Cyber Security

Cyber security is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access. These breaches range from having network outages to data compromised by hackers and to computer viruses in computers.

Businesses collect, process and store a great deal of confidential information on computers and transmit that data across networks every day. Sensitive information, when in the hands of unauthorized individuals can easily jeopardize the performance and operations of a company. More so, allowing customers’ data to be stolen by hackers is not good for business. It damages corporate reputations and erodes the public’s comfort with sharing their data. Companies are therefore increasingly growing aware of these threats and are allocating resources towards protecting their networks and data against attack.

However, one of the most problematic elements of cyber security is the quickly and constantly evolving nature of security risks. The traditional approach has always been to focus most resources on the most crucial system components and protect
against the biggest known threats, which necessitated leaving some less important system components undefended and some less dangerous risks not protected against? Such an approach is insufficient in the current environment.

The cyber security market is evolving at a rapid pace. Tools are becoming more complex and sophisticated and it is becoming all-too-easy to launch an attack.
Criminals are finding new ways to expose and steal data – and their motivation can be political or criminal. This is fuelling a huge increase in breaches.

The cyber security market is going through a period of rapid growth and innovation as industry leaders and policymakers struggle to contain the effects of cyber-attacks and data breaches. There’s a growing realization that cybersecurity requires budgetary commitment, sincere collaboration, and a solid stratagem.

Some of the challenges expected in the field of cyber security in the 2016 include:

1. Ransomware

Several security experts are forecasting an increase in ransomware attacks in 2016, whereby criminals hack into a system, encrypt its data and then demand a ransom before they decrypt it. The threat is expected to take on a new, larger role by concentrating attacks on enterprises, holding critical assets hostage in return for even bigger money.

2. Internet of Things

Gadgets and objects wirelessly transmitting sensor data to each other and central computers will accelerate in 2016, leading to a host of new applications – and a host of new cyber security threats.
This trend is often dubbed the “Internet of Things”, or IoT for short. “Machine-to-machine” technology is expected to move beyond industrial applications, such as utility infrastructure monitoring, and into agriculture, health, smart metering, and environmental research.

The downside of this sort of greater connectivity means more points of entry for hackers constantly on the look-out for weak points in any network.

3. The Mobile Revolution

Smartphones have revolutionized how business is conducted and the mobile revolution will continue to roll on in 2016, with the smartphone becoming the primary tool for interacting with businesses and each other. Location-based services will proliferate, with consumers receiving highly targeted advertisements and special offers based on where they happen to be, right down to which part of a shop they are standing in. Smartphones will extend mobile connectivity to lower-income people in developing economies, providing them new services and marketing opportunities for business. Mobile payments will also increase.

These developments in mobile technology are expected to increase the risk of threat from cybercriminals.

4. Hardware

Attacks on all types of hardware and firmware will likely continue, and the market for tools that make them possible will expand and grow. Virtual machines could be targeted with system firmware rootkits.

5. Wearables

Although most wearable devices store a relatively small amount of personal information, wearable platforms could be targeted by cyber criminals working to compromise the smartphones used to manage them. The industry will work to protect potential attack surfaces such as operating system kernels, networking and Wi-Fi software, user interfaces, memory, local files and storage systems, virtual machines, web apps, and access control and security software.

6. Attacks Through Employee Systems

Organizations will continue to improve their security postures, implement the latest security technologies, work to hire
talented and experienced people, create effective policies, and remain vigilant. Thus, attackers are likely to shift their focus and increasingly attack enterprises through their employees, by targeting, among other things, employees’ relatively insecure home systems to gain access to corporate networks.

7. Cloud Services

Cyber criminals could seek to exploit weak or ignored corporate security policies established to protect cloud services. Home to an increasing amount of business
confidential information, such services, if exploited, could compromise organizational business strategy, company portfolio strategies, next generation innovations, financials, acquisition and divestiture plans, employee data and other data.

2016 will likely see owners and operators push back on manufacturers and suppliers and refuse to accept full accountability for cyber security risks to their control systems. These new market forces will push vendors to be more accountable for the security of their products, services and solutions they deliver.

Countries are also expected to come up with more compliance laws on matters relating to cyber security for companies operating within their jurisdictions.

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