But First, What Are the Things You Should Know?

Apart from the things that you are guarding against now, there are additional cybersecurity threats that you should look out for in 2020.

Threats Related to Artificial Intelligence

The rise of the use of AI and machine learning in business applications is one of the trends in recent years. But this also means that cyber criminals will be able to use the same technologies to make their attacks more sophisticated. Now, we have hackers who are able to use adaptive malware to hack into your systems.

Another way that cybercriminals can benefit from AI is through AI fuzzing, or using artificial intelligence to detect system vulnerabilities. This means that hackers can now automate and hasten zero-day attacks.

There’s also machine learning poisoning, where hackers insert their own instructions to a machine learning model. This will lead to hackers being able to compromise your systems by making the machine learn all the wrong things.

Cloud Vulnerability

The cloud will still be very popular among individual and business users, and securing it will be one of the biggest concerns that IT teams will be facing in 2020. It’s important too because companies are storing sensitive data and confidential information on cloud systems.

As such, businesses should take steps to:

  • Ensure that the configurations they use for cloud-based workloads are secure
  • Have strong security measures across all public and private cloud environments
  • Make sure that cloud strategy is in line with compliance regulations
  • Have existing security protocols align with new cloud-based protocols
  • Automate the use of security controls by integrating DevOps tools

Because most businesses will transfer workloads to the cloud, it’s going to be a very tempting target for cybercriminals. Moreover, companies that are fairly new to the cloud landscape will surely make mistakes.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a planned attack that tricks people into divulging personal or confidential information that hackers can use for nefarious means. Right now, attackers are using phishing tactics to help them with data breaches. Phishing is very lucrative for cybercriminals because it’s very easy to do and can reap great rewards for them.

Another form of social engineering that are gaining hold today is SMiShing or SMS phishing. This uses messaging apps to trick would be victims into divulging information.

Smart Contract Hacking

Smart contracts are those programs that have self-executing codes. It allows developers to use applications that are based on a blockchain. If a hacker is able to access a smart contract, they will be able to compromise your applications.

One of the things that you should be aware of when dealing with smart contracts is that it’s still very new, and everybody is still learning. IT personnel who are currently working with smart contracts are just starting to figure out how it works, and security specialists are still weeding out bugs. As such, this newness is making it easier for criminals to hack into smart contracts.

Even as time goes by, smart contracts will still be a significant attack vector in the future.

Deep Fakes

Deep fakes are videos that are faked so that the subjects are saying or doing things that they normally would not do. Think about Barack Obama delivering fake news.

Employees can be tricked by deep fakes of their CEO telling them to release or deposit funds into the attacker’s bank account. Or, deep fakes can be used to interrupt business operations. It might even be used for forgery.

Read More: How Technology Can Minimize Business Risks

Best Practices: Keeping You Safe from Cyberthreats in 2020

The good news is that you really do not need to do much to protect your business from cyberattacks. That is, if you already have a good cybersecurity strategy, which includes a pen test analysis, in place. However, because of new threats and their nature, there are some best practices that you should add to your current security policies, as well as others that bear repeating.

What are the best practices for your cybersecurity in 2020? And what are the tools you should use?

1. Be sure to have a security strategy where you can comprehensively conduct application and data assessment.

Part of this strategy is to ensure that your security practices, policies, and protocols are audited regularly.

Some of the processes you need to include:

  • Patching and updating to ensure that all software you use are up to date and do not have any vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
  • Vulnerability management that will ensure your IT team will be on top of devices that are connected to the network.
  • Equipment replacement, wherein all equipment is routinely checked and replaced.
  • Documentation of everything that is done for cybersecurity.

Finally, don’t neglect supply chain security, because sometimes cyberattacks and breaches come from suppliers and vendors.

2. Train and educate your employees about the different types of cyber risks they might encounter.

Cybersecurity awareness training can help educate your employees on the importance of data security and protection, as well as equip them with knowledge on how not to fall victims to common cyberattacks.

If you are patching software, operating systems, and programs, then think of employee training as patching as well. Recognize that employees are the weakest link and can easily let your security systems, tools, and protocols fail. Furthermore, share cybersecurity news as soon as something happens. Your top-level management should be involved in these communications as well.

3. Enforce strong passwords and use two-factor authentication.

Using strong passwords has been a best practice for quite some time now. Everybody in your organization should know what a strong password is. You also should force everyone to use two-factor authentication to access any part of your network.

If you have employees who have problems keeping their passwords in order, suggest some password managers such as Dashlane, LastPass, and Keeper Password Manager. On the IT team’s side, you can use Cain and Abel to sniff out weak passwords being used in your Windows system. Or you can use John the Ripper, which tests password strength.

4. Get cyber insurance.

If you have insurance coverage for company physical assets, then you will understand how important it is to get cyber insurance as well. This will help you mitigate cyber risks. The idea is that if you do fall victim to a hacking or cyber attack, you will have the funds to cover everything – from investigating, informing the public to paying for the lawsuits, damages and business losses, as well as other expenses.

“Cyber insurance can help you deal with the financial aspects of customer and employee data loss, regulatory fines, business interruption and ransomware, third-party lawsuits, and even payment fraud,” explains Dan Smith, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Zeguro. “While some businesses may believe that their general liability insurance will cover these types of losses, Comprehensive General Liability policies (CGL) cover bodily injury and property damages that arise in the course of conducting everyday business; they don’t cover data breaches or cyber attacks. This leaves a significant gap in coverage that today’s businesses need to address – and that’s the gap that cyber liability insurance can fill.”

5. Have your backup ready and make sure these are updated regularly.

Having up-to-date backups of all your data will help you be more resilient when you suffer from ransomware attacks. In addition to backing up your data, you should also consider installing malware protection software to keep your information secure.

Luckily for you, there are several backup programs that you can use. There are free programs that help replicate your hard drive and save it someplace safe such as a flash drive, network drive, or to the cloud. There are also commercial backup software solutions that allow you more flexibility. It can replicate other stuff like partitions, disks, and even have features such as advanced scheduling and incremental backups.

Check out these useful software solutions for backing up your data:

  • EaseUSTodo Backup
  • AOMEI Backupper Standard
  • Cobian Backup
  • Paragon Backup & Recovery

6. When dealing with confidential files, you should use end-to-end encryption.

End-to-end encryption will ensure that nobody can read or modify the data except for the sender and recipient.

When it comes to encryption, there are software such as AxCrypt(for small business teams and individuals) and CryptoExpert, which provides multiple and strong encryption methods.

There are also cloud solutions such as Certain Safe and VeraCrypt, which is free to use.

7. Conduct some penetration testing.

Hacking your own system will help you uncover its vulnerabilities. This way, you can plug your system’s weaknesses in time. You can use tools such as Kali Linux, which includes several security auditing features. It can also scan your network, computer, and devices for vulnerabilities.

Metasploit, on the other hand, gives you everything you need to conduct penetration testing on your system. It does not only identify vulnerabilities, but it also helps you formulate steps on how to harden your network and manage the completed evaluations.

Other Tools that You Should Use

Aside from the suggested software and services above, there are some more that you should consider using:

  • NetStumbler is a free tool that can identify open ports on your network.
  • Aircrack-ng helps you analyze your Wi-Fi networks to uncover weaknesses, capture data packets, and export these packets to text files. Mac OS X users have their own version in KisMAC.
  • Nmap and Nikto are used to uncover vulnerabilities on the web. Nikto, in particular, consults a database with at least 6,400 different threats. Even the newest vulnerabilities are easily identified.
  • Nexpose allows you to scan your on-premise systems for vulnerabilities.
  • Tor lets you surf with privacy when you’re connected to the Internet, so it is more difficult to trace you.
  • Splunk is an excellent tool for monitoring network security. It looks for threat data and can analyze your network in real time.

By implementing these strategies, your company will be well-equipped to defend against cyber threats – both the traditional, tried-and-true attack methods and innovative, sophisticated cyber attacks – in 2020.


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