Security Threats to be aware of in 2015

Stopping Viruses and Threats

IT security was all over the news back in 2014. It seemed you couldn’t open a newspaper or turn on the TV without hearing another story about online threats, cryptolocker viruses, and data breaches. Indeed, one of the year’s biggest media stories was about Sony Pictures being hacked, supposedly by North Korean agents, in an attack that saw sensitive data stolen and disseminated.

All this means that concerns over security for anyone who uses computers, the cloud or has any sort of online presence is firmly in the spotlight. This awareness really is a good thing; you can never be too careful about protecting your networks and ensuring your data is safe from attack and prying eyes.

One thing’s for sure hackers, malware programmers and phishers aren’t giving us a break in 2015.  The threats we face, whether as small business owners or individuals, will continue to increase. You can make sure you’re protecting yourself by educating yourself about this year’s security trends. Let’s take a look at the latest security threats currently waiting in the wings.

Malware takes on a new role

Malware is not just something that can hijack your computer, foist unwanted programs on you, or track your every online move.  It is increasingly being used as a weapon of war, with many online criminals using it to scope out your technology environment in order to more effectively pinpoint your weak spots. Learning the ins and outs of your defence means that attackers can get to know more about your business’s vulnerabilities, and how to exploit them, than ever before.

Get clever about threat intelligence

Activity centred around threat intelligence is slated to grow this year.  Experts are stating that business owners and IT managers will need to take the ‘intelligence factor’ into consideration when implementing security solutions. Businesses need to adopt a far more defensive stance, fine tune protective measures and utilise threat intelligence providers to provide customised data streams based on their organisation. Employing threat intelligence tactics means deploying a strategy that helps you find out who sees your business as an easy target, and their commonly chosen methods of attack.

Cyber offence is the new cyber defence

It is no longer enough for businesses to hope that their antivirus program, firewall and updated security patches are adequate in keeping them safe. Hacking is no longer the preserve of the archetypal nerd alone with his computer in a darkened bedroom. It is a multi-billion dollar industry that covers everything from online organised crime and international espionage to activists and those with a serious axe to grind. Analytics and hardware intelligence will soon be employed, even by smaller organisations, to create systems that not just fend off attackers but that will identify, repel and even help prosecute them.

Mobile malware gets serious

Up until now, malware that targets our mobile devices has, thankfully, not caused too many problems. However, that is all set to change and as we increasingly shift our browsing to mobile platforms. Hackers are already working out how they can turn our dependence on our smartphones and tablets into a lucrative business. Ransomware can already hijack a PC and hold it hostage until the user pays for a decryption code.  We can expect to look forward to similar attacks on our phones in the not-too-distance future.

BYOD isn’t going anywhere

Bring Your Own Device is the latest trend among increasingly tech savvy – and mobile – employees. Staff at all levels are now using their personal smartphones, tablets and laptops plus various cloud-based storage and work or lifestyle applications at work. While this may be great for productivity, mobility and connectability, the security front is not looking quite so rosy. Frighteningly few enterprises have implemented policies to deal with the dangers of BYOD.  This includes

  • device mismanagement or loss,
  • a blurring of the boundaries between personal and work data,
  • exposure to information theft, or
  • system attack due to the use of unsecured apps.

A health scare for healthcare?

Except for the financial industry, it’s hard to think of another sector that is as vulnerable to attack as healthcare. The sheer amount of personal data held by hospitals and medical practices makes them prime target for cyber criminals. Many in the industry are struggling to update, move to paperless practices AND comply with industry regulations.  This usually means that their guard is down and resources are being spent in other areas. For these reasons, 2015 is expected to see a surge in activity against organisations in healthcare.

Protect your data from future network attacks

This is by no means an exhaustive list of security threats that businesses of all sizes should be aware of. Predictions show that strategic network investments will be the top priority in 2015 for companies trying to protect their data against future network attacks. Investing in your network now will help prevent your organisation from becoming a statistic in the near future.

Whether you’d like to discuss your current security posture with us, you’re worried about how BYOD could affect your organisation or you’d like to discuss any aspect of online or network security, get in touch with Empower IT Solutions today.