After you celebrate New Year’s Eve, it is time to get to work on those New Year’s resolutions! It is also a good time to reflect, prepare for new challenges, and brush up on security threats to watch out for. In 2019, we expect new technologies and channels to open up additional threat vectors for hackers. As businesses prepare for a new year, I did some research and compiled the list of the top 7 network security predictions.

Without a doubt, the rate of security breaches continues to rise each year. Our network security predictions below highlight the fact that attacks will be exploiting the known vulnerabilities.

Phishing

Phishing attempts are becoming more sophisticated over time. For example, it can be an email that appears to be from your supervisor asking to download and sign an important document. Clicking on links in emails is extremely dangerous, especially those that you weren’t expecting or that come from unknown sources. Whenever possible, check in with the sender that they are the person that sent you the link, especially if you do not recognize the domain on the link and are not expecting it to be shared via email.

Document/PDF Attacks

Cybercriminals will continue exploiting users’ trust in PDFs and Microsoft Office applications in 2019. It will involve getting users to download attached or linked documents. Their end goal is to get to download a random “executable” that’s disguised as a normal document. The reason these attacks are successful is because they feed on innate human curiosity. How many of us would avoid the temptation of clicking on juicy-sounding attachments such as “Payroll2019.xlsx” or “JohnDoe_IRS_Police_Warrant_Open_Immediately.docx?”

Bad Password Habits

Due to overcomplicated password requirements, employees often re-use similar and predictable passwords across professional and personal websites. Cybercriminals can hack into badly designed—and often badly protected—password databases on a 3rd-tier website and obtain user credentials. Then they can use the credentials to gain access into personal emails and corporate systems. Cloud-based single sign-on with two-factor authentication for your personal and company websites and databases might be a good workaround.

Cryptojacking

There is no doubt that criminals will continue to employ malware for profit in 2019.  Cryptojacking, also known as cryptomining malware, uses both invasive methods of initial access as well as drive-by scripts on websites. It affects endpoints, mobile devices, and servers. Cryptojacking runs in the background, quietly stealing spare machine resources to make greater profits for less risk.

Software

We have all heard about exploitation of software flaws as a longstanding tactic used in cyber attacks. But attempts to actively subvert software development processes are also increasing. In 2019, we will see an increase in the use of 3rd-party applications or services as the back door into networks. In most cases, it will be done through the corruption of third-party firmware or software. Such back doors can bypass traditional protective and detection capabilities and infect the corporate network.

Cryptocurrency Ecosystem Attacks

Use of cryptocurrencies for everyday transactions is becoming commonplace. We are likely to see a related rise in attacks against individuals and organizations who use cryptocurrency for their business operations and transaction options.

IoT Security Risks

Each year, more and more devices, such as Google Home/Alexa, phones, thermostats, lightbulbs, etc.  are being connected en masse with little to no thought for security IoT-based attacks threaten consumers’ privacy, information, and identities, which is why we need to be mindful of growing too-interconnected.

Concluding Thoughts

With the network security predictions in mind, what can we do to prepare for inevitable attacks and develop network security strategy? How can we obtain the network visibility and in a way that is easily managed?

Many of today’s vendors support NetFlow technology that records conversation data. With this flow data, our network traffic analytics system, Scrutinizer, baselines the expected behaviors of end systems and applications. It then incorporates dozens of security algorithms that analyze flow and metadata details, looking for communication patterns and behaviors inconsistent with the baseline.

Advanced Security Analytics

With the help of NetFlow telemetry, our security algorithms can identify malware that would otherwise fly under the radar. Rich forensic data and fast reporting provide the information that you need to find root cause and mitigate the risk.

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions improving the security posture and gaining deeper visibility but you don’t know where to start? Why not give Scrutinizer a try?

Anna McElhany

Anna McElhany

Anna is a Technical Support Engineer at Plixer. She is dedicated to resolving any product-related issues, assisting with device configurations, and making sure customers are getting the most out of Scrutinizer. Anna holds a degree in Computer Technology, the AWS Certified SysOps Administrator - Associate, CCNA R&S, CCNA Security, and CompTIA Network + and Security + certifications, as well as NSTISSI Security INFOSEC Professional recognition. In her free time, Anna enjoys spending time with friends and family, flying drones, and hiking.

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