It’s trend season. For another month or so, the web will be populated with articles and blog posts highlighting the top trends in everything from web design to mobile marketing. If you work in IT, operate a business online, or simply spend a lot of time at the computer, you’ll want to stay on top of the trends and threats stirring up chaos on the security front.
1. Exploits of Everything Internet
The Internet of Everything is a gift and a curse in that connecting traditional appliances to the Internet creates both superior convenience and a wider surface to attack. Consumers probably shouldn’t worry too much about having their Android-powered refrigerator or Smart TV hijacked by hackers. However, companies driving smart machine growth should be very concerned. Organizations can lose countless production hours and dollars as cyber criminals transition from attacking servers to targeting autonomous robots, intelligent virtual assistants, and other forms of smart machine technology.
2. Breaching Beyond Credit Card Data
Target and Ebay made the list of 2014’s biggest information security breaches. Credit card numbers are often the prime focus in these sort of heists, but recent trends show that breaches are targeting a broad range of potentially valuable data. In addition to credit card numbers, savvy cyber thieves are going after email addresses, birth dates, registration numbers, and purchase data. By making the right tweaks to the right code, they can create malware that builds individual customers profiles from these stolen details. Now we’re talking about stuff with immense black market value and fuel for identity theft.
3. Email Business Gets Riskier
Yes. Email is still a thing and unfortunately, it’s becoming a bigger and more complex target for digital dirt bags. A few years ago, the enterprise smartened up by investing in content filtering technology that thoroughly scan emails from header to message body to attachments in search of phishy tactics.
2015 will see an increase in more sophisticated email strikes. I’ve already noticed how email scam artists are leaving out the malware and spam to get their foot in the door. Once you whitelist them, they can easily bypass all your filtering mechanisms and launch a relentless assault on your inbox.
4. Attacks at the Source
The open source movement has created huge opportunities for software consumers as well as the IT people who build it. With so much code available, developers are able to grab what they need and quickly crank out new applications and updates without having to build from the ground up. However, a new release doesn’t necessarily mean that every bit of code beneath it is fully secure. In 2015, expect crafty cyber criminals to focus their attention on vulnerable old code in both open source and proprietary software that has yet to be addressed.
5. Cyber Warfare Spills Into Corporate Affairs
The cyber war the U.S. has found itself tangled in goes beyond Sony’s controversial comedy “The Interview”. At the same time, the heavily publicized data breach at Sony Pictures illustrates how corporate America can end up paying for the sins of its homeland. North Korea hasn’t been shy in expressing its disdain for the U.S. and all signs indicate that IT is the most powerful weapon at its disposal. For U.S. enemies, the best way to attack the country may be to dismantle the systems driving its most lucrative industries and economies.
Every year, we are exposed to horror stories telling of how world renowned corporate powerhouses were exposed in massive security breaches. Of course there are countless other incidents involving lesser known companies that don’t make the web newsfeed. You may not necessarily be another statistic due to a lack of notoriety, but your ignorance of emerging IT security threats can make you a victim just the same.
Photo credit: Ervins Strauhmanis via Flickr