As technology continues to surge forward into the future with new updates and tools every year, we see more and more threats arising to meet the changes. Every time a new tool or process is discovered/created, someone, somewhere, is looking for a vulnerability. Cybercrime has skyrocketed this year, mostly because of the pandemic, but it was already a problem before that. Billions of dollars are lost every year due to cybercrime, and identity theft and other cybercrime costs individuals millions as well.
It’s important to keep up with modern cybersecurity threats, whether you’re an individual trying to protect your social security information or a business protecting sensitive customer data. Doing so means researching the latest threats, arming yourself or your company with the latest security tools, and practicing good cybersecurity habits.
Let’s take a look at today’s top cybersecurity threats and how you can beat them. These are the most prominent threats to business and personal data today, and should not be taken lightly.
1. Poor Password Habits
Password management is one of the most important and simple cybersecurity measures that you can improve. You’d be amazed at how poorly individuals and businesses treat their password security. Around 2 in 3 users actually use the same password for everything, and businesses don’t check on their employee credentials nearly enough to keep hackers at bay.
It’s important to remember that hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities, and they usually start with the login credentials. Using a password manager for businesses or personal data can transform your security and help you erase those bad password habits. Let’s look closer at what a password manager can do.
- Better Passwords: Many password managers can help you create better passwords with an automatic password manager. You won’t have to fumble with numbers and letters or symbols, but rather trust your password generation to the manager.
- Management and Security: Many people don’t take the storage and security of their passwords seriously enough. Using a password manager will help you store, manage, and secure your passwords with a single master password.
- Dark Web Monitoring: Monitoring your information on the dark web can help notify you or your business when credentials have been breached, and potentially prevent a system-wide breach in the first place.
- Organization: Storing passwords in a Word document or other unsecured files can be dangerous and downright irresponsible. Use a password manager to organize and store your passwords safely.
It’s crucial that you also teach your employees good password habits. Discourage the recycling of old passwords, and make sure you have everyone change their passwords at least a few times per year to improve security.
2. AI and Machine Learning
As machines get smarter, hackers find new ways to utilize this artificial intelligence to find vulnerabilities in systems. Artificial intelligence is constantly growing and evolving, and there are many threats that have grown to meet it.
- Data Poisoning: Machine learning and AI depends on data, which means it needs a constant flow. Hackers know and understand this, and use data poisoning to corrupt the inputs and, therefore, corrupt the entire system. This is a threat that’s difficult to trace and devastating on systems.
- Confidentiality: Keeping the data in your AI/ML system confidential can mean the difference between a breach and a secure system. Focus on confidentiality and privacy from the beginning.
- Fooled System: Fooling the system involves a hacker giving malicious inputs to the system, which then makes false predictions. This can seriously damage a system and cause chaos.
It’s important to make security your number one priority when you’re building an AI system or using machine learning in your business. These threats will grow as AI and machine learning become more integrated into our systems, so addressing these threats is a priority.
3. Social Engineering
While some criminals will target technological defects and vulnerabilities, others will attack the very people working within the system itself. Attacking human psychology, or social engineering, is a much more roundabout way to breach a system, but it’s quite effective. A good example is a hacker calling up a business to act like an official of some kind, using threats or official-sounding language to gain information.
Social engineering attacks can happen in-person or online. Using social media, hackers can change the way people (employees, for example) view certain information. A skewed viewpoint can easily lead to a failure to secure a system, which can then be hacked and exploited.
Remember the Nigerian prince email scams? Every now and then, you’ll hear about one, but no one could possibly fall for those anymore, right? Well…tell that to the $700,000 that these scams made in 2019.
Social engineering attacks can be addressed by training employees to spot suspicious activity and setting strict protocols. For example, no one enters the building without their keycard. If they “forgot” it, they have to talk to a company official before gaining entry.