cybersecurity trends

2019 Witnessed 5 of the biggest cybersecurity trends. Do you know what they are?

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Even when different organizations and businesses have varying needs that depend on cybersecurity solutions, IT security remains to be a consistent problem among organizations. This article covers the most prominent cybersecurity trends of this year, including frequently emerging types of attacks, a new kind of attack vector, the sectors that are being cyber-targeted more than often, and more.

Top Cybersecurity Trends of 2019

The trends which are dominating cybersecurity in 2019 are listed below –

Cybersecurity Trend #1: The widening phishing landscape

Phishing emerging as the eminent cybersecurity trend is no surprise. The latest Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) revealed that 32% of breaches and 78% of cyber-espionage incidents were carried out through phishing attacks.

Though email phishing still hails over other popular attack vectors, the phishing landscape has evidently widened this year. Cybercriminals are using text messages (“smishing”), telephonic conversations (“vishing”), and social media platforms (“angler phishing”) to lure victims to perform malicious actions, such as compromise their authorized credentials, or give up personal information. All these advanced forms of phishing are common in our day-to-day life. Sometimes those IRS calls and people offering technical assistance for relatable issues are real-life examples of vishing.

Cybersecurity Trend #2: Ransomware targeting local governments

2019 has seen numerous incidents including local governments and enterprises being attacked by ransomware. There has been a 195% increase in ransomware attacks on enterprises from Q4 2018 to Q1 2019. The same Malwarebytes’ report also prompted that ransomware detections increased 500% from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.

Similarly, Barracuda Networks released a report which stated that about two-thirds of ransomware attacks targeted local governments. These attacks targeted local, county, and state governments, including schools, courts, and other structures.

Look at a few of the recent examples indicating the rise in ransomware attacks (covering US-based security incidents only) The global list is much bigger in comparison:

S. No. Country Date Incident
1 US October 01 A school district in Luzerne County fell victim to ransomware (computers stayed infected for weeks).
2 US October 02 The City of Cornelia’s billing system suffered productivity loss after a ransomware attack.
3 US October 15 Jasper County faced crippled systems when hit by a ransomware attack.
4 The Department of Information Resources (DIR) declared that 20 Texas cities were impacted after a coordinated ransomware attack.
5 Two out of three ransomware attacks that affected Florida cities paid the ransom to decrypt their sensitive data.
6 In the past 16 months, Baltimore sustained two ransomware attacks.

Cybersecurity Trend #3: Increasing investments in automation

Automation is gaining its hold in the industry. As per the 2019 Ponemon Survey Report, which covered over 1400 IT and IT security practitioners, out of 79% of all respondents, 29% are already using automation tools and 50% are planning to move to automation platforms in the next six months to three years.

Automation tools and platforms can-

  • Collect data from different sources.
  • Monitor and analyze the gathered data for unusual activities.
  • Track assets of an organization.
  • Keep software, applications, and operating systems patched and updated.
  • Perform thorough scanning to identify vulnerabilities, and much more.

Cybersecurity Trend #4: Mobile emerging as a new attack vector

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. Under these circumstances, it leaves no surprise that mobiles are now serving as an attack vector to launch cyberattacks. With the advent of smartphones, it is convenient to perform personal and professional activities with a few clicks. From booking a hotel room to creating a presentation for office work, everything is possible with smartphones. There are numerous mobile applications available that serve different purposes. Of them, several are mere adware or some other form of malware.

A few of malicious applications that made the headlines are –

S. No. Incident
1 Symantec exposed 25 Android applications that were acting maliciously, with more than 2.1 million downloads.
2 Researchers from Wandera found two strange malware applications that had over 1.5 million installs.
There are many other reports which show that uncovered malware masquerading as mobile applications. Without proper mobile application security, this could potentially turn into destructive security breaches, as most people use their mobile devices to access office emails from remote locations (cloud-based businesses).

Cybersecurity Trend #5: Emphasizing Data Privacy and Compliance

In 2018, after the European Union rolled out its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for data protection and privacy, organizations started to pay keen attention to data privacy-related standards and laws. The primary goal of this regulation was to offer secure cyberspace to its many customers.

Regulatory compliance differs from one regulation to another, but in general, they include instructions to –

  • Provide ways to keep individuals safe from the incident
  • Build and implement strategies that are compliant to regulations
  • Enforce data privacy strategies
  • Inform affected individuals about the security incident

These were the most prominent cybersecurity trends of 2019. What 2020 has in store is only going to be bigger, considering that the cybersecurity industry is on the rise.

What do you think will happen in 2020? Is there a trend that you see arising? Comment below and let us know!

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