Forrester Research On Cyber Security in 2018 – Decoding Their Predictions

According to Forrester, consumers and businesses will face a unique set of challenges in 2018. This study by the Forrester research and advisory firm shows that cyber security and data protection will be tested due to rising tensions in international relations, the proliferation of connected devices, and the increasing importance of the data economy.

As everyday life becomes more and more reliant on internet connected devices, safeguarding the emerging internet of things (IoT) and improving cyber security protocols is more important than ever. Forrester Research predicts that six interconnected challenges will impact the IoT and cyber security in 2018.

 Here, we’ll explore these predictions and attempt to decode what they mean.

Private Entities Will Provide Reliable Identity Verification

Currently, government entities are the primary provider of reliable identity verification. That will begin to change in 2018.

Security breaches like the Equifax incident clearly demonstrate that no database is completely secure. Even government backed agencies are at risk for identity data theft.

According to Forrester, large banks like Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, and Wells Fargo will take on identity verification responsibilities. This already occurs on a limited scale, for example—some automatic airline terminals accept credit cards as identity verification when printing a boarding pass. Look to see more expansion of private identity verification in the coming year.

What this means for your cyber security and data protection—Forrester recommends evaluating various identity verification service providers. Prioritize levels of support, available coverage, compliance, data security protocols, and company reputation when making your choice.

Ransomware Will Evolve To Impact Merchant Services

Ransomware attacks will continue to increase in 2018. The WannaCry ransomware attack that took place in May 2017 highlights the increased risk of attack from this malicious security breach. In fact, ransomware attacks tripled on businesses during 2017. For individuals, ransomware attacks doubled during 2017.

Ransomware attacks will continue to evolve in 2018, focusing on merchant services and point of sale systems. Because many point of sale (POS) systems utilize end-to-end encryption it is much more difficult for hackers to steal credit card data from them.

For this reason, hackers are turning to ransomware attacks to monetize security breaches on POS systems. They will use ransomware to lock small business out of their POS systems, rendering them unable to conduct business.

Protect your valuable assets by creating and instituting a strong security system and data recovery plan. Daily backups can help you avoid costly gaps in service caused by ransomware attacks.

IoT Will See Increased Attacks

In 2018, over 11 billion connected devices will make up the IoT. The IoT and cyber security will continue to grow evermore interconnected in 2018 and beyond. That’s because the IoT is one of the fastest growing markets in technology. In fact, by 2020 it is expected that there will be over 21 billion connected devices.

While that number represents a wide range of opportunities for businesses and consumers, it also represents increased opportunities for attacks on cyber security and data protection. 

IoT-based attacks will only continue to increase in 2018. However, these attacks won’t simply be targeted to create chaos, or be motivated politically, militarily, or socially—they’ll be largely motivated by financial reasons.

Combined with ransomware and other malicious breaches, the IoT will be attacked in an effort to disrupt normal operating conditions in order to extort financial gain.

Forrester recommends auditing and preparing existing security protocols to deal with the technological strain of IoT.

What’s more, edge computing and other non-centralized network capabilities require improvements in organizational readiness, focus on compliance, strengthening passwords, updating encryption implementation, and ensuring adequate patching to protect and secure sensitive data and access points.

Elections Will Be Targeted

The US clearly has systemic vulnerabilities in its voting systems. Many of these systems utilize software to cast, count, verify, and report votes. While intelligence agencies have found no evidence of election tampering thus far, there are reported instances of election breaches that have security experts worried about coming elections.

This clearly demonstrates that cyber security and data protection have real-world consequences beyond lost revenue or identity theft—the very fabric of our democracy is at stake.

We may very well see attempts to undermine the integrity of the 2018 midterm elections.

Unless you work for the government, you may feel there is little you can do to combat this cyber security threat. However, there are ways you can aid in the fight to protect fair elections; the backbone of our government.

Volunteer to assist at your local voting precinct. If you are a managed services professional you can even donate your time and expertise to auditing local security networks.

Employee Privacy Rights Will Be Tested

With so much day to day business conducted online, it’s become much easier for employers to monitor the actions and activities of their employees. While digital monitoring is an effective way to help avoid data breach due to employ error and can help dissuade malicious actions, it may be viewed as an invasion of privacy.

Indeed, the European Court of Human Rights recently ruled that employees must be notified in advance if employers plan to monitor their work email accounts. This is just the beginning.

The best way to avoid these sticky legal situations is to develop and implement privacy rules that cover how, when, and why you will monitor employee behavior. Ensure every member of your staff is aware of the policy.

Blockchain Will Exert Greater Influence

A blockchain is a continuously growing ledger of records that are linked and secured utilizing cryptography. The very design of a blockchain is secure, as each link is added it builds upon the previous.

No link can be altered without altering each link before it. For this reason, Forrester predicts that blockchain will become a foundational technology for issuing authentication, protecting against malware and ransomware, and verifying documents and identity.

To stay ahead of the curve, ask your IT staff to develop and utilize blockchain formations to secure your sensitive data and verify identity.

Prepare For The Future

2018 is right around the corner. The cyber security and data protection challenges of yesterday will not be the same tomorrow. IoT and cyber security will become more connected, identity verification will become more important and more privatized, and the very foundation of our democracy may come under attack.

The Forrester report sounds the alarm but also brings up many opportunities as well. Start preparing for 2018 today and protect your valuable digital assets.

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