For many years, we have been bringing you our Top IT Trends for technology that will change our world. Technology levels the playing field and offers opportunity with little bias. It gives power to the people and fuels positive change. But sadly, it also enables those that do harm. The exponential growth of cybercrime is also fueled by technological advancements exploited by criminals.
IT threats are growing faster than IT protections. In fact, threats are at epidemic proportions. CEO scams will target thousands of companies and cause losses in the billions. Total losses for all cybercrime will be over a trillion dollars this year with triple or quadruple growth in the foreseeable future. From email phishing to Facebook scams to credit card skimmers, the number of people using technology to scam their fellow human beings has reached alarming proportions. Technology provides an illusion so a scammer looks just like your boss or your Facebook friend or a legitimate credit card machine. Before you realize the fraud, you have sent the check or wired the funds or swiped your credit card. Wired money is usually gone for good, but even if you get fraudulent credit card charges reversed, in the end we all pay.
These bad deeds give technology a bad name. This year, dedicate yourself to protecting yourself, your company and technology's good name. Please don't become the next victim in a scam that causes financial and emotional harm. To help, we offer this year's Top IT Trends to keep you safe online.
Adaptive Security - The concept of cyber adaptive security has been around for decades. For many years, it seemed that the threats were being kept at bay through technological advances. Antivirus, malware protection, content filtering and other cyber protections offered continuous improvement in an adaptive strategy. Then it all changed.
No longer are attacks technological, they are social. Scammers put endless hours into finding and researching their victims. Whether in email, on Facebook, eBay or LinkedIn, the attacks became personal and targeted. Adaptive measures will catch up with the treats but it won't be quick and there will be trade-offs. Until technology is developed that can intercept social attacks, you will have to be your first defense.
This year, all the security platforms will lead with their adaptive security and advanced threat protection. We will also see a marked increase in the number of platforms for employee training for phishing and other common forms of cyberattacks.
What you can do. Make sure your protection platform includes advanced threat protection to protect your email, network, computers and mobile devices. Make it a priority this year to implement an employee training program. Continuous training is essential to your adaptive security strategy.
Smartphone Security - Phones certainly have come a long way. We use our mobile devices for so many tasks that need a diverse adaptive strategy to guard against the most common attacks. Since we use them on the go, we are more likely to be distracted. With smaller screens, we are less likely to see the big picture to avoid threats. Mobile phones are used for email, texting, Internet, file/picture sharing, gaming and even the occasional phone call. Each of these activities has a different protection strategy as summarized below:
Email protection - Mobile operating systems may not be susceptible to the same malicious code as desktops, but phishing is just as dangerous. Many phishing attacks trick you into entering your credentials and that is so easy to do on your mobile. Do not enter your credentials from a link in an email on your mobile phone.
Texting protection - Don't correspond with people you don't know. Block annoying numbers. Don't go to links from text. Turn off Premium SMS Messages with your provider especially if you have a company account. If you receive unauthorized text charges, call your provider.
Internet protection - Don't navigate to links from email. Be careful when surfing from your mobile devices. Avoid entering your credentials like username, password and pin on an Internet site with your mobile devices. If you need extra protection, there are apps for mobile security. Make sure to only install official apps.
Phone call protection - Ever wonder why people call you and hang up? They are harvesting phone numbers owned by real people that are likely to answer a call from strangers. Those numbers are then sold to scammers. There is a recurring scam that uses a recording of your "yes" answer to any question to pass through third-party charges. Always check your phone bill for unauthorized charges. Block nuisance and unwanted numbers. Try the "Should I Answer" app or website to know what others say about the number calling you.
App protection - You should only install official apps from your store. But even with that precaution, there are fake apps that look to steal your information and cause mischief on your device. Before downloading verify that it is from a trusted developer, read the reviews and check the publish date as fake apps will have a recent date. And if an app sounds too good to be true by promising free items and big discounts, best to stay away. If you believe you have downloaded a fake or malicious app - remove the app (for serious infections you may have to factory restore your device), change your passwords, monitor your phone, email and bank account for any strange behavior.
Stay happy, healthy and safe online in 2018!
Disclaimer: Like horoscopes, our predictions for the Top IT Trends of 2018 are general in nature but they are intended to help you stay safe online and profit from technology advances.