Your business is always at risk from newly emerging security threats making cyber security a constant business priority. It’s never a case of one-and-done if you want to keep your business safe.
Our increasingly connected lives make us vulnerable to cyber attack, and as more and more devices connect to the internet so new avenues of attack emerge for hackers to exploit and for the IT security industry to shore up.
So what are the latest emerging security threats?
It’s no longer solely our PCs at risk. The rise of the smartphone – globally today there are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions globally, a figure which is forecast to rise to 6.1 billion in 2020 – has also led to a huge growth in mobile malware, the vast majority of it (97 percent) on Android.
Spread through email attachments and infected websites, ransomware is a growing problem.
Criminals lock a victim’s screen or encrypt their files, in effect holding the device to ransom. Victims then have to pay to get the key they need to decrypt their files (or unlock the screen). Often the criminal will return the use of the device once the ransom is paid, but occasionally they will not, leaving the device virtually unusable. (This is just one reason why regular back ups are so important.)
Added to that, Symantec says that ransomware on Android is shaping up to be one of the most troubling forms of malware.
All this makes mobile potentially the weakest link in a company’s network security, something to chew over for those IT managers who already have or are considering a bring-your-own-device policy.
The Internet of Things
There will be 4.9 billion connected ‘things’ in use this year, according to analyst house Gartner, a figure that will reach 25 billion in another five years. This encompasses a broad spread of devices: anything from home thermostats, smart TVs, car systems, smart watches, heart monitor implants, infrastructure control systems – it’s anything which can be assigned an IP address and transmit data over a network.
Doubtless you’ve read about the researchers who remotely took control of a car doing 70 mph on a US highway or that doctors treating former US vice president Dick Cheney decided to disable the wireless capabilities of his pacemaker to thwart possible assassination attempts.
As more and more devices connect to the Internet so more avenues of attack and potential sabotage open up, making the IoT one of the biggest emerging security threats businesses, individuals and governments face.
A recent report from Intel Security warns that it’s ‘only a matter of time until IoT device threats are widespread. Attackers are not after the devices themselves, but the data or gateway capability that they enable – [they] want the easiest way in, and these devices often provide under-defended access to target-rich networks’.
This may all seem very unnerving, but as ever, awareness is the best defence. Keep your anti virus, your server software, your applications and your operating systems up to date and patched.
Once you’ve covered the basics, thorough procedures and regular reviews, together with up-to-date information on the latest emerging security threats, provide the most effective safeguard against any malicious attack.