Recent years have fundamentally changed the public perception of cybersecurity and future trends have been an important topic of discussion in the months leading to the new year. As 2019 progresses we will see additional evolutions in cybercrime and data protection, but there will also be many returns to form among hackers that exploit prevailing gaps in network security. The digital transformation of many sectors of public and private life is providing cybercriminals with increased touchpoints to use as gateways, as well enhanced technology to leverage them as attack vectors.
The news is not all bad, however – the world at large is finally becoming used to the reality that cybersecurity is now a necessary part of utilizing the Internet, whether for personal or professional concerns. Additionally, even if hackers expand their techniques many will stick to the same proven methodologies so that the best protection against a network breach will remain individual vigilance. The face of cybersecurity in 2019 will feature many new tools but will still revolve around the same concepts that dominated 2018.
Here are 10 cybersecurity trends to expect in 2019:
Despite several potential new tools at their disposal, experts agree that a large percentage of cybercriminals will continue to rely on malware infections as a primary breach technique. Where we will likely see a change though, is in a shift from ransomware to both old and new forms that will exploit less scrutinized security gaps. However, the former method will not disappear completely, but will instead be deployed for more lucrative targets.
A growing trend that brings unfortunate implications is the rise of “cryptojacking,” which installs malicious code onto a victim’s computer to secretly mine cryptocurrency. It essentially acts as form of fileless malware and consequently is harder to track by traditional antivirus software. Besides being difficult to discover, crypto-mining malware does not directly impact the victim so even if it is found, there is not much they can or would be compelled to do. However, it does also signal an increasing ability to sneak infections past current anti-malware tools on the market.
3. AI and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence has been a topic of discussion for decades, but only recently has it become a very real possibility. This raises a new question – how will AI and machine learning impact the future of cybersecurity? 2019 will likely see attempts from both cybercriminals and network security professionals to leverage this technology to map out networks faster than a human can.
4. The Cloud
Cloud computing has slowly integrated into everyday life and has delivered new potential opportunities in the enterprise space. However, the real-time connectivity of cloud software can prove a double-edged sword – if not managed properly. Endpoint security is vital in SaaS deployments as every connection leveraged by users is a possible attack vector, and hackers will begin searching for easy targets operating blindly in the cloud.
The Internet of Things is another trend that provides practical advantages for users and new gaps to exploit for cybercriminals. As more businesses begin to adopt wireless IoT machines, attackers will seek out networked equipment that falls outside of their security net’s immediate radar to begin infiltrating their systems.
6. Legacy Systems
Legacy technology will present one of the biggest network gaps in the next few years. Both outdated software and hardware that has been repurposed for Internet-facing functionality will offer hackers weaker touchpoints to break past. Legacy ERP systems have already become a target of attackers and the future will see renewed focus on machines with out-of-date security drivers.
7. Cyber Hygiene
The good news is that incident after incident has finally made the public aware of just how ubiquitous cybersecurity practices must be. Experts have slowly noted growth in network security guideline adoption and compliance among several businesses, as well as increasingly in private life with personal networked tools. Cybersecurity in 2019 will feature a much more cyber aware population, even if generally only at a basic level of knowledge.
8. Data Regulations
The future of data privacy regulations is not as clear as it once appeared to be, but there is a clear trend among government and trade bodies. While the lack of any crackdown yet from the implementation of the EU’s GDPR has dispelled some of the immediate panic around compliance, multiple enforcement agencies in the public and private sector have been inspired by the law and are increasingly releasing their own data protection guidelines.
The growing viability of nation-backed hacking as a political and economic tool will likely lead to even more attempted breaches by both independent “contractors” and cyber espionage officials working for a particular government. However, it will also likely lead to a backlash against unregulated nation-state hacking that finally culminates in treaties being established between countries. These agreements will attempt to define and prevent unfettered cyberwarfare, though it might not stop some states from still quietly relying on hackers for their own agendas.
10. Cyber Fatigue
The above title is both a parody and demonstration of an unfortunate possibility that might begin to appear in 2019. There is a growing concern that repeated cyber incidents and discussion around data regulations will have an alternative effect on some as opposed to informing the public. As cybersecurity practice becomes that much more common, there is a real danger that it can fade back into obscurity as people assume either that it is already taken care of or that there is nothing more they can do themselves.
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Cyber fatigue can generate a serious gap in your network security – employees are your first and last line of defense against data breaches. Keeping your personnel informed of and trained against threats is the best way to ensure continued vigilance and maintain compliance with security awareness guidelines.
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