As more of our physical world becomes digital, crime that was once rooted in “the real world” will become prevalent in cyberspace. From thousands of wordpress sites hacked, to malware spread via fake cellphone towers, 2017 saw a myriad of devastating cyber attacks and hacks.

Because preventing damage from these threats means preparing for them in the first place, it’s essential to consider the past as well as the future of cyber security trends and threats. Here are the top cyber security risks to watch out for.


Data breaches aren’t slowing down.

The cyber attack on the Equifax credit reporting agency in 2017, which led to the theft of Social Security numbers, birth dates, and other data on almost half the U.S. population, was a reminder that hackers are thinking big when it comes to targets.

Other companies that hold lots of sensitive information will be in their sights in 2018. Marc Goodman, a security expert and the author of Future Crimes, thinks data brokers who hold information about things such as people’s personal Web browsing habits will be especially popular targets. “These companies are unregulated, and when one leaks, all hell will break loose,” he says.


Ransomware reigns supreme.

In the last couple of years, ransomware has become a major headline grabber. In 2017 alone, ransomware growth topped 2,500 percent, hitting hospitals, private businesses, and individual users alike. Michael Nuncic with Kroll Ontrack reports that ransomware has even begun spreading to Mac, Linux, and Android/iOS smartphones.

“Until recently, Windows PCs were hit primarily by attacks with ransomware,” he writes, “but now hackers are also targeting Macs and Linux PCs. More recently smartphones or tablets with an Android or IOS operating system became a target, too.”

Unfortunately, the reign of ransomware is far from over. Most industry experts agree that this type of malware will remain prevalent through 2018.


The Internet of Things (IoT), or Internet of threats?

The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) has been phenomenal for innovation. As Ohio University’s online resources point out, the IoT alone has played a huge part in transportation route planning, accident prevention, safety, and even the development of the autonomous car.

In our homes, the rise of Alexa, Cortana, and Siri home devices have simplified ordering and driven in a new era of voice control. Smart fridges, toasters, and homes — almost everything is “smart” and connected to the internet.

The bad news is that every connection is a doorway, and that’s exactly what attackers are looking for. This is because IoT products are manufactured with poor security, so they become easy targets for deploying malicious software.


AI, the weapon of choice.

This year will see the emergence of an AI-driven arms race. Security firms and researchers have been using machine-learning models, neural networks, and other AI technologies for a while to better anticipate attacks, and to spot ones already underway. It’s highly likely that hackers are adopting the same technology to strike back. “AI unfortunately gives attackers the tools to get a much greater return on their investment,” explains Steve Grobman, chief technology officer at McAfee.

An example is “spear phishing”, which uses carefully targeted digital messages to trick people into installing malware or sharing sensitive data. Machine-learning models can now match humans at the art of crafting convincing fake messages, and they can churn out far more of them without tiring. Hackers will take advantage of this to drive more phishing attacks. They’re also likely to use AI to help design malware that’s even better at fooling “sandboxes,” or security programs that try to spot rogue code before it is deployed in companies’ systems.

With this in mind, it is clear understanding the emerging cyber-security threats is critical to surviving the digital world unscathed.

Now you can, through the Masterly learning model.

In our upcoming 4- part time Cyber Security course you will learn:

  • A fundamental understanding of what Cyber Security is and how it’s effecting every business in today’s digital world
  • An understanding of who the hackers are and what motivates them
  • How to plan ahead and prevent cyber attacks
  • How to detect a breach in your organization
  • How to react and respond to a cyber attack from a legal, technical, internal and public perspective


Check out further details on our Cyber Security, Strategy for preventing, detecting and responding to threats course, where students will learn from information security and management consultant at Sententia, Tony Vizza.


Digital Bee // Marketing + Social Media Content Production // Masterly // GG