Cyber-attacks continue to skyrocket as criminals become more cunning. According to a 2019 World Forum Report, cyber threat is the fourth greatest threat to world economies.
With new threats emerging ever so often, anti-malware engineers struggle to keep up with these attacks. Formulating new protection procedures requires time to study how the virus operates, but attackers are one step ahead as they keep writing new threats. And as these threats become increasingly complex, less sophisticated versions of malware are not enough to protect your devices — the best approach is a multi-protection strategy, and we will go through some of those later on in this article.
3 Cyber Risks to Look out for in 2020
Cyber-attacks are continuing to pose serious threats in 2020. While there is no silver bullet solution, it’s important to keep abreast of what’s happening. Here are three cyber risks individuals and organizations should look out for in 2020.
One out of 99 emails, there is a phishing attack and approximately 30% of these phishing emails are able to pass through default security. Once you click a malicious link, hackers can steal credit card information and login credentials for work.
Ransomware has seen a significant increase in recent years wreaking financial havoc on victims. Once your data or device is held at ransom, hackers can withhold its release until they receive payment. Businesses are top targets for this kind of activity because they are more likely to pay for critical company data.
AI-enhanced cyber threats
More and more companies are embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. And while it comes with its advantages, the flip side is that the probability of attackers weaponizing such a system to boost their attack is a major threat. If hackers are successful in hijacking an AI, the fallout could be significant from shutting down an entire database to compromising national security.
How to Stay Protected
Cyber risks are a clear and present danger. Criminals will stop at nothing to steal personal or company information and disrupt lives. It is necessary to follow best practices to protect yourself from those risks and the following are a few to consider.
Keep your software up to date
An out of date software cannot adequately protect your data or your device. Download the latest version of each software and update your system immediately to improve your chance of eluding a cyber-attack.
Use a VPN
Just like you lock your doors to keep out criminals, you also need to lockout cyber-criminals while online. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you privacy and keeps your information encrypted. It also makes it harder for hackers to access the data you send and receive over the internet. If you want to remain off the grid to protect yourself from vicious cyber-attacks, you should download a VPN from a reputable site.
Use a vulnerability scanner
Scanning your system is a proactive way of identifying security, network and application weaknesses. It’s particularly useful because while it detects vulnerabilities, it also suggests countermeasures if there is a threat.
Create strong and unique passwords
Your passwords should be strong and complex to make it hard for hackers to figure out. Make sure your passwords are long, with more than 15 characters, and contain a mix of characters. It is also wise to avoid using regular phrases or memorable keyboard paths like “qwerty” in your passwords. You can also consider getting a password management application to store and retrieve passwords.
Strengthen your email security
Confidential information shared through email can be intercepted when proper protocols are not in place. Measures such as using a complex password, encrypting emails, and using an updated email system and software are effective ways to shore up your email security.
Antivirus is still an important element to add to your security arsenal. However increased activity from hackers and keeping up with new and emerging threats can become an impossible task for anti-malware engineers.
In 2020 and beyond, we will continue to face cyber risks such as ransomware and phishing, but we have to take a strident approach to mitigate these threats. An antivirus will not suffice so taking additional precautions such as strengthening email security, using a VPN, using a vulnerability scanner and regularly updating software are essential tools to protect yourself from cyber risks.