The technology sector is highly alert to a host of new and evolving cybersecurity threats. Increased cyber-attacks with malware, phishing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrencies, and more put corporate world, government and individual data at constant risk
The industry tends to suffer from a serious lack of data security. Professionals and analysts warn against higher stakes, as the problem of cybercrime also threatens openly shaking public faith in such cherished ideals as democracy, capitalism, and personal privacy. Heather Ricciuto, from IBM Security, told cnbc.com.
“Honestly, we’re all at risk, whether you’re talking about a large enterprise or an individual.”
In its annual Threat Horizon Report, the non-profit information security forum, “the leading world authority on cyber, information security and risk management,” warns of the increased potential for:
- Distortion: The deliberate dissemination of disinformation, including by bots and automated sources, undermines confidence in the credibility of the information.
- Deterioration: The ability of organizations to handle their own information is adversely impacted by exponential advancement in intelligence capabilities plus competing demands raised by changing national security and individual privacy regulations.
- Disruption: Depending on the fragile network provides the opportunity for premeditated internet interruptions that can make trade workflow onto the knees and the chance to hijack the Internet of Things by using ransomware.
So it’s definitely worth evaluating the greatest risks that people and companies face online. Here is a closer look at the biggest privacy threats.
The Biggest Online Privacy Threats
Here’re the biggest threats which every internet user should be aware of while browsing, streaming or downloading online.
Threat # 1: Ad-tracking
Ironically, or maybe not, your personal details are most likely at risk when you use apps and internet resources that most people don’t care twice about. Google and Facebook, for example, have made an immensely profitable business by learning as much about you as possible and using it to display advertisements that they think are relevant.
Most of them use behind-the-scenes technologies to monitor what you do, not only at their services, but when you browse the internet. This is what allows them to show you the sort of creepy advertisements for products you’ve just looked at everywhere. You know, those that make you feel like someone has to be watching.
Threat # 2: Phishing Gets More Sophisticated
Phishing attacks are becoming more advanced, where digital messages are carefully transmitted to fool people by clicking on a link that can install malware or reveal sensitive data.
Now that employees in most organizations have become more aware of the dangers of email phishing or of clicking on suspicious links, hackers are increasingly using machine learning, for instance, to make sure that recipients unwittingly compromise networks and systems of their organization. These attacks allow hackers to rob user logins, credit card credentials, and other types of personal financial data and to have access to private databases.
Threat # 3: Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware attacks are said to cost victims billions of dollars annually, as hackers use technologies that kidnap individual or organizational databases and keep all data for ransom. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is credited for helping to fuel ransomware attacks by allowing ransom demands to be paid anonymously.
As organizations continue to concentrate on improving their security to defend against ransomware attacks, some experts believe that hackers are targeting other potentially profitable ransomware victims, including high net worth individuals.
Threat # 4: IoT Attacks
The Internet of Things grows ever more omnipresent (according to Statista.com, the number of devices connected to the IoT is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025). It does, of course, including laptops and tablets, as well as routers, webcams, household devices, smartwatches, medical devices, fabricators, vehicles, and even home security systems.
Linked computers are useful for customers and are now used by many businesses to save money by obtaining a large amount of valuable knowledge and modifying business processes. But more connected devices pose a greater risk, increasing the susceptibility of IoT networks to cyber-attack and infiltration. Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can be used to cause mayhem, overload, or lock critical, financially beneficial equipment.
Threat # 5: Browser Extensions
A study says that many browser extensions people use to capture and sell their web surfing history as marketing research. This is right. Your personal details can be sold via the plugins you add to Chrome or Firefox.
Google and Mozilla, fortunately, are pretty much all over this one, but there are things you can do as well. The main one: do not install browser extensions from third parties that need the authorization to collect your info. You may also want to consider a more secure, privacy-friendly browser that disables cross-site tracking by default, such as Brave or even Safari.
Threat # 6: Smart Medical Devices and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)
As many patient data has now moved online medical professionals profit from the advances of smart medical technology, the medical field is also undergoing a significant evolution. However, as the health sector adapts to the new world, there are a number of concerns around privacy, safety and cybersecurity threats.
Hackers are targeting the many gaps in their security defences, with hospitals and medical facilities still transitioning to the digitalization of patient medical records. And now that patient medical records are all mostly online, due to the confidential information they hold, they are a prime target for hackers.
Threat # 7: Webcam Hacking
Honestly, this is probably the least about the breach of privacy, mainly because it is the least likely to happen- even though we have just learned of a malfunction at Zoom, a popular video conference program that will cause a malicious website to trigger the camera without your consent or knowledge (the company has since patched the flaw).
It’s just the most shocking and terrifying thing to think about. Nobody likes to think that someone beyond their knowledge might watch them physically.
The good news is that some manufacturers now offer actual “kill switch,” computers, which means you can monitor whether or not the webcam is active with a button or switch.
Threat # 8: State-Sponsored Attacks
In addition to hackers who want to profit by the theft of data, entire nation-states are using their cyber capabilities to infiltrate other governments and attack critical infrastructure. Today, cybercrime is a major threat to the government and the nation as a whole, not only to the private sector and individuals. By 2020, state-sponsored attacks with attacks on critical infrastructure are expected to increase.
Many of these attacks target systems and infrastructure run by the government, but also private sector organizations. According to a report from Thomson Reuters Labs:
“State-sponsored cyberattacks are an emerging and significant risk to private enterprise that will increasingly challenge those sectors of the business world that provide convenient targets for settling geopolitical grievances.”
How to Stay Protected Against these Online Privacy Threats?
Follow these easy steps to stay protected against these online threats:
- Download a strong antivirus on your device to protect your device from malicious threats.
- Use a secure VPN service to stay anonymous online and to encrypt your online data.
- Use a private browser that keep your online footprints hidden from third-parties.
- Always delete your cookies after you get offline from the internet.
- Do not use similar password on all your accounts and create unique, complex and lengthy passwords.
Stay safe, stay protected ONLINE!