The Top Five Cybersecurity Threats to Watch Out for Now

The Top Five Cybersecurity Threats to Watch Out for Now

It's been a year since the WannaCry ransomware attack that shocked the whole globe, infecting more than 200,000 systems in 150 countries and causing billions of dollars worth of damage. The scale and impact of the attack have irreversibly changed the cybersecurity landscape. With cybercriminals increasing their ambitions, hacking techniques are getting more complex and sophisticated than they used to be.

Let’s take a look at the current online security threats we should all worry about.

1. Ransomware Continues Posing Threats

Thanks to WannaCry, NotPetya, Locky and a number of smaller attacks, ransomware was the dominant threat to the cybersecurity landscape in 2017. And from what we have learned so far, it’s not going anywhere. According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report, ransomware was found in nearly 40% of malware-related security breaches, doubling last year's statistics.

And it’s not only the numbers you should be concerned with - every successful attack or failure allows to hackers to improve their techniques, making ransomware harder to track down and remove.

2. Malicious Cryptocurrency Mining is Rising

Despite being one of the top threats, ransomware is slowly giving way to a new form of cyber attack: crypto-jacking / crypto-mining. In the first quarter of 2018, Comodo said the software had detected nearly 29 million crypto-mining attempts out of a total 300 million malware attacks, and the number is expected to grow as the year goes by.

The tricky part about crypto-mining is the difficulty in identifying yourself as a victim. When ransomware locks your files, the amount of money hackers demand will pop on your screen. But if you accidentally install a malicious crypto-mining software, your computer may be helping cybercriminals to make money without you having a clue that this is happening.

3. Phishing is Getting Even More Sophisticated

Phishing has long been proven to be one of the easiest and cheapest ways to deliver malware, and it is only getting better at this.

While many Internet users are only learning how to spot a phishing email and the consequences of clicking on dodgy links, hackers are improving their impersonation skills. With the help of social engineering, phishing messages are getting more relevant and interesting to potential victims, and therefore way more difficult to recognize, even for tech-savvy users.

4. Security Risks from the Internet of Things

Both businesses and individuals are embracing the convenience of the Internet-connected devices, without even thinking about how much their trust may cost. IoT (Internet of Things) devices often lack proper protection, and this is exactly what attracts bad actors looking for easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities.

While you can forgive Amazon for its smart assistant accidentally exposing your private home conversations, the stakes are much higher when it comes to physical safety. As the WannaCry attack showed, a successful attack on medical devices may put the lives of patients at risk.

5. Fileless Attacks Are on the Rise

The main difference between traditional malware and now-trending fileless attacks is the way they invade systems. When pulling off a fileless attack, a hacker doesn’t need to place malware on their victim’s device. Instead, they use trusted programs that are already installed on a user's computer to perform their attack from the inside.

As these attacks operate in memory rather than residing on a hard drive, it is much more difficult to detect and stop them before they do any harm.

With the threat landscape constantly evolving, it’s crucial for companies and all privacy-minded users to heighten their awareness around the latest cybersecurity threats. While it’s possible to mitigate risks on your own, many IT departments now pass this task to trusted managed security services providers, like Masergy.

Masergy offers managed detection and response security services with 24/7 monitoring to rapidly identify threats and minimize the amount of time hackers have inside your system. Learn more about Masergy managed security services.

About Harold Kilpatrick

Cyber Security Expert, PR Consultancy
Harold is a cybersecurity consultant and a freelance blogger. His passion for virtual security extends to his early teens when he aided his local public library in setting up their anti-virus software. Currently, Harold's working on a cybersecurity campaign to raise awareness regarding virtual threats that businesses face on a daily basis.

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