If 2018 was the year of the ransomware attacks, 2019 will likely be known as the year our over-reliance on technology was tested. Cyber threats to business are constantly evolving and many companies are open in their admission that they do not have the resources to keep up. As a leading supplier of IT support in London, we work with many companies that are doing all they can to protect their business from the threat of cyber attacks, but we know there are countless more that may fall foul of these threats in 2019 and beyond.
Many large companies have generators in place to ensure they can handle power outages, but what would your company do if it was the internet and not the power that went down? As a society, we’ve become reliant on the internet to function, so what happens if this connectivity is threatened? With global political tensions rising, it isn’t hard to see a time in the not too distant future when bringing down the internet is an act of war that would have dire political, commercial and societal consequences.
IOT backdoor for ransomware
The Internet Of Things allows us to order dog food at the touch of a button or control our home heating system from halfway across the world. What was supposed to make life easier could soon become a nightmare as ransomware attacks use the unsecured connections as a backdoor into our lives. The office printer is often the weakest link for many businesses.
If you’ve ever wondered why the majority of ransomware attacks originate from a handful of places around the world, it often has nothing to do with the more relaxed laws in the region. Instead, it’s all down to the banks in that area and what they will allow criminals to get away with. With the rise of cryptocurrencies, criminals can remain anonymous and carry out their nefarious businesses without worrying about their bank giving them up. For businesses, this is likely to result in a surge in scams and cyber attacks.
The data problem
With the introduction of GDPR, businesses and organisations were reminded that data is a precious gift to be protected, but that it could also quickly become a liability if handled incorrectly. Improper data handling practices are likely to continue to be an issue well into 2019 so companies should think carefully about what they want to hang on to and how they plan to keep it safe.
Manipulation of workers
The trust between employer and employee could soon be put to the test if key workers are manipulated or blackmailed into handing over sensitive company information. Ensuring file permissions are monitored and updated and that checks are in place to ensure individuals are only accessing the information they need to do their job will be essential in 2019 and beyond.
Concentration of power
We rely on Google to drive traffic to our websites, we send emails exclusively through Gmail and our work documents are all stored on Google Drive. Sound familiar? Our over-reliance on a small number of tech giants to control our business operations makes companies vulnerable to attacks, manipulation and data loss. Time to start diversifying your supplier’s list.
Ignoring existing threats
Sadly, a big problem facing many IT departments is a willingness to ignore existing threats, just because they haven’t been exploited yet. Regular reviews and revisions of your IT security policy and disaster recovery plan are essential, no matter the size of your business. We often hear companies say they don’t bother with IT security because they are so small, but it is actually the small companies that are at greater risk. A sudden loss of income will be a small dent in the profits of a large corporation, but it could lead a small company to cease trading altogether.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running for President of the United States or running a bakery in Ealing, fake news can damage you both. With sophisticated bots able to perpetuate fake news about people and organisations, we can expect to see an erosion of trust in the internet and social media. For companies, this might mean a spate of bad reviews about your business, or it could mean your customers doubting the authenticity of the real ones. Having a plan in place to deal with fake news and information about your business is essential.
Rush to implement AI
Artificial intelligence is starting to crop up in more and more business settings. We like the ease of use for company chatbots and it’s proving handy to take care of some low-key automated tasks, but we could soon be facing cybersecurity threats as part of a rush to roll it out. An AI race could see companies rushing to implement this type of technology without fully understanding the limits and capabilities, exposing weaknesses without realising it.
This has always been the biggest threat to cybersecurity. No matter what we put in place to protect our data and systems, humans will always find a way to circumnavigate these protections, either knowingly or by accident. We all know someone who ignores browser warnings and switches off their anti-virus software because the alerts are bothering them. In 2019 and beyond, companies will need to be aware of the external threats but also take a close look at the internal threats to their business. Lack of education is often the reason that small-scale attacks can quickly become large-scale problems.
If you’re ready to upgrade your IT consultancy and review your IT security, get in touch with the team at Purple Lattice. As a leading supplier of IT support in London, we offer affordable IT support for companies large and small.