Ian Kilpatrick, executive vice-president of cyber security for Nuvias Group (the pan-EMEA high value distribution business which is helping to redefine the international, specialist distribution of IT), has listed the company’s ‘Top Ten IT Security Predictions for 2018’. Kilpatrick is a recognised thought leader with a strong vision of the future in IT, focusing on business needs and benefits rather than just technology.
Security blossoms in the Boardroom
Sadly, security breaches will continue to be a regular occurrence in 2018 and organisations will struggle to deal with them. New security challenges will abound and grab attention in the Boardroom. Senior management is increasingly focusing on security issues and recognising them as a core business risk, rather than being the responsibility of the IT Department alone. The coming year will see further commitment from the Boardroom to ensure that organisations are protected.
Ransomware hasn’t gone away
Too much money is being made from ransomware for it to disappear. It will not. According to Cyber Security Ventures, global ransomware damage costs for 2017 will exceed US$5 billion, with the average amount paid in ransoms among office workers around the US$1,400 mark. Companies can help to prevent ransomware by tracking everything coming in and out of the network and running AV solutions with anti-ransomware protection. Regular back-ups should be conducted to a structured plan and based around business requirements. It’s also hugely important to test any such plans.
Internet of Things (IoT): a security time-bomb
The IoT is a rapidly growing phenomenon which will accelerate in 2018 as both consumers and businesses opt for the convenience and benefits that it brings. However, manufacturers are not yet routinely building security into IoT devices and 2018 will see further problems generated through the use of insecure IoT. The IoT is a major threat and possibly the biggest threat to businesses in the coming years. Unfortunately, it’s not easy – and, in some cases, impossible – to bolt on security as an afterthought with the IoT. Many organisations will find it challenging to deal with the consequences of such breaches. As the IoT cascades through organisations’ infrastructures, it’s likely to become the ultimate Trojan horse.
More from The Shadow Brokers
The Shadow Brokers, a hacker group which stole hacking tools from America’s National Security Agency (NSA), created havoc in 2017 with the WannaCry ransomware episode. The group has already stated that it will soon release newer NSA hacking tools, with targets that might include vulnerabilities in Windows 10.
There will certainly be further episodes from them in 2018, so patch management, security and regular back-ups will be more crucial than ever. A major target of these hackers is the data that organisations hold, including Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and corporate data, so protecting the data ‘crown jewels’ inside the network will become even more crucial.
Have most businesses missed the point about the GDPR?
The arrival of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May will, of course, be a big story. However, many organisations are missing the main point about the GDPR. It’s about identifying, protecting and managing PII (ie any information that could potentially identify a specific individual). This will become more important in 2018 and there will be considerable focus on identifying, securing and, where required, deleting PII held on networks.
‘GDPR Blackmail’: the new ransomware?
Unfortunately, the GDPR will afford a great opportunity to criminals, hackers, disgruntled staff and anyone else who might want to do an organisation harm. They simply have to ask you to identify what data you hold on them, ask for it to be erased and then request proof that this has been done. If you cannot comply, they can threaten to go public – exposing you to the risk of huge fines – unless you pay them money. Watch out for this.
DDoS on the rise
It’s now possible for anyone to ‘rent’ a DDoS attack on the Internet. For as little as US$5, you can actually pay someone to do the attack for you. This is just one of the reasons why DDoS threats will continue to escalate in 2018, alongside the cost of dealing with them. The dangers of DDoS for smaller companies are that it will leave them unable to do business. For larger organisations, DDoS attacks have the capacity to overwhelm systems. Remember that DDoS is significantly under-reported, as no-one wants to admit they’ve been under such an attack.
Cloud insecurity: it’s up to you
Problems with cloud insecurity will continue to grow as users put more and more data on the cloud without, in many cases, properly working out how to secure it. It’s not the cloud providers’ responsibility to secure information. That’s down to the user. With the introduction of the GDPR, it will be even more important to ensure that PII stored in the cloud is properly protected. Failure to do so could bring serious financial consequences.
The Insider Threat
Historically, insider threats have been underestimated, yet they were still a primary cause of security incidents in 2017. The causes may be malicious actions by staff or simply poor staff cyber hygiene (ie staff not using the appropriate behaviour required to ensure online ‘health’). In 2018, there will be growth in cyber education, coupled with more testing, measuring and monitoring of staff behaviour. This increasingly involves training and automated testing, such as simulated phishing and social engineering attacks.
Time to ditch simple passwords
This year, simple passwords will be highlighted still further as an insecure ‘secure’ method of access. Once a password is compromised, then all of the other sites with that same user password are vulnerable. As members of staff often use the same passwords for business as they use in their personal life, businesses are left vulnerable. While complex passwords do have a superficial attraction, there are many challenges around that approach. Multi-factor authentication is a vastly superior method of access.