The year 2015 certainly saw its share of unusual technological security breaches, ranging from the Ashley Madison hack to controlling Jeeps from afar. With the ever-growing breadth of technology services and gadgets, the opportunities to exploit them grow as well. These are some of the top security threats for the coming year:
• Cloud Services: While cloud services solve countless storage and file-sharing issues for businesses, they also amass huge amounts of sensitive information in a single spot. We expect to see hackers try to sneak past the security measures in place on these services to hit paydirt on business data.
• Hacktivism: In this day and age, forget traditional activism. Many think that in order to really get the public’s attention, you have to hit the target where it hurts – their technology. Although this isn’t a new concept, it may soon grow, thanks to exploit sites where people can download the necessary codes for hacking without any specialized knowledge.
• Hardware: This type of targeting has traditionally been limited to research and academic facilities, but it may increase in scope simply due to its old-school approach. We are so busy scouring the internet at large for risks, that it is simple to overlook attacks that take place right under our noses.
• Ransomware: For the average individual, ransomware perhaps poses the greatest risk because anyone who downloads the code can fall victim. Ransomware basically locks down your computer, encrypts all of its information, and then requests a fee in exchange for the digital key that unlocks everything stored on your device.
• Vulnerabilities: Hackers will continue to target software as a means to amass information and gain control to private systems. While attention to Flash and Java may cool down as they fall into disuse, there will always be new software to attack, including Microsoft’s new browser, Edge.
• Wearables: As people adopt wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches into their day-to-day lifestyles, hackers are surely examining these new opportunities to exploit. Granted, cybercriminals likely have no use for knowing how many steps you took or stairs you climbed, but wearables could easily be used as back doors to their connected mobile devices.
While you can’t implement iron-clad security against would-be hackers, use common sense in your digital practices. Methods like keeping applications updated, using strong passwords, and not downloading anything you’re not positive you can trust, go a long way in keeping you safe from cybercriminals.