Security Affairs has shown me the way to a more secure online life Not only do they post great tips regarding how to take care of your computer, they provide one with information as to what is going on in the world. You can see trends forming just by reading their headlines. After this article you should take a look at this piece about a potential Christmas attack on gaming.
Cybersecurity is one the world’s largest growing concerns, given that there are billions of dollars and the personal safety of half the world’s people on the line. Massive cyberattacks on large corporations or bodies of people constituted a large chunk of the news cycle, and as the year draws to a close, we can only expect that this trend will continue or even grow.
Yet some threats are more immediately concerning than others, and trends indicate that certain types of problems are going to grow in either frequency or potential damage. You need to know what these are and how you can protect yourself as best you can. It usually isn’t too difficult, and preparation pays many times back its time investment.
Here are some of the most immediately concerning threats of 2016:
The likelihood is that you read something about the dangers of unprotected public networks on last year’s version of this information. It still remains important, because little has changed on this front. Most public networks still lack the protections to guarantee the safety of your private data. All an amateur hacker has to do is connect to the same network (and they can easily disguise themselves as a normal user right next to you in a coffee shop) and activate a “sniffer” program. They can then intercept everything you send and receive over the network, and the value of your data isn’t going to change overnight.
To prevent yourself from becoming a victim faster than you can say “identity theft,” you will want to get yourself a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN is a service that will connect your computer to an offsite secure server and encrypt your connection no matter what network you are using. People have been using them to stay safe on public networks for years and they’ll be using them in 2016. The other main security benefit is that they keep your IP address hidden so that you can avoid tracking by many organizations, access sites that might be blocked overseas such as Netflix and even get by government censorship. They are one of the best tools you can acquire for your cybersecurity.
Corporate Data Leaks
Ashley Madison and the aftermath of the Sony attacks got all of the press in 2015, but they likely didn’t affect you too much. What might have affected you, however, was an attack on Anthem (the second largest U.S. health insurance company) that was the crowning point in a trend of healthcare data breaches. Vtech’s slipup released the information of hundreds of thousands of children and millions of others. Experian lost the data of 15 million T-Mobile customers. The list goes on. Hackers are not going to let up in 2016 when they are having this much success taking and selling corporate data.
You need to be cautious about what companies you share your information with. You can control your own online security habits, but once someone else has your data, you can’t usually take it back. Companies like to cut costs, and cybersecurity is usually considered a necessary evil instead of a duty and responsibility. This year let your dollar do your talking for you and start asking questions of the companies you already use.
North Korea or Iran aren’t likely to attack you personally. If they possibly could, then you probably know all you need to about online security and know what is coming your way. What you need to be more concerned about are increased online surveillance and state-sponsored cyberattacks on the institutions that allow your day to go smoothly. Your data might even wind up being used as an international bargaining chip without your consent or knowledge. It is even more alarming to learn that most industrialized nations aren’t doing enough to defend their cybersecurity infrastructure.
Unfortunately, these are the events and problems you are least likely to be able to prevent through your own efforts. You cannot wage a one person cyberwar on China, as much as you might want to. The best things you as an individual can do are contact your government and lobby for a stronger defense posture when it comes to technology. You should also keep abreast of the news and take note of whether you might be under surveillance, whether from your own government or a foreign power. Err on the side of caution when acting online. That habit will help you in 2016.
Mobile Malware and Infiltration
Have you met somebody that no longer has a computer and only uses their smartphone to handle their daily online tasks? Even if you haven’t, you have to admit that the concept doesn’t sound so foreign to you now. People are using smartphones more than ever, and hackers took notice years ago. They started to develop sophisticated mobile malware and intrusion techniques to steal sensitive data off of your phone, and they are starting to perfect it. 2016 is possibly going to be the year of mobile malware.
You need to start taking your smartphone’s security more seriously if you aren’t already protecting it. Having a good case and a verification screen are not enough anymore. You ideally should have multiple verification measures and a well-reviewed security application for your type of smartphone. You need to be wary of what websites you visit with your phone much how you are cautious with your computer. Caution and vigilance will be the keys to your data’s integrity and your smartphone’s survival.
Threats will only grow stronger as time marches onward into a more technologically complex landscape, but the tools to we to defend ourselves will meet the challenge head on and prove themselves more than capable to the task. All we have to do is prepare our own devices and minds for what is coming ahead. Your enjoyment of the internet does not need to come under threat this coming year. Have confidence in yourself and your follow internet denizens.
Please help spread this important information with those you know need it the most. Share it on social media or show this article to your friends and family. Lead by example in your own life. Make it your main resolution to lock down your devices and stay vigilant. Thank you for reading, and may you have a wonderful year.
About the Author Jen Martinson
(Security Affairs – SCADA , BlackEnergy malware)