Stay secure online in 2019
(Last Updated On: April 29, 2019)

 

It is mind-blowing how much we depend on technology to function in our everyday lives. It is not just as individuals. Banks, hospitals, schools, the military and even the government are heavily reliant on technology. This dependency on technology to facilitate the storing, retrieval, distribution and processing of sensitive data, is what makes it such a huge target for hackers and other malicious individuals.

This is why it is essential to be aware of potential cyber threats in order to protect systems, businesses and lives.

 

What are cyber threats?

A cyber threat refers to a malicious attempt to breach security, disrupting the digital life of a computer network or system by stealing and damaging data. Some cyber-attacks can be serious enough to threaten human life.

It is important to be aware of impending threats in an effort to prevent them from turning into attacks.

 

Cyber Threats to look out for in 2019

The probability of being the victim of cybercrime has grown significantly with the evolution of technology and countless cybersecurity threats.  These threats can come in the form of malware, phishing, and cryptojacking.

Here are some threats to watch out for this year.

Phishing

Phishing is one of the most basic types of cyberattacks. It is typically a link sent to your email. But it is more dangerous than you think. Once you click phishing links, they download and install malware on your computer or expose your sensitive information.

By clicking on these digital messages, you can compromise your organisation’s networks.

Hackers use phishing to steal information such as your user logins, which gives them access to other private and financial information on your database.

Be on the guard for suspicious links and if you are not sure of its authenticity, don’t open it. Also, ensure you use a secure website (https), especially when you are using sensitive data, such as your banking information.

 

Cryptojacking

Over the past few years, cryptocurrency has been gaining traction. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is a digitally encrypted legal tender. Its encoded features facilitate the regulation of currency and transferal of funds, without using a bank.

As cryptocurrency gets more popular, so does Cryptojacking. Cryptojacking happens when cyber criminals take over your home or work computers to search for cryptocurrency.  When they find it, they secretly attach themselves to your systems.

However, unlike other malware, cryptojacking does not damage your computers or data. It simply steals your CPU processing resources.

Invest in a security software that is up to date and efficient to help protect you for possible cryptojacking threats. You can also install ad-blocking extensions for additional protection.

 

Ransomware Strategies

This is one of the most costly cyber threats. Ransomware attackers use technologies, to steal an individual or organisation’s, databases.  These attackers offer to return the information in exchange for a payoff.

Ransomware is becoming more popular with the rise of cryptocurrencies, which allows you to make anonymous payment.

Be vigilant and update security software frequently. Also, do not click on links and attachments that are unfamiliar or suspicious.

 

State Sponsored Cyber Attacks

Individuals and organisations in the private sector are not the only ones targeted by cybercrimes. There are also targeted attacks on governments and entire countries as well.  Sometimes these attacks come directly from other countries.

Nations around the globe store critical, health, education, military and life-altering information on the web.  Cyberspace has its vulnerabilities and countries can suffer from attacks that can affect numerous sectors.

State-sponsored attacks occur when countries infiltrate other nations virtually in an attempt to disrupt, steal or manipulate their government or other systems. This way they can influence a country’s military, nuclear weapon and other sensitive information that can affect the lives of citizens.

As a defence, several nations have already invested in first-class cybersecurity systems to prevent and/ or remedy attacks.

 

IoT cybercrimes

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of all devices connected through the Internet. This includes laptops, smart watches, routers, household appliances, home security systems, webcams, medical devices, and automobiles. It’s no surprise that IoT connection is projected to continue its upward trend in 2019.

These connections are efficient for customers and business. It makes it easier for companies to save money as it provides a simple and efficient way to gather analytical data for targeted marketing.

However, this is also what makes IoT networks prone to cyber invasions and infections. The growing number of connected devices significantly increases this risk of attacks. By evaluating security at every level of each device, you will be better able to secure your information.

Since hackers are always finding new ways to exploit systems, your job is to continuously update and manage your security.

 

Data Breach

Over last couple of years, there have been several frequent news stories on data breaches. A data breach happens when confidential information is illegally accessed and released.

Data breaches can damage the reputation business and even result in the loss of lives of individuals.

In an era where information resides mostly in cyberspace, online security threats are not going anywhere. It is your job to be vigilant in putting systems in place to protect your information.

You can start by creating strong complex passwords for your online accounts. You can also purchase and install security software.

 

Cloud Abuse

We have surely come a long way. From huge processors and diskettes to USB drives and memory cards. Today we don’t even need a physical device. Now, we have cloud storage.

Cloud storage refers to a digital system that allows individuals and businesses to securely store information online. This information spans multiple servers around the world.

This is very efficient and makes it possible to view your data from anywhere in the world, as long as you have access to the internet. It is also a great way to backup and recovery information.

Incidentally, this is where the vulnerability comes in. Cybercriminals can break into your cloud storage gaining access to your data, which they either expose or offer to return in an exchange for a ransom.

To remedy that, you need to be meticulous when it comes to choosing a cloud provider. Also back up your information offline.

Conclusion

The threat of cybercrimes is expected to evolve and grow because of continuous technological advancements.

Therefore, individuals and businesses must be vigilant is securing their information in cyberspace. Be sure to back up your files offline as much as possible. Also monitor your websites, be mindful of harmful links and malware, and stay current on new cyber threats while investing in security software to prevent and/or remedy an attack.