The Internet of things is coming in big, some experts even predict that by 2020, 200 billion connected items will be connected! This means that our world is filled with software; with so many points of vulnerability, the need for extensive cyber security system increases every year. Nowadays, there’s nothing more important than availability and accessibility of technology, but we can’t overlook the need to keep the tech we use secure.

Cybersecurity problems are on the increase

We’re growing ever more reliant on technology. I’m writing this article on a PC that is connected to the Internet. Without that connection, I and many others would be out of work.
It is only logical that the number of cybersecurity threats grows along with the number of technological devices; what is not logical is that the same problems repeat over and over again.
Worryingly enough, we aren’t getting better at tech security; which, when combined with our increased dependence on technology, is a perfect scenario for a disaster.

When we’re talking about hackers, we like to imagine a 20-something the Matrix fan, sitting in front of an old computer screen, working his way up some evil corporation’s mainframe. In truth, vast majority of hackers are self-interested and most technology is somewhat vulnerable: we’ve seen cars hacked, a popular US smart home alarm system hacked, pacemakers, plane systems, power grids, everything from dams to mobile banking apps – it’s all been hacked at some point.

The point is: cybersecurity threats are increasing in number at an unbelievable pace!

The problem of ignorance

We’ve said that cyber security threats are on the increase, but things are even worse. A recent report on the Internet of Things cyber security found that 70% of modern devices don’t encrypt communications. This is, quite frankly, outrageous! With the number of cyber attacks growing each year, this is just making it too easy for hackers.

The reasoning behind this is relatively simple: we aren’t used to the fact that we aren’t safe around the internet. In fact, the biggest fear seems to be the idea of someone seeing our search history.
The lack of knowledge and awareness about the sheer importance of cybersecurity is mind-boggling. Some companies don’t even care about tech safety! Other businesses simply don’t know how to take it on.
Furthermore, while you may think that combining old, new and different technology might make a hacker’s job harder, you couldn’t be further away from truth. A single insecure component can compromise the security of an entire network.
Finally, proper cyber security takes time and money: however, in order to keep up with Internet security trends, products need to be built and released very quickly – cyber security threats can adapt easily; adapting cyber security measures, on the other hand, is a lengthy and expensive process.

A business under attack means customers become victims

Cybercriminals often tend to target small businesses as a gateway to the larger companies they’re associated with. However, cybercrime often tends to work the other way, too. Recently, 50% of small business respondents claimed to have been victims of data breaches that targeted customer and employee information. If you put yourself into the shoes of a customer, you’ll quickly see the main issue – if you happen to make a single online purchase, the company you’re doing business with will likely get your important information, from the email address, to your home address, your phone number and maybe even payment information.

As a customer, you can only do so much without completely giving up making online purchases (and we all know how convenient these are), but as a business owner, you can invest into the best cybersecurity measures on the market and make sure that you’re up to speed with all new trends.

Hackers: explained

As mentioned earlier, hackers, for the most part, aren’t friendly strangers, far from it; but let’s delve a bit deeper into this. There are actually several types of hacker, commonly known as “threat actors”:

  • Hackers – Professional hackers usually work to benefit companies and improve security, but there are a lot of malicious ones, too.
  • Hacktivists – Politically or socially motivated technology enthusiasts.
  • Cyber criminals – System attacks, information theft – all for profit.
  • Cyber terrorists – Uncommon, but a very scary future prospect.
  • Nation states – Launching cyberattacks against other countries.

The year 2017 might not end up a year known in terms of cybersecurity, but it definitely should. We are already far behind the schedule with regards to tech security threats and we should work together while there is still time to implement the necessary changes.

 

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Posted by Isla Wright

Isla is a techs-savvy psychology professor, who considers herself more of a student since she is constantly in the process of learning. Although she lives and works in Darwin, Isla spends every chance she gets travelling and getting to know new people and new cultures. She combines her love of technology, teaching and travelling with her work. The small amount of free time that she has is reserved for her family and her yoga classes, which she says keep her centered.

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