Digital Security Threats in 2017

cyber-security-1805246_640With the continued growth of online services and e-commerce, digital security is as important as ever.

So here’s my round-up of digital security threats in 2017 to watch out for.

Digital Security Threats in 2017

1. IoT Attacks

The variety and volume of consumer IoT or “Internet of Things” devices on the market is now increasing fast. It’s estimated that there will be around 50 million or more IoT connected devices in operation by 2020.

Unfortunately at the same time, the number of hacker attacks whether direct or via sophisticated distributed “botnets” is also increasing. This constitutes a serious threat to these devices and to IT infrastructure that then gets attacked by the botnets created and steered by means of these devices.

The problem at the moment is that many of these IoT devices still have very weak security. The IoT industry has a great deal of catching up to do to avoid increasingly serious headline hacker attacks on their devices.

2. Smart-Home Attacks

Attacks on “smart home” Internet-based devices – including IoT devices are now starting to appear.

Smart home attacks are going to be a major problem in the future as digital security concerns tend to lag behind in the consumer device sector.

To counter attacks on smart home devices, consumers will have to install proper high-protection routers such as those from Intel, Symantec, and BitDefender.

3. DDoS Attacks

Denial-of-service or DDoS attacks continue to be a serious and increasing threat. Partly this is due to more and more IoT devices coming online which have inadequate security protection.

Terrorists and malevolent state authorities are taking advantage of this attack vector. Large infrastructure systems such as power utilities, public transportation and even media (such as the TV5 attack in France in 2016) are not immune.

Infrastructure operators will have to substantially up their digital security precautions.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware is another serious threat and both consumers and businesses are under attack. Ransomware causes damage to data and hardware as well as financial loss for those who submit to their payment demands.

Users need to become more aware of the dangers posed by ransomware. Robust anti-virus and trojan protection software should always be installed and active and always kept up to date. Prevent scripts and apps from auto-executing in Web-browsers and emails.

5. Social Engineering

Social engineering attacks are becoming more and more sophisticated and with that harder for the average user to detect. Social engineering relies especially on email vector attacks, but they are also increasingly using website and app-based attack strategies.

To counter social engineering, increased user awareness is crucial. Always be careful when opening emails, and acting on any instructions contained in them. And of course be especially wary of clicking on any links contained in emails.

6. Identity Theft

Identity theft is also becoming more frequent.

Identity theft can occur via social engineering attacks, but increasingly it relies on break-ins of servers run by cloud computing and online services.

Businesses will have to take a more robust approach to protecting the customer and consumer data that they hold on their servers and storage systems. This will include such things as data encryption and more secure procedures for access.

7. Attacks on Online Services Infrastructure

Attacks on cloud computing and online services infrastructure such as banking and payment systems as well as e-commerce and other services are continuing to increase.

These type of attacks can lead to substantial financial loss – as well as loss of confidence for the services affected. Time and again we hear of an online service somewhere or other being broken into. Even the biggest banks are not secure.

Again – online service providers will have to substantially up their digital security precautions and protective infrastructure.

Well that rounds off this very quick look at what I see as the seven most serious digital security threats in 2017.

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