Prepare For 2020 Cybersecurity Cold War

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One of the leading providers of cybersecurity solutions worldwide, Check Point Software Technologies, released what they think is a 2020 cybersecurity cold war brewing and what that might involve. What they came up with is a shortlist of the possible major cybersecurity events and developments they anticipate will have a serious impact on businesses and entire societies around the globe. This is closely related to this other piece we published relating to 2020 predictions and warnings, to note.

As billions of digital devices are connected worldwide, adversaries are given more and more opportunities to shape entire societies and rules to their advantage through cyberwarfare. This can’t be ignored, regardless of your location, your business shape and size, or any other details. If you’re connected to the internet, this no doubt affects YOU.

Our goal has always been to provide you with the info that will make a positive impact on your business and your personal life as well. We chose to share notes from Check Point’s press release in our recent client newsletter and via our blog here because we know it could be game-changing for most if not all of you in terms of what’s to come in the digital universe of 2020.

2020 Technical Trends

Here are some of the major high-level trend predictions for the technical side of cybersecurity in 2020, as suggested by Check Point:

Informed attacks

In 2019 we saw attacks using exploitation in ransomware scenarios become more and more targeted and calculated. Criminals spend more time than ever before qualifying and then acutely identifying victims and knowing their targets. Doing this can help ensure that their attack follows through with minimal interruption.

IoT and 5G security complexities

With 5G making its appearance, connected devices in businesses and homes will accelerate continually and network vulnerabilities will be in trouble. When IoT devices are connected to networks and cloud services, there is likely a weak link along the chain somewhere and criminals hope to find those! Without a holistic approach to IoT security, one that incorporates both traditional and revised controls to take these new forms of connectivity into consideration, you and your business are no doubt put at risk more and more with each device and service added to the mix.

Gadgets are emerging left and right that can make your home or office space “smarter” and seemingly more efficient, but it is your responsibility to understand and learn how you can secure these connections. Wearable devices are important to secure as well! Seek help if you’re unsure of how to lock down components of your network and your life that could be putting you and your business at high risk.

Phishing beyond email

Email is still the number 1 vector for cyber attacking using phishing, but there are other ways that criminals are getting your personal identifying info, getting your credentials, and/or stealing your assets. Things like text messaging phishing, mobile game phishing ads, or use of social media direct messaging have all come into play and will continue to wreak havoc.

If you do not recognize a number or sender, be extremely cautious about that interaction. Whether it be a phone call, a text, or otherwise, your connection with a scammer will immediately put all of the contents of your device at risk. In addition to that, you jeopardize all of the connections that those contents have, like your cloud services. When in doubt, do NOT answer or respond.
If you can, report the phishing to your service provider. Better yet, your IT advisor so you can come up with a plan to equip you and your entire staff with the skills and tools to fend off these sorts of attacks.

Mobile malware

Speaking of mobile attacks, in 2019 there was an increase in mobile banking attacks, specifically. Knowing that they can get their hands on payment data, credentials, and direct access to funds makes banking apps especially attractive to the bad guys. That said, this is no surprise. Mobile malware can come from infected apps you get from third-party app developers, online ads infected and seen on otherwise legitimate apps or sites, scams where you click on a dummy page and get redirected to a scam site, or even direct loaded malware if you blindly gave an app access to the device to download or sideload things.

Look for common symptoms of mobile malware:
– Battery draining really fast
– Tons of pop-up ads
– Apps you don’t remember downloading
– Unexplained charges on your bill

As with other forms of malware, the supreme solution is PREVENTION. Avoid apps from third parties, as opposed to authorized developers via the app store. Read reviews of apps before downloading them. Make sure that if you’re on an Android you uncheck the “Install from Unknown Sources” option. Make sure you keep your operating system up to date so important security patches are always in place. Also, make sure you regularly review your app permissions (including location services and camera access!).

3 Major Global Predictions

A new cybersecurity cold war emerging

Western and Eastern powers are more and more at odds with regard to intelligence and technology, and the entire internet is affected by that. A good example of this is the trade war between the United States and China, which in turn is decoupling our respective large economies. In addition, we’re seeing that bigger nations are starting to extend their reach by fueling conflict with smaller countries and areas.

Fake news

In 2016 there was an unprecedented amount of fake news circulating, and much of it was involving machine-generated alterations of messaging. There’s no denying that we’ll encounter news stories designed to undermine support for candidates across the board. Special teams create and propagate all sorts of false images and claims. It could get very ugly (again).

Utilities and infrastructure under attack

We have seen cyberattacks before when it comes to things like power plants and water sources, and threats to these sources are likely to continue with even more momentum. Upgrading technology for utility companies often means downtime or interruptions. Instead of taking that risk, these companies often operate with outdated tech. As we’ve discussed in various contexts, this makes any business considerably more vulnerable to operational issues as well as the more obvious open doors for cybercrime. On top of this, the amount of reach that these companies have can be extremely threatening to entire service areas.

The Long And Short Of It

As we increasingly rely on the always-on connections we have begun to expect everywhere we go, more opportunities are generated those influence outcomes of society. Whether it be a political influence, utility disruption, or wreaking havoc on businesses, the world is ripe with threats that continue to get more complex and multi-faceted.

As a business owner or IT manager, you absolutely cannot solely rely on your traditional protections and detection techniques to stay safe. Your entire systems, staff, and the tools you use all need to be in sync to build the moat of prevention and vigilance around your business.

Protect the livelihood of yourself, your families, your people, and your company with a strategic plan to combat the cybersecurity cold war potential we covered above. We’ll help you build your roadmap and stay ahead of the threats landscape.
Get in touch with us today!

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