Whether it’s individuals at home browsing their social media pages on a mobile phone, people working in a small to medium-sized business (SMB) here in London with half a dozen networked laptops or a blue-chip, multinational corporation with thousands of employees accessing a huge IT Infrastructure straddling the globe, we’re all at data security risk due to a whole host of new and evolving cybersecurity threats. According to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, for example, the cost of damage related to cybercrime is projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. And if you believe your SMB hasn’t got a network worth hacking or data worth stealing, note leading insurer, Hiscox, reports that small businesses in the UK are the target of an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber attacks every day. So in this article we’re going to analyse what is the biggest cybersecurity threat from the many out there. Because your first line of cyber defence is to know your enemy.

What is the biggest cybersecurity threat and how to recognise it

As if phishing and malware attacks weren’t sophisticated enough to endanger your data security, threat actors are now exploiting bots, machine learning, artificial intelligence and cryptocurrencies to cause harm. Such that the cybercrime epidemic is beginning to shake our faith in the cornerstones of society, from democracy, government and media independence to capitalism and personal privacy. That’s why more and more businesses are searching for ‘Tech Support Companies near me’ online and why this article on what is the biggest cybersecurity threat is so important.

Data security – it’s a threat in 3D

In its annual Threat Horizon study, the Information Security Forum has warned of the increased potential for cybersecurity threats in three dimensions:

  • Disruption as cybersecurity threats

Our over-reliance on fragile connectivity leaves us vulnerable to premeditated Internet outages capable of bringing trade to its knees and ransomware that could be used to hijack the emerging Internet of Things (IoT).

  • Distortion as cybersecurity threats

The intentional spread of misinformation (ie fake news) by bots and other automated sources is already headline news, and is causing trust in the integrity of information to be compromised.

  • Deterioration as cybersecurity threats

Rapid advances in intelligent technologies, plus the conflicting demands between national security and individual privacy, negatively impact every organisation’s ability to control its own information.

The key cybersecurity threats for 2020 and beyond

Phishing attacks as cybersecurity threats

A phishing attack is one where a carefully targeted digital message is sent to fool people into clicking on a link or downloading a document that can then install malware or expose sensitive data.

Phishing attacks could be the biggest cybersecurity threat out there, because of their sheer number and the fact that they rely on human error – the chink in any cybersecurity armour.

And now that people are becoming more aware of the dangers and talking to cyber security companies, phishing is becoming more sophisticated as hackers use machine learning to rapidly craft and distribute ever more convincing fake messages to entice recipients to unwittingly action them.

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The negative impacts can include compromised networks and systems, access to private databases and stolen user logins, credit card credentials and other types of personal financial information.

Ransomware as cybersecurity threats

Ransomware is where hackers deploy technologies that enable them to literally lock and/or kidnap databases and hold the information they contain for ransom.

These attacks are also numerous and commonplace, are the cause of many calls to cyber security companies in London, can be delivered by a phishing attack and cost victims – from small businesses to high-net-worth individuals – billions of dollars annually.

It’s believed that cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are helping to fuel ransomware attacks by allowing ransom demands to be paid anonymously.

Cryptojacking as cybersecurity threats

Cryptojacking involves cyber criminals hijacking third-party home or work computers to ‘mine’ or search for cryptocurrency.

They do this because this activity requires immense amounts of computer processing power, so hackers make money by secretly piggybacking someone else’s more powerful systems.

If your business system gets cryptojacked in this way, it can cause serious performance issues, costly down time and the problem can be a devil to track down and rectify even for IT professionals.

Cyber-physical attacks as cybersecurity threats

These days, just about everything we rely on to live and do business has been computerised and networked and that makes them vulnerable. Technology is a mission critical part of the infrastructures we use and take for granted every day, from banking, power and water to transport and broadcasting.

It’s not hard to imagine these being cyberjacked and taken out of action, threatening everything – including your London-based small to medium-sized business.

State-sponsored attacks as cybersecurity threats

You may think it the preserve of espionage movies but nation states now use their cyber skills to infiltrate other governments and attack critical infrastructure. Such attacks are expected to increase in 2020 and beyond.

Private sector organisations, such as small, medium and large businesses, are also at risk for two clear reasons – firstly, any data, private customer information and, above all, intellectual property (IP) that can be stolen can be valuable and, secondly, businesses are convenient targets for settling geopolitical grievances.

IoT attacks as cybersecurity threats

The Internet of Things is rapidly moving from technological vision to day-to-day reality. In fact, Statista reports that the number of household and business devices connected to the IoT is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025.

Those devices include laptops, tablets, routers and webcams of course, but also appliances, smart watches, medical technology, manufacturing equipment, vehicles and even security systems.

However, more connected devices means greater risk, as IoT networks could be vulnerable to cyber attack. Again, you can imagine the dangers to both consumer and business users of an IoT network controlled by hackers, with essential infrastructures or equipment being locked down for financial gain.

Smart medical devices and electronic medical records (EMRs)

Health care continues to evolve with digital transformation across all aspects of the sector, from robot-controlled operations and high-tech devices to digitised medical records being shared online.

However, as the health care industry adapts to the digital age, there are a number of concerns around privacy, safety and vulnerability to cybersecurity threats.

Could hackers remotely compromise of a device directly connected to a patient to change dosages or disable vital sign monitoring? in theory, yes.

Third parties, such as contractors, vendors and partners

Any third party that has access to your business or your IT infrastructure is a risk to your cybersecurity because cybercriminals will target them as a route into your organisation. Note a recent report by RiskManagementMonitor.com estimates that 60% of data breaches involve a third party but only 52% of companies have security standards in place regarding such third parties.

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This is just the kind of practical problem you might want to talk to cyber security companies or IT outsourcing companies about solving.

Connected and semi-autonomous vehicles

Our cars are not yet driverless but they are connected and use onboard sensors to optimise their operation and the comfort of passengers. This is typically done through embedded, tethered or smartphone integration. In fact, by 2020 an estimated 90% of new cars will be able to be connected to the Internet,

For hackers, this evolution in automobile manufacturing and design means yet another opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities in insecure systems and weak data security, harm drivers or threaten privacy.

Social engineering as cybersecurity threats

Hacking is evolving and the criminals concerned are becoming more sophisticated; they don’t just use technology but also psychology.

With these tools they exploit a weakness found in each and every organisation: people. Using a variety of media, including phone calls and social media platforms, these attackers trick individuals into offering them access to sensitive information.

Why we have a people problem

People aren’t just hackers or the weakest link in any cybersecurity chain. They are also the digital savvy, cybersecurity professionals in tech support companies near you that can help to protect you in your home, in your job and in your business from becoming a victim of cyber crime.

Unfortunately, we’re not producing enough qualified professionals to staff the security companies in London that need them to help safeguard us all against the growing cybersecurity threat. Some estimates indicate that there are now one million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide.

All the more reason, therefore, that you should know as much as you can about the cybersecurity threats facing your small to medium-sized business here in London and where to turn to for help.

Cyber Essentials could be a good place to start

Cyber Essentials is a UK government information assurance scheme operated by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) that encourages organisations – including small to medium-sized businesses – to adopt good practice in data security. It’s simple, effective and includes an assurance framework and a clear set of security controls to protect your IT and information from a whole range of common online threats.

There are two levels of certification, depending on your needs, Cyber Essentials and Cyber Essentials Plus, the latter adding a hands-on technical verification.

Gaining a Cyber Essentials certification isn’t just a positive move for defending your business, it’s data and the peace of mind of you and your people, it can also reassure your customers, suppliers and partners that you take the threat seriously and are working to secure your IT against cyber attacks. Some cyber security companies in London can help you to gain Cyber Essentials certification.

When to leave it to the experts

If you’d prefer to run your business while one of the Capital’s highly expert and experienced data security and IT outsourcing support companies run your cybersecurity, why not have a no obligation, confidential chat about your needs with the go to managed IT support team for London, totality services.

Since our launch in 2008, we’ve become one of the most trusted cyber security companies in London, with no less than two consecutive Feefo Gold Trusted Service Awards, Five Star ratings from both Trustpilot and Google and a 98% client retention rate.

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