2019’s Top Cyber Threats

Cyber security threats have gotten more and more sophisticated every year. The usual cyber attacks still involve malware, phishing, hacking, and more but new methods to circumvent information security systems are in constant development, putting billions of individual, corporation, and government data at risk. Cyber crime rates are at an all-time high and is still expected to increase in the coming decades as we rely more and more on our gadgets and on the internet to process and store information for us.

Cyber security attacks may have grave consequences in our personal lives as well as in the safety of our environment and stability of our society. These cyber attacks may cause disruption over public systems connected to the internet or may even malfunction household appliances once the Internet of Things (IoT) is hijacked using ransomware.

Cyber security threats are ever-evolving and we look at the significant trends for 2019 and the years to come.

1. Phishing

Phishing attacks occur when a system-generated message is sent to an individual’s email, fooling him/her to click on a link that will download and install malware or ransomware into that individual’s computer system. There are other ways of phishing but this is the most common method being used. Nowadays, due to advancements in artificial intelligence, hackers can compose and distribute more convincing fake messages and they have gotten more ambitious by turning to organizations as primary targets of their cyber attacks.

2. Ransomware

Another cyber security threat that organizations are most susceptible to is ransomware. Using more advanced technologies, hackers can kidnap an organization’s database containing highly confidential information and will only release it once a ransom has been paid. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin enable these hackers to get paid and remain completely anonymous, without their location or identity being traced or exposed.

3. Cryptojacking

There is a limited supply of cryptocurrency like just gold. And comparable to gold, one of the ways to acquire cryptocurrency is through mining, which requires tremendous amounts of computer processing power. And so, hackers hijack other computer systems to mine for cryptocurrency, causing serious performance issues or even malfunction in the hijacked system while the hackers reap the rewards.

4. Cyber-Physical Attacks

Critical infrastructure and public systems that are connected to the internet such as the electrical grid, transportation system, water treatment facilities, and even military systems are at high-risk of being the target of major cyber attacks. Cyber security efforts are focused on these systems as they can affect the general public and may cause civil unrest and even wars.

5. Cyber Warfare

In the past decade, many countries have started investing and paying attention to cyber warfare. The internet has become another battleground in this digital age. State-sponsored cyber attacks are ongoing daily without us even realizing it. Individuals are not the only ones vulnerable but the whole nation as well.

6. Internet of Things (IoT) Attack

Almost all of our gadgets and appliances are now connected to the internet – computers, mobile phones, routers, smart watches, automobiles, smart televisions, refrigerators, and home security systems. The information that we store in these gadgets and appliances can be easily used by companies and hackers alike to their benefit. The ability to access these things through the internet can also enable them to control its functions without them being at close proximity, which is just a scary thought.

7. Smart Medical Devices and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)

Many people have come to rely on smart medical devices and a lot of hospitals and clinics use EMRs to monitor the health of their patients. The cyber security threat against these technology is that hackers can access and manipulate the information to their advantage, to the detriment of the people relying on these devices.