Future Impacts of Cybersecurity Threats on Businesses

August 4th, 2016 | IT Security

In 2014, 71% of organizations reported having been affected by a cybersecurity attack. Phishing and malware scams have proven to be two of the top threats impelling businesses to attempt to safeguard their network security. The methods hackers are using to fool victims into doing things such as clicking on a malicious link or downloading fake software are becoming increasingly difficult to identify as threats. As 2016 commences, businesses will be required to reevaluate their network security protocols and make changes to suit the evolution of technology and cybercrime. The following sections outline a few of the main problems companies will encounter when assessing their security capabilities for the future.

End-user education and cybersecurity threat vulnerabilities

End-user education has become a primary focus for businesses trying to control cyber threats as hackers continue to use social engineering to blindside users. In addition, experts say the method of personally targeting victims with scams tailored to their online presence will become increasingly popular. As a result, businesses must provide thorough end-user education to their staff on identifying such attempts. Employees are often a company’s most significant security risk. In today’s technology climate of rapid development and continuous change, hackers are given new ways to target and profit from an organization’s network every day. A business can spend thousands of dollars implementing technical security measures. Still, with one click, an employee can allow a hacker to bypass those defenses, paving the way for a network compromise despite the company’s efforts. Typically, a business has several security procedures that specify how employees are to use their devices and browse the Internet. Most users are already wary of scam attempts such as emails claiming they have won a million dollars or phone calls saying they have been selected as a finalist to be on television. However, hackers have harnessed the power of social media to engineer customized methods for misleading users. Phishing emails, malicious phone calls, and fake applications are just a few of the ways cybercriminals have targeted organizations and their staff. For example, an office administrator may receive an email that appears to be from the CEO of the company asking for money to be wired to a particular location. The CEO may be on a business trip, and the context of the request may align with business activities, helping to disguise the scam as a legitimate request. Such scams can be elusive as the email addresses, logos, and employee roles the scammer utilized may fit the company. However, grammar errors, spelling mistakes, or outdated branding materials can help reveal a hacker before gaining access to an organization’s systems.

IT resources and skills gap

Hyperconnectivity is already presenting a challenge to businesses trying to secure their networks. As cyberattacks become more sophisticated, companies will need to employ information security professionals with the knowledge and capabilities to keep pace with hackers. A business may have technical support capable of installing firewalls or updating software. Still, there will be a growing necessity for IT professionals who can align cybersecurity with business development. Such individuals will need to be capable of managing a breach and evaluating and understanding what went wrong so they can develop a suitable IT strategy for the future of the organization. In addition, a company should assess the knowledge and skills of its technology resources to determine its ability to take advantage of innovative tools while maintaining stringent security.

IoT security strategies

IoT devices have been primarily experimental in the past, but as this technology sector develops, so will its use in business. For example, smartwatches are predicted to become further integrated into enterprise operations as developers design more process-friendly platforms to host business applications. When such products were being designed, manufacturers were often rushing to distribute the new technology and did not consider the extensive security risks entailed. The increasing use of IoT devices in organizations worldwide will prompt developers to integrate more advanced defense mechanisms and require businesses to design device management and use protocols to address evolving security threats. Consumers have already begun to experience the integration of IoT devices into their daily lives as cars, wearable devices, household appliances, televisions, and more become interconnected. Hackers are eager to exploit these interdependencies. For example, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek received a significant amount of attention in the summer of 2013 for their successful remote hacking of two vehicles using their laptops. In 2015, the two security engineers were able to take control of their friend’s Jeep Cherokee as it was being driven on the highway. Miller and Valasek completed this while using their laptops and sitting on their couch at home. While people may not be concerned about hackers infiltrating their IoT refrigerator or toaster, losing control of a vehicle elicits more significant concern, and law enforcement officials have already begun to encounter such crimes in the real world. The Houston Police Department recently posted a YouTube video that shows two suspects within 12 minutes shutting off the alarm of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and successfully reversing the vehicle out of the driveway via a laptop. Features consumers generally consider harmless, like Bluetooth radio, wireless Internet, and even a cell phone connected by a USB cable, can allow hackers to access a car’s internal computer system. Essentially, anything connected to the Internet is prone to be compromised. Organizations must consider how the development and use of IoT devices will change the landscape of network security management. You can use smartwatches, fitness trackers, Internet-connected home devices, and more to compromise a company’s IT network. You must implement sufficient physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to secure a business against the threats accompanying IoT technology effectively. We know and support your business needs to embrace the latest technology developments while keeping your IT network safe from cybercriminals. Check out our IT security services and keep your business ahead of the curve and out of the reach of hackers.