The Internet of Things is a remarkable benchmark in human technological advancement. It’s in its infancy, though — and it shows.
A few years ago, big box chain Target demonstrated the potential folly of using vendors and connected technologies that hadn’t been fully vetted yet. In 2014, the personal records of some 40 million Target shoppers, including names and credit card numbers, were stolen by hackers. Their way in was through the company’s internet-connected HVAC system.
Small and large businesses alike rely on the dependable flow of finished and unfinished goods throughout the world. When it comes to electronic products, many vendors, partners, and assembly and handling companies help see finished devices into the hands of their end users.
In other words, there are many spots along the journeys of these products that practically invite tampering — including a particularly insidious kind of cyberattack.
Although the claims have been vociferously denied by the companies involved, including Apple and Amazon, as well as by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, merely the rumor of secretly placed foreign microchips in Super Micro motherboards was enough to send technology companies into a tailspin.
They ramped up efforts to seal potential holes in their security practices and ensure counterfeit or sabotaged parts don’t end up opening a backdoor into their companies’ products.
The whole of the internet sits on a perilous foundation. Without uniform net neutrality and civility rules across or within nations, and with abundant ways for cybercriminals to access personal and company data, it was only a matter of time before companies added digital and internet security to their budgets as a permanent line item.
It’s not a surprise that 2019 is estimated to see more than $124 billion spent on cybersecurity — 8.7 percent growth over the previous year. So many companies require nearly constant access to the internet to remain operational and solvent. A big part of this spending will go toward security talent acquisition, which will also see the addition of many more masters-level courses in IT architecture and cybersecurity.
For several years, conventional wisdom said small businesses were either easy pickings, cybersecurity-wise, or off cybercriminals’ radars, since larger corporations represented more lucrative targets. We’ve been half right. In 2016, more than 60 percent of attacks targeted small businesses. Small businesses might be easy pickings, but they’re definitely not off anybody’s radar.
2019 will probably see a kind of democratization of cybersecurity. It’s likely that the cost of hiring outside security consulting and applying enterprise-level security to a company will fall far enough that corporations and small businesses alike will end up using many of the same security tools in 2019 and beyond.
In the third quarter of 2018, DDoS attacks increased in frequency by 71 percent over the previous quarter. This bodes ill for 2019.
Whether undertaken by a foreign actor or a group of domestic hacktivists, it’s likely that Dyn and other companies that oversee our internet infrastructure will continue to see attempts to cripple the internet.
When Amazon Web Services goes down, so do many of the web’s most popular websites. When Dyn was attacked in 2016, it took down not just Amazon, but also Twitter, Netflix, CNN and a host of other digital properties that millions rely on daily. This is a precariously balanced and questionably concentrated amount of power.
Although some forms of biometric technology can be fallible under the right circumstances, they’re a generally more robust form of security than many others, including passwords.
2019 will continue to see the proliferation of fingerprint scanners, iris scanners and authentication cameras built into personal and commercial workstations, tablets, notebooks and smartphones.
Thanks to this convenience, 2019 and beyond will see us inch toward a major benchmark in mobile contactless payments made via smartphone: 2023 could see as much as $1.67 trillion change hands in this way.
Hackers tend to look for the path of least resistance when it comes to getting access to sensitive records and data. According to Kaspersky Lab, more than 120,000 individual pieces of malware were deployed against IoT devices in just the first half of 2018.
This is three times the number of similar attacks in the entire previous year. The best advice is to purchase IoT devices that have been on the market long enough to see multiple hardware and software iterations. The same goes for vendors: look for established IT and SaaS companies with real-world security credibility.
The U.S. received a sort of digital comeuppance in 2016. After decades of interfering with other countries’ elections, the 2016 presidential election famously featured the online manipulation of voter sentiments, at both extremes of American politics, by foreign actors — and potentially by some domestic ones, too.
American hegemony has long been taken for granted, but we’ve been caught flat-footed by novel types of digital attacks. This cyber warfare will likely become the heir apparent to overt warfare — and the next likely step in cold wars between major powers.
Many power stations in the U.S. appear vulnerable to attacks from foreign actors, and recent world history — like the 2015 events in Ukraine — reveal just how easy it is to demoralize a population by switching off their power a few days before a national holiday.
2019 is widely expected to be the year the Securities and Exchange Commission gets serious about regulating cryptocurrency companies. Some voices within the crypto community expect the SEC to keep approving initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as crypto exchanges so long as the parties involved can demonstrate some minimum level of security-mindedness.
Some will see the regulation of cryptocurrencies as an assault on what makes this type of currency unique and timely. Others will welcome partnership with governing bodies in keeping the major players honest.
One way or another, cybersecurity will remain a top-of-mind concern for each of us, well into 2019 and beyond.
Kayla Matthews is a technology and cybersecurity writer, and the owner of ProductivityBytes.com. To learn more about Kayla and her re
(Security Affairs – 2019 Cybersecurity predictions, cyberattacks)