TMCnet Feature
May 13, 2019

Cybersecurity trends and challenges in 2019

The scourge of computer crime is a serious concern for regular users and businesses, but it has also caused a global talent gap. Analysts at Cybersecurity Ventures predict that 3.5 million vacant IT security positions will appear by 2021. In other words, the number of jobs in this area will likely triple compared to today’s statistics.

The cybersecurity sector is expanding at a rapid pace. In the U.S. alone, the number of vacant positions in the industry saw a whopping 67% increase in 2015-2018, going up from 209,000 to 350,000. A similar trend is being observed in other countries, clearly demonstrating that the InfoSec domain is booming.

With that said, there is also a flip side of this growth. All these numbers don’t necessarily denote that computers, mobile devices, and networks will become any safer. The security industry has to combat new electronic menaces every single day. A continuous rapid increase in the number of data breaches, malware strains, and hacking crews out there is a serious challenge because the army of “white hats” cannot catch up with the adversaries anyway.

To top it off, when it comes to tech proficiency the crooks may outstrip inexperienced security researchers who study the subject at the university. Another reason why malefactors are one step ahead is that they are in constant pursuit of new attack mechanisms and might adopt creative tactics in their modus operandi.

Here’s a lowdown on the main InfoSec challenges and trends that will likely make themselves felt this year.

Fine-tuning of Internet-borne extortion

Ransomware continues to be among the most disconcerting cybercrime phenomena. Although the total number of these destructive incursions decreased by 20% in 2018, it went up 12% for businesses. Obviously, the current decline is cold comfort and probably the lull before the storm.

Despite the growing risks, about 20% of enterprises have no disaster recovery plan in place and don’t maintain backups of their proprietary data. It means they run the risk of losing all their valuable information, including customer records and applications if they fall victim to a ransomware attack. Without a plan B, the only way for these companies to sort things out is to cough up the ransom and hope that the malefactors will stay true to their promises and provide working decryption keys in return.

In addition to crypto ransomware, one more form of cyber extortion relies on DDoS attacks that hit victim’s websites and won’t let go until a ransom is submitted.

AI being added to the protection mix

Security technologies based on artificial intelligence, such as machine learning and data mining solutions, are shaping up to be revolutionary for the InfoSec industry.

Analysts have singled out the most groundbreaking AI areas. These include static image recognition, algorithmic trading enhancement, and scalable data processing in healthcare. One of the top 10 sectors is cybersecurity threat prevention, which is predicted to get investments amounting to $2.47 billion globally by 2025.

Nowadays, security experts mostly respond to cyber onslaughts after the fact. In contrast to this reactive approach, new cutting-edge AI solutions will allow for analyzing enormous volumes of logs and web traffic data in real time. Owing to such a proactive technique, malware should be blocked before it reaches the target.

Nevertheless, human involvement is still an inalienable element of these systems, where artificial intelligence is a critical complementary instrument. The outcome depends on the expertise of the specialists who create the system, control its operation, and scrutinize the results.

IoT threats

Smart gadgets are taking the world by storm and their number is quickly increasing. According to researchers, nearly every American household has several smartphones and tablets, one or a few PCs, and a streaming media device.

Furthermore, voice assistants that leverage speech recognition technology are gaining popularity – Amazon Echo is a good example. These connected devices can tell you the news, order food, call a taxi, let you know what to expect from the weather, and do many more useful things in an interactive way.

Here’s the caveat, though: the vast majority of modern IoT entities are low-hanging fruit in terms of countermeasures for hacking. Regular computers are typically much more secure in this context. As per a report released by HP several years ago, about 70% of commonly used IoT devices have gaping holes in their security. There haven’t been any game-changing improvements in this regard ever since.

The bottom line

Let’s face it – cybercrooks are getting smarter and more ingenious year by year. Therefore, security experts should be agile enough to take up the challenge and fend off the growingly complex attacks via ever-evolving defenses.

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