Today’s digital realm is dynamic and ever-shifting. Technology moves fast and cyber criminals do too. Keeping on top of the changing threat landscape, to borrow a term from cybersecurity parlance, is a matter of being aware of the threats and taking steps to mitigate them.
While many of us know that cybersecurity is important and that data leaks happen every day, all too often we’re blasé about the risks and consider an antivirus the only protection we need. But the reality is that cyber criminals have stepped up their game, and we need to as well.
With that in mind, here we go over three risks to consider in 2020 and three ways to protect yourself and your devices.
The risk: Open wifi networks
There’s no doubt about it, open public wifi networks can be a godsend when you’ve run out of data and you urgently need to get an email sent or make a payment, for example. But unfortunately, free public wifi is an absolute cybersecurity disaster zone.
A critical flaw in WPA2, the encryption system used in wifi, opens you up to the possibility of anyone assessing your data if you connect to these networks. Hackers can position themselves in such a way that they can see everything you send from your device to a site or app.
The solution: Use a VPN
Despite numerous warnings from cybersecurity experts, people continue to use open wifi networks without proper protection. If you must connect to a free open wifi network, do so with a Virtual Private Network app. As the name suggests, VPNs protect you by creating a private browsing network. These cybersecurity programs also fully encrypt your data making it next to impossible for a hacker to detect.
The risk: Malware
Malware, a term that is a combination of malicious and software, designates a broad group of threats designed specifically to target users’ devices and data. Often, this is for financial gain, but sometimes, malware is deployed just as a random act of digital violence.
While malware isn’t new per se, it continues to remain a huge threat to individuals and businesses in 2020 as malicious programs evolve and find new ways to skirt existing cybersecurity measures. In addition, the ways in which these programs are delivered through social engineering makes malware particularly insidious and difficult to detect.
The solution: Antimalware
Antimalware programs are one of the best ways to secure your devices, including your mobile phones. These programs effectively monitor text messages and links sent in emails. Additionally, the software ensures you don’t visit websites that are infected with malicious scripts.
The risk: Internet of Things threats
In today’s modern technology landscape, we’re more connected than ever before, and so too are our devices. Smart fridges, fish tanks, heaters, and speakers all comprise a broad network of interconnectivity known as the Internet of Things (IoT).
While IoT functionality has undeniably brought about a lot of conveniences, it also comes hand in hand with increased risk. Each device connected to a network, be it a thermostat or a smartphone, represents a potential vulnerability. If exploited by threat actors, the results can be disastrous.
The solution: Protect networks as a whole
Instead of protecting devices individually, if you have many IoT devices in your home or office, consider providing blanket protection. VPNs, which we mentioned above, can be installed on routers and then encrypt all the info being passed around in your network.
Businesses should look into enterprise-level firewall protection to ensure all IoT tools and the associated network are properly secured.