3 Predictions and 3 Tips for Small Business Cyber Security in 2019

Although 2019 brings a world of possibilities, the new year also brings more intense cyber security threats.  Cyber security threats are indeed on the rise and they are a tremendous concern for small businesses.

Looking back at 2018, numerous well-known, name-brand organizations, as well as international companies, suffered from significant cyber breaches.

Personal records were stolen in masses, such as:

  • 340 million from Exactis
  • 150 million from Under Armour myfitnesspal
  • 30 million from Facebook

Many experts feel that this is likely just the beginning and that cybercriminals will continue to evolve and get craftier. There are many predictions for what lies ahead.

Prediction 1: Cyber Attackers Will Leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI)

For 2019, it will be more than just cyber attackers going after AI systems. Today, they will enlist artificial intelligence to help them attack. Automated systems could probe systems and networks. They will search for vulnerabilities and exploit them where possible. AI will also have the capability to make phishing scams even more sophisticated.

Prediction 2: 5G Expanding Will Expand the Cyber Attackers Surface Area

While 5G has been the focus of smart phones, 5G-capable phones may be limited in 2019. In the meantime, carriers are trying to gain more traction with 5G mobile hotspots and 5G-equipped routers for use at home.

Making the shift to 5G means new architectures and new operational models which also means new vulnerabilities. Currently, many 5G IoT devices connect via Wi-Fi and over time, more will connect directly to the 5G network, which may lead to vulnerabilities in a direct attack. 

Prediction 3: Data in Transit Cyber Attacks Will Increase

It is expected that there may be an increase with attempts to attain access to home routers as well as other IoT hubs to steal data passing through them. If malware was installed in a router such as the afore mentioned, it could essentially capture information such as banking credentials and credit card numbers.

While the 2019 cyber attackers continue to evolve and find new ways of attacking, there are still current methods that are used to stay safe and these are ones that you should continue to use.

Tip 1: Use Multi-Factor Authentication for Online Transactions

While the various forms of multi-factor authentication can frustrate and confuse users, your organization should use it. It may not seem like it is the best solution, however it is much, much safer than password-only access. For users that may not appreciate the extra step, consider adding a line or verbiage reminding them that it is there for cyber safety purposes and not meant to be a nuisance.

Tip 2: Train Your People to Avoid Phishing Scams

While certainly not new to 2019, phishing scams continue to take a make a huge splash with affecting cyber security. In fact, the volume continues to increase. In general, your employees need to be cautious about giving out financial information over the Internet.

Phishers commonly will email heartbreaking or exciting news which of course is completely NOT TRUE. They will attempt to have the victim send personal information such as social security numbers, usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and more. Train your employees to only send account information or credit card numbers through either a secure website or via the telephone. Don’t transmit sensitive information via public, unsecured WiFi.

Tip 3: Keep the Leaders at Your Organization Involved and Informed

It is likely that in 2019, your organization will need to beef up its budget when it comes to cybersecurity intelligence and analytics. As cyber attackers can cause detrimental harm to how your organization runs its business, it is not an area of the business to skimp on when it comes to making investments. Your leadership must be well-aware of what is necessary to keep your business cyber safe, how much it will cost, and the consequences of not taking such recommended measures.