Cyber criminals are constantly figuring out new loopholes and new technologies with the aim of targeting businesses and individuals. Here’s a look at the future of cybersecurity and ways you can help better protect your information.
Cybersecurity: 2018 and the Future
In 2018, we’ve become more concerned about information sharing through social media after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm, gained access to the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users. Facebook also announced more recently that hackers may have accessed at least 50 million other users’ information. Social media companies have upgraded their privacy settings and made them more accessible to users, as well as cracked down on fake accounts.
We’ve also become more aware of cybersecurity attacks from other nations, as well as ransomware attacks – holding networks hostage and demanding payment. The city of Baltimore’s 911 dispatch system, not to mention online services for the city of Atlanta, were victim to ransomware attacks this year.
Another type of cyber attack that may become more common in the future are so-called “cyber-physical” attacks. These occur when hackers target cities’ and countries’ infrastructures, including power grids, transportation systems and even hospital chains or airports. This could leave you vulnerable – at least to inconvenience, if not physically harmed.
How You Can Better Protect Yourself
— Be especially careful when evaluating email or text messages and make sure you determine the sender is legitimate before replying, clicking on any links or opening any attachments. Make sure your operating systems and browsers are updated, so you’ll have the latest security patches.
— Pay close attention to URLs you visit. Malicious sites may appear legitimate, but may use a different spelling or a different domain, such as .com instead of .net.
— Consider placing a security freeze on your credit reports.
— Use a password manager to manage your account passwords.
As far as cyber-physical attacks, there unfortunately isn’t much you can do to prevent a hacker from targeting a system that may affect you. In general, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and take steps to ensure your personal safety.
The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) offers detailed guides for computer users on a variety of cybersecurity issues.
The information technology field is continually advancing, from virtual assistants to computer-connected vehicles. While that can be a great thing, it also means that hackers and fraudsters will continue to find ways to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems – and in your data – to target personal information. Staying aware and up-to-date on current and emerging threats is an important way to help ensure you’re better protected.