* More connected devices = higher chances of attacks
* Budget cuts in companies compromises security
* Security departments more complex, less effective
2016 saw some of the biggest and most dangerous hacks and cyber security leaks, resulting in more than two billion out of the 2.3 billion internet users around the world being exposed to online offenses and fraud.
Averaging numbers from several reports and studies, including those by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Cisco and others, showed that this number is not about to decrease.
Moreover, throughout 2016, hacking became more “corporate”, according to the Cisco 2017 Annual Cybersecurity Report. Last year saw some of the worst security breaches in history, with a rising number of attacks on big firms and public organisations, including Yahoo, Tumblr and LinkedIn, among others.
As a consequence, the private information of victim users on these websites and apps was leaked. The info included names, email addresses, passwords, phone numbers, banking details and more. For the firms, this led to profit loss and reputational risk.
Despite improving defence technologies and processes, here’s why one should be even more careful this year:
We are more connected
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the increasing usage of connected gadgets only mean we are more connected than ever. This ultimately allows hackers and cyber criminals more access to our daily and personal lives, making us more of a target.
Budget constraints in many organisations directly threaten their fight against cyber threats, because with slashed budgets come poor compatibility of systems and a lack of trained talent, all of which form some of the biggest barriers to advancing security, according to the Cisco report.
According to Cisco analysts, security departments in many organisations have become too complex, with 65 per cent of them using between six to more than 50 different security products, potentially increasing security ineffectiveness and allowing gaps to arise.
Return of classic attacks
Data shows that cyber criminals are returning to the more “classic” attack vectors, such as adware or email spam, which the latter resurfacing now for the first time in such a big way since 2010 – which unfortunately means such methods have only become more tailored and harder to detect.
Spam represents nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of email attacks, with eight to ten per cent cited as malicious. Global spam volume is rising, often spread by large and thriving botnets, according to Cisco.
There are many good practices individuals can engage in to avoid, as much as possible, a potential hack into their system and data. These include simple yet habitual practices, such as constantly changing passwords, regularly backing up data, separating data and managing passwords, among others.