January 22, 2019

What Cyber Threats To Look Out For In 2019

2019 has just started, and if the last 3 years are anything to go by, we can expect to see a continuance of current threats, and some new ones to boot.

Online security for the new year

Every new year brings fresh new threats from cybercriminals. Today, more than ever, we require the best protection possible from those shady characters luring us into online scams or looking to steal our personal details. The online banking and online casino industries have shown the importance of cybersecurity, with others now facing the same pressure to keep details just as safe. Antivirus and malware protection companies are sure to develop new ways in which we can fight back and make sure our details and property are kept safe, but we are also sure to see new ways in which hackers and cyber criminals ramp up efforts to take advantage of us. Let’s take a look at what you can expect to see more of from the cyber underworld in 2019, and perhaps how best to avoid falling victim.

Human or Bot?

It’s becoming harder and harder for us to determine if we’re dealing with human customer service or bots. Bots are coded programs that act as humans, and in 2019 bot software will become more difficult to seek protection from. A good example of a sophisticated bot is a fake Facebook account that sends you a friend request. The profile might look completely authentic and genuine, but is actually a ruse to gather data, which is considered gold among companies looking to better their marketing efforts. The best thing to do is avoid accepting these friend requests and only friend people you know.

You also might come into contact with bots in chat rooms, or customer support of various websites. The problem here is that you’ll think you’re receiving assistance from a person and are likely to follow their prompts such as clicking on links. These links might plant malware on your device, so be alert to these bots, and if your questions aren’t answered in a satisfactory manner then rather end the chat.

Fake News Will Ramp Up

If the 2016 US elections where anything to go by, expect fake news surrounding political parties and individuals to intensify. 2019 is election season in Canada, and being a big player in the western world it is sure to fall victim to certain agendas. It is also expected that it is only a matter of time before social media accounts are hacked on a regular basis, leading to political sabotage.

The fake news phenomenon using a connection of social media accounts and bots has also given rise to the need for hackers. It will almost become common practice to utilise fake news services, especially by nations looking to push an agenda. This could see hackers coming together instead of working in the shadows by themselves. It is important not to share content that hasn’t been verified by credible news sources, as by sharing these stories you are only exacerbating the issue.

Data Breaches the Future

If 2018 taught us anything it’s that our personal information is highly valuable, and that companies are paying top dollar to get their hands on it. Facebook has had a terrible time due to its negligence in protecting user’s personal information. A policy of zero trust is now being adopted by companies in order to protect data. It has come to the point that the survival of companies will depend on whether they can keep user information private.

It is not only the users that are adopting a zero-tolerance attitude to their details being shared but also governments. The data breach issue is likely to see the adoption of more laws, not only created by individual governments, but as international law. This is because companies such as Facebook operate across so many countries that a slap on the wrist by one nation will have no real effect. The recent GDPR law is just the start for data protection. There isn’t really much else you can do to avoid your data being shared except refrain from using the service. The more details you add to services such as social media accounts the more exposed, you’ll be in the event of a data breach. It is always advisable that you don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll regret posting or sending content that will invariably live in the digital realm for an unlimited period of time.

Unsecure Networks

There are now more ways than ever to access personal details. By using a wireless network, you are potentially opening your device up to penetration from companies looking to obtain details. 5G is on the verge of being released, and it is expected to open up a whole new wave of security threats due to the faster speeds at which files can be moved around networks. There is also the possibility that government regulators will plant software in devices to further access data. We have already seen the banning of iPhone sales in China. Some believe this to be because the Chinese are wary of American software gathering so much data on Chinese consumers. With zero trust being shown among countries, and it only increasing, we might see people refrain from buying foreign hardware do to security fears.

As you can see, data theft, breaches and insecurity are the main theme in this age. This by no means indicates that malicious software designed to be harmful to your device is on the decline. Always make sure that you install the best antivirus software, and unfortunately it is becoming difficult to trust anyone online. Keep your sensitive information private. 2019 is definitely a year in which the emergence of trends from the past 2 years will be tackled, but our help is required so people are no longer duped under false pretences.

About the author 

Anu Balam

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