CDs or purposely place USB drives on the ground to take advantage of a person's natural curiosity. As soon as that employee gives into that sensation the hacker will then have complete access to a business's intranet without anything to stop them. This type of attack is most devastating as the system never registers that there is a problem. This can cause the most amount of damage in the shortest amount of time. That is why it is absolutely imperative that you educate yourself and stay vigilant. In the digital world it is important to trust only those you recognize and yourself. Cybersecurity can only get better if we get better ourselves.

February 23, 2018
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