The 2018 cyberthreat landscape: Why preparation is key

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Cybersecurity continues to be top of mind for senior IT professionals, but organizations as a whole are not yet prioritizing security needs. Why not?

In a recent industry poll, respondents indicated that only 21 percent of C-Level executives were fully engaged in cybersecurity planning, while a staggering 79 percent were not involved. In 2018, organizations must make cybersecurity a priority – if not, they may become just another data breach victim.

Here are some ways that organizations can prepare for new vulnerabilities and extend cybersecurity knowledge beyond their IT departments to combat the top threats of 2018:

Biometric security: Not just the next preventative measure

Stealing someone’s fingerprint is extremely hard to do, which is why we’ve seen a growing interest in biometric security. However, enterprises need to be concerned about the risks involved with keeping biometric data on file. Stolen credit card? Frustrating, but replaceable. However, it is impossible to replace employee fingerprint data, which makes it extremely valuable to hackers committing identify theft. Before adopting biometric verification processes, enterprises need to ensure they are able to effectively store and secure this extremely vulnerable data.

A people-first philosophy for cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is no longer just a problem for IT professionals – all employees are on the frontline. In 2018, all employees will need to be engaged with cybersecurity training and understand how an attack can affect their job function and, more importantly, how to prevent these types of occurrences. In 2018, cybersecurity will continue to be more ingrained in the day-to-day business operations with a need for 24/7 real-time views and dedicated staff to ensure minimal disruption. With hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, companies not only need to invest in solution providers that can manage these threats, but they will also need to invest in training for their employees.

The Internet of Things will open even more doors to vulnerabilities

As more enterprises welcome connected devices and wearables into their organizations, they need to understand the risks associated with them. Hackers understand that these devices provide new vulnerabilities. Take the latest IoT botnet Reaper, for example. Reaper not only guesses the passwords of IoT devices, but it also uses known security flaws to insert and spread itself within devices. In 2018, we can expect to see more of these focused attacks not just on consumers, but targeting enterprises as well.

Worms will be the method of choice for launching malware and file-less attacks will continue

In 2018, more hackers will compromise networks with worms because it’s one of the fastest ways to spread malware. As we saw with the WannaCry attack, worms can also target a vast number of victims at a rapid pace. Additionally, file-less attacks will be more common and will easily proliferate throughout organizations in 2018.

Hackers do not need to install malware for these types of attacks; they can access existing, approved user applications that are known to be safe. In fact, the Ponemon Institute's "The State of Endpoint Security Risk Report" states that file-less attacks are almost 10x more likely to succeed than file-based attacks, presenting a challenge to organizations in 2018.

As new vulnerabilities emerge each day, and the threat landscape only continues to evolve, organizations need to ensure that they are taking proper precautionary measures in 2018. If they turn a blind eye, they run the risk of joining the 79 percent of executives who are unprepared and susceptible to coming threats.

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