Cybersecurity Predictions For 2019

 In Security

What cyber security challenges will 2019 bring? 2018 was a year of big security breaches, major questions about privacy, and major data sales. For small businesses, growing with the help of new tech shouldn’t require a big legal team. At the same time, you still have a responsibility to those who trust you. Here are a few predicted big cybersecurity predictions for 2019 to help you focus your concerns while maintaining existing security plans.

Automated Customer Support AI Becomes A Bigger Target

A fundamental part of any tech security plan is knowing what to do after a system has been compromised. It’s no longer acceptable to boast about being unhackable, and any post-hack plan has multiple purposes. What would happen if your automated customer service system was compromised? Hackers could change a lot of details about your system, which can confuse, anger, or endanger your customers. What if the options were changed to something silly? A jokester could replace your options with rude comments, or broadcast to every caller that your company is terrible.

Anything related to mass customer service has a high chance of going viral. If offensive/damaging content is placed on your call system, you can bet that customers will spread it around faster than you can repair the damage. Does your customer service system connect to customer data? Keep in mind that information such as balance, online/offline status, or confirming addresses can be endangering. A hacker who has a list of possible details could repeatedly call your system until something works.

There are multiple paths to defending the rest of your system from an artificial intelligence compromise. The first layer would be to separate personal information from the automated system completely. While certain details such as account balance may not be a problem, avoid repeating addresses or personal identification numbers.

Automated System Abuse

Brute force in cyber security describes repeated, unsophisticated attempts to access information. An automated hack may constantly barrage systems with account details until something works.  To stop this from happening, implement multiple call lockout procedures. This is no different from locking out a website account after too many failed attempts. When a phone number calls in too many times with failed results, block the number. When an account is accessed too many times, lock it and send physical mail to the customer. Blocking an account and allowing a customer to go to an operator could circumvent your systems.

It’s easy to intentionally lock out a system in order to skip automated messages, but is it worth the time? That’s up to customers and whether they dislike automated systems. One option would be to allow account locking and operator redirect, but with a note added to the account. The note would show that someone is abusing the system. Such abuse notes allow administrators to research trends in how your system is used and abused. As one of our main cybersecurity predictions for 2019, we an increase in automated system abuse affecting all types businesses. Small businesses may not have the staff for such research, but consultants can help.

Social Media Security Remains A Big Battle

Facebook, Google, and Apple. They were in the news constantly throughout 2019 for their privacy and data breach woes, and it’s not getting better. Microsoft wasn’t listed because of security prowess, but because they’ve been a tech punching bag for years already. Companies that delve into social media have given themselves a customer responsibility. The companies are at a crossroads; personal information is their product, but how can they continue to earn?

Take Facebook for example. The platform started as a way to find people on college campuses, then as an improvement to internet forums. It’s such an improvement that it became the first forum of sorts for most current internet users. More distressingly, many people have an issue understanding that Facebook is a website on the internet, not some service or feature that just exists on their phone.

Think about that last point. People are so familiar with and invested in Facebook that they think they’re not on the internet. Just Facebook. This level of awareness shows why personal cybersecurity failures can still harm businesses, even as 2019 brings great changes. It’s not just an issue of older or inexperienced internet users; businesses can expect to see employees who are extremely familiar with how to use mobile devices and other technologies as tools, but with little awareness about security leaks or tech risks.

In a way, it’s no different than someone knowing how to use a hammer or knife, but not knowing how to keep the rust away. The march of tech progress isn’t perfect, but cyber security training can help. The world is already a decade into Facebook and other social media profiles being necessary for marketing. Small businesses need a social presence and a way to socially connect. Even if you’re not taking advantage of all social tools, simply responding to social media messages helps.

Even if you’re not leaking customer data, a social media platform’s failure can affect you. If Facebook falls apart, do you know where your customers are going? Do you know where your competitors are dominating the market? If you answered Twitter, you’re probably right. What happens when Twitter falls the same way? While internet communities have changed a lot since home internet entered the world stage–from BBS and forums to chat rooms and modern social media–most of the same advice holds true in the 1990’s as it does now.

Stay safe with a few of these standard precautions:

  • Don’t open unfamiliar links.
  • Don’t open attachments.
  • Don’t release personal information.
  • Don’t trust anything at face value.

Unfortunately, new platforms may fail at their own security, creating risk for you. What if the platform automatically opens links? What if it has advertisements that download and/or open dangerous files? What if the new platform has all of the exploits needed to make rewriting this article easy in 2020?

Whether your business relies on social media or virtualization to power the engines of progress, stay safe. Keep your anti-virus system up-to-date, and consider hiring a security professional to test and improve security practices. Train all personnel on not only using computers for their job, but in safe and productive tech habits.

If you need help with modernizing your business, testing your current security, or staying ahead of other cybersecurity predictions for 2019, speak with an IT solutions professional.

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