5 Major Cybersecurity Threats to Guard Against This Year

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5 Major Cybersecurity Threats to Guard Against This Year

The past decade has been marked by a distinct uptick in cybersecurity attacks. Rumors that the US election was hacked dominated news cycles for weeks. Ransomware attacks continue to threaten businesses and private organizations around the world. The Equifax breach alone represents the prevalence of potential cybersecurity risks in the modern age. The holistic increase in cybersecurity risks together indicates a rise in digital threats.

Fortunately, you're not without options in the ongoing fight against cybersecurity risks. Reference five of the top potential cybersecurity risks your organization might face below, along with tips for bolstering your security to keep the risks at bay.

1. Threats to IoT (Internet of things)

With the value of real-time data collection rising day by day, individuals and enterprises are increasingly making use of IoT devices. The IoT — or Internet of Things — is the connection of multiple devices in your home or office to the internet. For example, you might use a wireless "smart" speaker with the ability to answer simple questions.

While these devices are certainly useful, they are not always adequately protected. Hence, many are susceptible to hacking. Many modern-day hackers can use "smart" speakers and other devices connected to your IoT as a way to gain entrance into your home or professional network. Once inside of your IoT, they can access your secure data — including your payment information, subscriptions and other personal or sensitive information. If your company's IoT security is breached, you may find that hackers can even gain access to your customers' information. This breach in security can quickly sour relationships between customers and companies, and may make those same customers more hesitant to do business with you in the future.

2. Threat of researchers staying silent on security vulnerabilities

When a threat is found in a security system, it is a researcher’s job to make it public. However, today software manufacturers often silence  researchers with the threat of a lawsuit or future actions against them. Companies often argue that these revelations by researchers will make the software developed by them an easy target for hackers. Due to the fear of legal action, researchers are likely to stay quiet on security matters, which in all likelihood will slow down the evolution of security solutions.

3. Unreasonable expectations

Traditionally, your organization's board members are typically not too concerned with any security requirements. However, the increase in the number of security breaches should signal a change in the way that company executives treat cybersecurity. Emerging threats of highly advanced malware and ransomware have shifted the focus of the boards in a big way. Boards have begun viewing security adeptness as a measure of their progress. While this trend helps to limit cybersecurity threats, it can also lead to unreasonable expectations between company leaders and the IT teams that support them.

This approach is not ideal, as it negates the progress of the company by shifting the focus from progressive tasks to security requirements and management.

4. Natural cybercriminal evolution

Cybercriminals are driven individuals, who constantly improve the quality of their manipulative techniques as a response to growing security measures. In response to new laws and regulations, cybercriminals regularly find ways to sidestep security protocols and access private or sensitive information. To make matters worse, a number of terrorist organizations are seeking gifted hackers who can help them breach virtual infrastructures. Even with updates in the way that companies treat cybersecurity, the threat of cybercriminals and cyberterrorists looms large in the years to come.

5. Threat to the cloud

Given their improvements in security, data access and specific permissions tiers, virtual cloud platforms have become a major solution for organizations considering virtualization as the next step in their development. However, sometimes the same regulations limiting cybersecurity threats can also limit the efficiency at which cloud programs operate. These new regulations can hamper organizations that rely heavily on cloud-based storage and computing.

Countering security threats with trained employees

The world of technology is evolving at an exponential rate, and the threats and opportunities feel bigger than ever. Still, one of the best ways to counter cybersecurity threats is with informed, trained employees. Employees can become cybersecurity experts through a series of relatively simple training programs. Whether this means providing IT security certifications for your current employees or considering IT training as part of your employee onboarding process, you can help keep your company responsible for the data it uses online. Small, active steps toward education can help your organization mitigate cybersecurity risks and keep the future bright.

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