2016 is nearly over, and if it has taught us anything it is that we have to take online security threats seriously. From popular TV shows, to music, to the DDoS attack on a prominent cyber security expert, to the presidential election, we have been shown time and time again online security poses real threats to everyone.
2016 has been the year that online security threats have been the most thrust into the headlines of world news. Here is hoping that 2017 is the year that people actually read about these online security threats, and then actually take action to do something about them.
5 cyber security threats to be aware of in 2017
1: The reuse of passwords will be highlighted
Password choices have been a hot topic amongst the online security industry for many years. After the better part of a decade of trying to tell consumers that their password choices matter, and using a variety of those passwords matters, some headway has been made. Although, not quite enough yet…
— Secure Networks ITC (@secnetitc) October 19, 2016
The security threat that passwords pose is very real. Those with very simple passwords can find themselves being hacked very easily. Many people are now using more complicated passwords, but making the mistake of using that password multiple times. Please see our article on password managers to help get around this online security threat.
2: The need for encryption will become evident
With apps like Snapchat absolutely fooling people into thinking they have privacy, apps with encryption will become popular. With more drones being used by police services to survey the activities of protesters, and neighborhoods which they view as a problem, apps which can encrypt those communications are becoming more widespread. A few of them include:
All of these apps feature some sort of encryption, protecting you from anyone trying to intercept your signals. If you do not yet believe me when I say it is important, perhaps you will listen to Talib Kweli:
For everything else you do on your smartphone in terms of online activities, you need a VPN app on your phone. You can check out this review of the top five VPNs for iPhone, or you can head straight to IP vanish which has great apps for iPhone, Windows, and Android. These tools will encrypt everything you do, even encrypt those messaging apps which you use that are not encrypted. Just be aware that it only works when you are on a Wi-Fi network.
3: IoT devices will come under government security regulations
With IoT devices becoming more and more popular, it’s only natural that the government will step in to make sure that they are meeting security standards. IoT devices can actually be a huge online security threat, and invasion of privacy. The camera on your child’s toy can be hacked, hackers can use this to know when you are home. The same can be said of the microphone on your voice controlled television.
Good, readable piece by The Economist on the scope of the DDoS and IoT problem https://t.co/2hJc4WwVOX
— briankrebs (@briankrebs) October 6, 2016
The other online security threat that your IoT devices pose is their use in DDoS attacks. Brian Krebs, he of Krebs on Security, suffered a massive DDoS attack. The vast majority of this came from IoT devices. Not only do IoT devices put you at risk when they are secured improperly, they the entire Internet at risk. This is why they’re going to come under increased government security regulations, and that’s why you need to pay attention to their security features as well.
4: New behavioral security features will emerge
The next set of security features to come out will be passwords that, in a way, come directly from your body. You can think of it as two factor authentication version 2. It is believe that Apple is working on biometrics sensors in their touchpad, and facial recognition tech, to prove identity.
— Best VPN Provider (@bestvpns) October 17, 2016
While this is an exciting concept, it does open up a number of privacy concerns. How will the information that your devices refer to be stored and encrypted? This risk has to be managed because all it would take is one hacker accessing this information to completely blow everything.
5: Known vulnerabilities will continue to be exploited
Everyone out there who is failing to patch their software and apps quickly continue to be a target. Exploiting known vulnerabilities is just too easy for almost any hacker. Making sure that your apps and software have the latest patches helps you become a more difficult target.
— Eugene Kaspersky (@e_kaspersky) December 14, 2016
In today’s online security threats scene, being a difficult target is your best protection. You may never be 100% not under threat, but being more difficult will likely make you an undesirable target. Get the simple things done, like patches, and you will be at a much lesser risk.
6: More companies will be checking on you
Looking at the point above, more companies are going to be checking your devices for updated software. This is going to be especially true for those with older devices, and with outdated software.
— The Next Web ??? (@TheNextWeb) December 9, 2016
The precedent has been set with the bricking of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. If your device is not good enough, the manufacturer may shut it down. Think of this as online security threats being taken care of by those who will be trying to save face. Your neglect of your online security could wind up making them look bad.
The 1 lesson to learn about online security threats
If you learn anything from this article I want it to be that you need to take responsibility to be a more difficult target for hackers. The simplest ways to do this are to use encryption, choose better passwords, and keep everything patched.
As David Bisson said in an interview with us, “online security is an ongoing process.” There is no one thing that you can do to correct everything all at once. But you can remain aware of the worst online security threats, and use the protection provided to you.