6 Security Predictions for SMBs in 2017
Office technology has been developing rapidly since the days of the basic single-screen setup. As laptops and email became normal, the idea of everyone being in the same room began to feel outmoded.
The modern office is a dynamic place that can span the globe, and the continual development and adoption of cloud computing has continued the evolution. While this is great news in terms of adding freedom and dynamism to the way businesses work, this increased reliance on technology also makes the impact of a potential cyber-attack on your business increasingly destructive.
While updates to digital systems can open new doors for possible security threats, implementing new technologies can create previously unthought of ways to access your data, even if the intention is to tighten security.
With the number of new technologies that will continue to emerge in 2017, businesses will come under increased threat from a number of areas.
1. The Cloud
In 2016 the Cloud Security Alliance released a list dubbed the “treacherous 12” to outline the top threats that cloud computing companies would face in the coming year. From account hijacking to denial of service (DoS) and broken authentications, it is an alarming collection of risks.
Regardless of this warning and the threat of attack, the rise of cloud computing will not be halted as so many feel the benefits outweigh the risks. The ability to work, communicate and access data no matter where you are in the world, has become vital in the way that modern office works, and has the added advantage of reducing the cost of infrastructure.
As long as these benefits feel vital, the risks will be underestimated and, as more businesses adopt this style of working, it will not be surprising to see increased reports of hacking and data loss in the new year.
Rising in popularity, biometric security is becoming a standard on mobile devices thanks to Apple’s Touch ID in particular. It is also popular with banks as they trial a range of voice and retinal identification.
Biometrics might feel more technologically advanced and safer than a password, but that does not make it automatically more secure. A claim from 2015 showed retinal scans could potentially be deceived a high-resolution image. Similar devices can be tricked with high definition video and stolen audio recordings can be enough to sidestep voice recognition.
While these new technologies will continue to develop and become increasingly secure, so will efforts to circumvent them. Don’t be surprised to read more and more about biometric hacking in 2017.
3. Connected cars
Driverless cars are an exciting prospect for a wide range of reasons, not least ease and convenience, but, as with any connected devices, the potential that the systems controlling the vehicles will be hacked is a great fear. This was demonstrated by a team of security researchers in 2015 when they were able to not just hack a driverless vehicle, but drive it off the road.
Despite Tesla putting in millions of hours and road miles as they trial and prepare these technologies for use on real roads, the threat of security breaches is still very high. Even the FBI are aware of the risks. In 2016 they warned owners of connected cars to make sure their security was up to date to minimize the risk of sabotage.
As trials continue to progress, expect to hear more in the coming year.
In 2016 mobile devices finally broke a huge barrier by overtaking desktop browsing for the first time. This demonstrates a huge shift in the way that people are communicating. With sharply increasing use of mobile operating systems like Android and iOS, they are facing increased targeting by malicious software.
A high profile example of this came in 2016 as Apple were forced to release a patch in order to protect against Pegasus, a malware package that collected user information. Google also took a stand, redoubling their efforts to prevent the Google Play store being flooded with potentially threatening apps.
Along with the cloud, mobile security is an area that will be under close scrutiny in 2017.
5. Internet of Things
The increase of gadgets and domestic appliances that make use of online capabilities continues to rise. For many it simply offers convenience and is rarely thought of as a threat to security. That changed in 2016 when Dyn, one of the companies that works on the infrastructure of the internet, was attacked. The result was vast interference as a huge range of major online services including Twitter, Amazon and Netflix went down. What is concerning is that the attack originated with hackers taking advantage of the default settings in a range of domestic technologies, including digital cameras.
It might sound like a domestic security issue, but consider how many employers are connecting seemingly innocent devices to the Internet of Things. Suddenly, the prospect of sensitive data being accessed through similar methods feels like an issue that demands greater awareness in the coming year.
As with the Internet of Things, one of the easiest ways to collect data is not by breaking through elaborate security, but by taking advantage of human error.
When targeting large businesses, it is increasingly likely that hackers will look towards contractors rather than tackle the larger organisation’s complex security measures head on. They are then able to make the most of less sophisticated security systems, as well as human error, to get their hands on the information required to attack bigger companies.
This technique will only stop when smaller businesses increase their security to combat the threat. But as awareness of it grows in 2017, expect security improvements to become an essential component in securing big contracts.
Looking forward, Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist, AVG Business has examined the key threats that may face businesses the New Year, “Overall, I think the big story of 2017 is going to be about the broadening range of tactics, channels and platforms that hackers try to exploit to steal data and extort money from businesses. The buzz around new tech – particularly IoT devices – needs to be tempered with serious questions about security.”
“Manufacturers are racing to get products to market and security is being left behind… businesses of all shapes and sizes need to be careful about what new tech they adopt and how they use it. They also need to bridge their knowledge gaps, 1 in 3 businesses we recently surveyed were clueless about ransomware for instance. Small businesses, in particular, need to be more aware of how their data and systems can be hacked and exploited.”
About the Author:
Guy Oakley is the Global Web Director - Avast Business (Formally AVG Business) Experienced e-commerce and digital marketing professional with a love of all things online and a full understanding of how the off and online world must work together to make life quicker, easier and more profitable for small business everywhere.
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