It’s the time of year when we’re looking for presents to give that will warm hearts and raise spirits. This all takes a bit of planning and looking ahead. The criminal world is planning too, but their intentions aren’t quite so honourable. Similar to a dark version of the Three Wise Men, the gifts cyber criminals want to bring are: organisational chaos, financial loss and data theft.

Doesn’t sound very pleasant does it? For those who turn a blind eye to cyber security, or fail to evolve their security solutions, the future is somewhat bleak. Criminals are working tirelessly behind the scenes, finding new ways to break in to systems and exploit weak spots in your cyber boundaries. The solution is to stay one step ahead: to predict their move and counteract with appropriate measures.

New Year’s Evolution

So how will cyber crime evolve next year? We have identified the top five risks to cyber security in 2019, so you can start planning how to protect against future attacks. If you don’t, then next year’s gifts may be considerably less pretty; they won’t come gift-wrapped, and they certainly won’t be what you asked for. Here’s the low-down for what’s on order for next year:

#1: Phishing attacks

The gift that keeps on giving…criminals find a way to gather personal information and data. An individual responding to an email request, believing it to be genuine, may give this information accidently. Once the attacker has the information, they need they can quickly access bank accounts and computer systems or use an innocent person’s identity to commit further crime.

#2: Crypto-mining

Criminals try to con people into parting with real money, in exchange for crypto-currency that has as much value as a bag of gold chocolate coins. An example of how this can happen is through fake ‘crowd funding’ campaigns. Crypto-mining is expensive to execute, so the perpetrators may inject mining scripts into a business network, in order to hijack computer power.

#3: GDPR

As most of us are now aware, there is more robust legislation in place to govern the handling and storage of personal data. As criminals continue to evolve their methods of breaking through security, any weakness in the system will expose vulnerable information. If a business fails to take appropriate steps to protect their customers, it’s like parking on a double yellow line while Christmas shopping – you’re just asking for a fine.

#4: Ransomware / Malware

How would you feel if a thief broke into your home, stole all the presents you had lovingly wrapped for your family and then knocked on the door demanding money for their return? This is the principle behind ransomware – data and files are encrypted to prevent legitimate users from gaining access. This is followed by a demand for money, in exchange for their release.

#5: National Level Attacks

This is defined by the UK’s security chief as an attack that causes ‘sustained disruption’ of essential services. Like a bad Santa, a well co-ordinated attack could mean computer systems receive an unwanted gift on a national, or even global, level. Cyber criminals slip down each digital chimney, leaving behind a sooty cloud of disruption and chaos.

Getting together and planning ahead

Just like the festive spirit, cyber security should be extended to everyone – individuals in a business or organisation all have their part to play. The opportunity for a security breach to occur can begin with a simple, innocent mistake (such as sharing a password), so training staff on prevention is a must.

Furthermore, security isn’t a one-off job, it’s an on going concern – and must evolve to meet the challenges of the future. Start the New Year by planning ahead and, where possible, get expert advice on how to protect against the current threats.

To find out how Pro Drive can help protect you and your business, and offer advice on fighting cyber crime, get in touch at: