Cybercrime is now regarded as one of the most dangerous threats posed to businesses because of its serious impact on growth and a country’s economy at large.
Government entities, non-profit organizations, private companies and citizens are all potential targets of several cybercriminal syndicates on the prowl on the widely-used Internet.
Prevention of cybercriminal activities has now become a critical aspect in the fight against cybercrime. Its mainly based on the concepts of awareness and information-sharing.
A proper security posture is the best defense against cybercrime, according to experts’ prescriptions. Every single user of technology must be aware of the risks of exposure to cyber threats. They should be educated about the best practices to adopt in order to reduce and mitigate those risks.
Which is why Microsoft, a global tech company, has predicted five critical cyber security threats that businesses need to watch out for and take protective measures against in the year 2016 and beyond.
The first critical cyber security threat is that mobile malware growth will result in more security issues. Microsoft predicts that 2016 is that year when cyber criminals will focus on targeting mobile devices by attacking underlying operating systems and releasing more malware-infected apps.
The adoption of mobile payment systems will also lead to a surge in hacking activities-related to stealing information from new payment processing technologies like EMV credit cards, contactless RFID smart cards and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
Microsoft advises users to prevent this by ensuring sensitive data protection through the use of built-in encryption capabilities like Enterprise Data Protection and BitLocker.
Secondly, Trend Micro, a Microsoft partner predicts rapid growth in online extortion and hacking, which is expected in to shoot up 2016 as more sophisticated ways are now open to steal information and gain control of web-enabled devices.
Trend Micro views that malware programs, like ransom-ware, are potentially one of the most dangerous types of computer malware which might be used more frequently by hackers to encrypt the victim’s personal information like photos or conversations and extort money online to regain control of online accounts and devices.
Ransom-ware attack can be prevented by carrying out the following preventive measures:
- Scrutinize emails before opening them
- Avoid clicking embedded links found in unverified emails
- Back up your important files
- Regularly update software programs and applications
- Use a layered protection suite
The third cyber threat is spear phishing attack, which is an e-mail spoofing fraud attempt more likely conducted by perpetrators out for financial gain, trade secrets or military information that targets a specific organization seeking unauthorized access to confidential data.
This type of cyber threats which was formerly limited to email and SMS phishing is now commonly used by hackers creating password recovery scams. All a criminal hacker needs is the victim’s email address and a mobile phone number to start a password recovery process and compromise their victims’ accounts.
Microsoft advises that businesses should enlighten their customers on the need for built-in threat protection on PCs and devices with Windows Defender. And also, partners need to help customers to detect and get alerts about security breaches with Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA) as part of the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), according to the tech company.
The fourth cyber threat predicted by Microsoft is sophisticated use of social engineering and spear-phishing tactics by cyber criminals to manipulate control systems and gain initial access to the steel mill’s office network, which can cause physical damages such as damages to equipment.
Microsoft warns its partners to back up and run their customers’ businesses with “Azure Site Recovery”, which automatically recovers solution in the cloud in the event of this type of hack attack.
The fifth cyber threats are the attacks on devices that connect to IoT (Internet of Things). Internet of things is a network of physical objects such as devices and other items that can collect and exchange data via a connectivity without human interference.
Hackers can easily access private or secure networks on devices that connect to IoT through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, thereby causing mobile device-driven attacks.
IoT devices can be protected with the use of Microsoft Intune, which provides mobile devices management, mobile application management, and PC management capabilities from the cloud with tools such as comprehensive setting management for mobile devices, including remote actions such as passcode reset, device lock, and data encryption, Microsoft says.