The evolution of technology has been fast and unforgiving for anyone who has failed to keep pace. From the days of a simple, single-screen setup on a mainframe, the idea of an office with everyone working in the same room has swiftly been eroded.
The introduction of laptops, tablets and email on the move have normalized the idea of working remotely, an idea that has been further supported by the continued evolution and implementation of cloud computing. Wherever you and your team are, you also have access to all your digital services.
However, as the technology evolves, potential security threats increase. Hackers will find new exploits and methods to cause disruption for your business. As a result, 2017 will see connected devices coming under increased threat.
As a new method of safety, the growth of biometric security has been dramatic in the last few years. With Apple’s Touch ID on their newer devices and banks trailing a series of voice and retinal identification, it seems that the traditional password might be facing antiquity.
Biometrics might be more technologically advanced, but does it automatically follow that it is therefore more secure? Claims from 2015 suggest that retinal scans could be deceived simply with a high-resolution image. Likewise, researchers have shown that high quality video can be enough to access some devices. Even voice recognition can be easily circumvented with a short recording or stolen voicemail.
As safe as these new securities are, do not be surprised to read more about biometric hacking in the coming year.
- Internet of Things
Domestically, the Internet is rarely thought of as something that poses a direct threat, but an attack in 2016 caused major interference for some of the largest online services including Twitter, Amazon, and Netflix. Worryingly, this attack began by manipulating default settings in a range of domestic technologies including digital cameras.
This might not sound like a major concern for small businesses but, as more and more seemingly innocent devices become connected and join the Internet of Things, this threat will become increasingly prevalent.
The rise of mobile technology hit a new high in 2016 as browsing on a desktop was overtaken by mobile for the first time. The danger here is that relatively young mobile operating systems, like Android and iOS from Apple are now being specifically targeted by malicious software.
We saw this develop in 2016 when Apple had to release a patch to protect against the “Pegasus” malware package that could collect contact information. Similarly, Google redoubled their efforts in removing apps from the Google Play store that potentially posed a threat to their users.
As the amount of work done on mobile devices continues to rise, this is a huge area of security to watch in 2017.
Devices can have all kinds of elaborate security but human flaws leave any system with the potential to be hacked. It makes sense then, that hackers will always try to find a vulnerability to make their job easier.
When targeting big business, rather than battling against dense and sophisticated security measures, it is much more likely that hackers will look towards contractors. They are then able to make the most of less sophisticated security systems and human error to get information required to attack bigger companies.
As this continues to happen there will be an increasing demand on smaller businesses to demonstrate vast improvements in security to guarantee big contracts in 2017.
- The Cloud
At a major international security conference in May 2016, a list of the “treacherous 12” revealed the top vulnerabilities of cloud computing. These included the risk of denial of service (DoS) attacks and broken authentications.
Despite these risks, cloud services will continue to be popular because of convenience. It is increasingly relied on for modern businesses and has the added benefit of reducing the cost of infrastructure. The more reliance and benefit it offers, the less likely it is that cloud computing will suffer a decline in the coming years.
But popularity does not negate the safety risks and, as more companies use these services, it would not be surprising to see reports of cloud related hacks and data loss increasing.
Looking forward, Tony Anscombe, Senior Security Evangelist, AVG Business has predicted what threats may face businesses the New Year, “Overall, I think the big story of 2017 is going to be about the broadening range of tactics, channels and platforms that hackers try to exploit to steal data and extort money from businesses.”
“Manufacturers are racing to get products to market and security is being left behind… businesses of all shapes and sizes need to be careful about what new tech they adopt and how they use it. They also need to bridge their knowledge gaps, 1 in 3 businesses we recently surveyed were clueless about ransomware for instance. Small businesses, in particular, need to be more aware of how their data and systems can be hacked and exploited.”
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