In Part 1 and Part 2 of the 2019 Cyber Security planning series, we looked at the evolution of technology and the future of cybersecurity defense systems. There has been a steady evolution of defense options to curtail the rising efforts to commit cybercrimes. In this segment, we look at emerging and enhanced threats moving forward.
Four Primary Cyber Security Risk Areas For 2019
Cybersecurity preparedness relies on year-over-year planning and strategic implementation. That means corporate decision-makers must cull together key staff members who include IT support team leaders, department heads and primary stakeholders. Determined preparation for 2019 relies on a rich, interdepartmental understanding of company goals, system needs and actionable knowledge of cybersecurity policy and protocols.
Knowledge equals power in the cybersecurity sector and arming employees with information about how and why measures are taken to protect vital information remains job one. That being said these rank among the biggest anticipated threats facing companies in 2019.
Ransomware Expected To Thrive In 2019
Cybercriminals have steadily made a shift away from direct systems hacks and are more inclined to plant encrypted files that take over a company’s data and require payment to send a code to unlock them. The FBI reportedly claims that upwards of 4,000 ransomware attacks are carried out every day. That figure is expected to escalate in the coming years.
Most ransomware attacks are conducted by prompting a user to inadvertently click on a malicious link or website that results in infection. Although only a fraction of ransomware incursions are reported, cybercriminals generally ask for $200 to $3,000 in bitcoin payments to send a cure. These are some of the ways an IT support team can mitigate ransomware attacks.
- Incident Plan: Create an actionable ransomware protocol that employees can initiate in the event of an infection.
- Critical Backup: Allow for multiple backup iterations of data in secure system locations.
- Anti-Virus: Maintain cutting-edge preventative antivirus programs and conduct timely system scans.
- Restrict Internet: Ransomware attacks commonly occur by employees visiting unsecured sites and opening spam emails. Each workstation requires appropriate restrictions.
Third-Party Risk Heightens In 2019
Consider for a moment that more than half of all breaches are initiated through third-parties, often vendors. Organizations generally have hundreds of business partners on a variety of levels. Many of these enjoy daily engagement through electronics and direct links to an outfit’s systems. From ordering products to pay invoices to basic communication, there could be thousands of points of contact between your servers and third-parties.
Moving forward, hackers will be increasingly targeting vulnerable systems to steal sensitive information to sell or ransom. Companies that do not secure their data at a high level can act as a backdoor into other servers. Once today’s hacker has infiltrated one of your vendors, they can email ransomware and other infections programs undetected. Cyber theft efforts are more likely to be successful because employees open vendor communications with confidence. These are some of the key steps organizations may want to consider for 2019.
- Personnel Changes: Work with business partners to communicate staff turnover and take cybersecurity measures to prevent technology access after departure.
- IT Glitches: Monitor systems appropriately and avoid support gaps.
- Share Responsibility: Develop an agreed upon cybersecurity policy and protocol with vendors and other third-parties to minimize potential cross-company breaches.
Terminate BYOD Policies In 2019
We are all well aware of the headlines regarding high-ranking government officials using personal devices. In many instances, the federal government considers using a personal electronic device for work purposes a direct and discernable security threat. Despite that glaring warning, the number of companies that allow employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has grown exponentially in the last few years.
The convenience of a values staff member having tangible connectivity 24-7 seems to outweigh any risk. In the past, this policy may not have brought about a negative result. But cybercriminals are well aware that an employee Smartphone is now a doorway into a company’s system.
What makes BYOD even more problematic moving forward is that an average of 22 percent of workers misplaces their electronic device. Compounding that misstep, only about 35 percent use a password or PIN to secure it. This vulnerability does not even account for purposeful theft of a staff member’s device. Businesses would be wise to change course on the BYOD practice in 2019 by taking the following steps.
- Stop: End the practice of BYOD entirely.
- Company Only Devices: Issue secured company devices that are maintained by the IT support team.
Common Cyber Security Threats Expected To Increase In 2019
Cybersecurity breaches have proven to be costly for companies and organizations in every sector. The loss of time, productivity, and damage to reputation are exponentially expensive. Many of the seemingly low-level nuisances are expected to become high-level threats in the coming years. Decision-makers would do well to address these issues with the same determination as others in 2019.
- Flawed Software: Glitchy programs are emerging as a gaping hole for hackers to infiltrate otherwise secure systems. It’s imperative that all applications are patches and updated accordingly. Outdated programs should be promptly removed.
- Phishing: A reported 76 percent of all businesses are the target of phishing ploys at some point. It’s imperative outfits train employees to recognize and alert the IT support team when suspicious emails are received. Phishing scams are expected to become more sophisticated moving forward.
- Update Passwords: The lack of complex passwords has lured hackers to attempt to breach systems through staff logins. It’s crucial to plan routine password changes at set times during 2019. Company systems should also require passwords to include at least one number and one symbol.
Cornerstones Of 2019 Cyber Security Planning
It takes strong cyber Security planning to minimize the growing threats to innovation, productivity, and profitability. With hackers using every conceivable means to gain access to critical data, it’s easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees. In terms of planning cybersecurity in 2019, an organization’s leadership team would be wise to consider their efforts under these four foundational ideas.
- Deter Threats: Consider a 2019 cybersecurity plan in term of its potential success at avoiding data and systems breaches. Ask the simple question: How does this policy or protocol make hacking more difficult?
- Protection: When implementing a 2019 cybersecurity plan, it should serve to insulate systems, infrastructure, components and data from intrusion. Does the plan effectively achieve these goals?
- Detection: Thwarting a data or systems breach often begins by recognizing the imminent threat. Each facet of the cybersecurity plan should include measures of detection.
- Adaptability: Each year, companies across the world take strategic measures to stop cybercriminals from negatively impacting their organization. Each year, hackers counter IT support strategies to commit crimes. A well-conceived cybersecurity action plan should include ongoing oversight, articulate new and emerging threats and have the agility to withstand them and make necessary changes.
It’s essential for an organization to understand cybersecurity as a process. Cybercriminals are continually looking for creative ways to steal valuable data, and industry leaders are tasked with ongoing cybersecurity planning.