Worldwide, cases of cyberattacks and data breaches are on the rise. According to a study conducted at the University of Maryland’ Clark School, hackers are trying to break into your internet connected PC at a near-constant rate of every 39 seconds. No one is safe from online threats. Cyberthreats have changed significantly over the past decade. We are no longer dealing with less sophisticated versions of viruses, trojans, and worms.
Newer, More Sophisticated Threats
In a constantly evolving threat landscape, older cybersecurity measures such as detection-based antivirus software are no longer sufficient. Traditional antivirus software can only detect and remove known malware and does not provide protection against emerging, more sophisticated cybersecurity threats.
Here are 5 major cyber risks facing the public in 2020.
1. AI-Enhanced Cyberthreats
Intelligent technologies have disrupted many industries, and the IT security sector has not been spared. AI technology has the potential to take cyberattacks up many notches and cybercriminals are leveraging the tech to enhance attacks. Hackers are using intelligent technologies such as AI and machine learning to launch complex and adaptive cyberattacks. AI makes cybersecurity threats smarter and slows detection and response by your security software significantly.
Cryptocurrencies have introduced a new type of threat in our cyberspace. Cryptojacking uses malicious code that allows cybercriminals to hack into your computer and use it to secretly mine cryptocurrencies. Cryptojacking code works in the background as you continue using your computer normally, most users don’t suspect a thing. Cryptojacking puts your security at risk and can cause major performance issues.
3. IoT Attacks
Projected to hit 75 billion by 2025, the number of connected devices is growing by the day. The Internet of Things (IoT) is an ecosystem of connected devices that include smart home systems, smart TVs, smartphones, etc. These devices were meant to make life more convenient and are not optimized for cybersecurity. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices to steal user data. The growing number of IoT devices heightens the risk of cyberattacks targeting IoT networks.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data, prevents access to your database, holding your files for ransom. In a ransomware attack, hackers basically kidnap your files until you pay a ransom. If you don’t comply, the attackers may delete the data or publish confidential information on public resources such as dark web hacker forums. According to Forbes, there will be a 300% increase in ransomware attacks in 2020.
Last but not least, phishing is one of the biggest cybersecurity threats facing the public in 2020. Phishing utilizes fake websites and emails designed to trick people into sharing confidential information or click on a link/email attachment that installs malware in your network. Phishing attacks have been around for quite some time. Phishing attacks are common and are getting more sophisticated with hackers using AI to create more convincing emails.
How to Secure Your Devices?
Here are top cybersecurity tools you can use to protect yourself from the aforementioned cybersecurity threats.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic to provide privacy and anonymity online. VPN is one of the most effective tools when it comes to online security. This easy-to-use software acts as a middleman between you and the sites you visit, allowing you to browse the internet privately and securely. Downloading a VPN app is easy and installing/setting up the app is a breeze.
In an organization setting, the weakest link in the cybersecurity system is the employees. Social engineering attacks such as phishing, which exploit the human element, are common. Hackers can use sophisticated and often convincing phishing strategies to persuade employees into exposing sensitive company information or trick them into downloading malware into the network. Email security tools can help you identify phishing emails and block them before any damage is done.
In boxing, it’s the punch that you don’t see coming that knocks you out. Similarly, cybersecurity threats that you are not prepared to defend against can cripple your entire system. A vulnerability scanner is a security tool that you can use to evaluate your computer system, pinpoint security holes, and patch them before cybercriminals take advantage. A vulnerability scanner can help you strengthen weaknesses in your network and protect yourself better.
Encryption is one of the most effective techniques when it comes to keeping digital assets stored on the internet or locally via storage devices safe. Encryption software is using cryptography to block unauthorized access to digital information. Encryption software allows you to require a password when accessing digital information stored on hard drives, computers, smartphones, etc. which makes it harder for cybercriminals and other online threats from accessing sensitive information. One of the best examples of encryption is SSL protocol.
Just like antivirus, antimalware is also used to detect, protect against, and remove malicious software from your computer. The difference is that antivirus protects you from classic, more established threats such as viruses, trojans, and worms. Antimalware, on the other hand, focuses on newer, more advanced threats such as ransomware, zero-day exploits, and polymorphic malware. Antimalware is more efficient and effective when it comes to modern cybersecurity threats.
Cybersecurity is one of the biggest problems facing humanity at the moment. The cybersecurity threat landscape is expanding by the day, and we need to do more to protect ourselves. We are dealing with highly advanced threats such as AI-enhanced cyberattacks, IoT attacks, crypto-jacking, ransomware, and phishing. Traditional defense methods such as antivirus are no longer adequate. Cyberthreats are evolving constantly, and so should our cybersecurity protections.