Top Network Security Risks in 2020 - Part 2
Welcome back to the second half of our two-part article on the top network security threats of 2020. If you haven't seen part one, jump back to the beginning before diving into part two.
6. IT Admin Burnout
Let's face it, the cyber security battle has been long and drawn out. Some IT admins have been doing this for two decades or even longer. Some of the young professionals coming into the industry are burning out before they get a chance to build their fortitude.
IT admins are responsible for dozens to thousands of individual checks, updates, and patches every year. Your IT team assists other employees with their security problems, secures all end-points and cloud locations for the entire business network, and must be ready at a minute's notice to enact defense and recovery procedures in the event of an attack.
So it's no wonder that admins are burning out at a faster rate than ever before. It's time for companies of all sizes to assess the risk and remedies for IT admin burnout to keep your team fresh, energized, and covering the many aspects of a secure business network.
Counter Burnout with Cyber Security Drills
One of the best ways to fight both IT admin burnout and complacency in your workforce is with cyber security drills. A variation of penetration testing, cyber security drills are spoof attacks that employees have a chance to identify and report. Your IT team can both run these spoofs and be subject to externally planned drills.
"Playing the bad guy" will keep your team both interested and thinking from a hacker perspective, while occasional internal drills will keep everyone on their toes. This kind of excitement can really help keep burnout at bay.
7. Deep Fake Infiltration
A deep fake is a fake person that seems real in every way that can be told remotely. They are expertly generated fake faces, voices, and even expressions and animated actions. They can take multiple "photos" of themselves in various poses and backgrounds. They have pretend personal profile information that might be consistent across multiple sites. They might even have a cadre of friends who are real people that believe the deep fake is real. But a deep fake is still a fake person. Except, of course when someone is running a deep fake of a real person using a digital rendering of them to make new images and media.
Deep fakes were once a novelty of the dark web and are now taking the internet by storm. Used for everything from jokes to infiltration, deep fakes can fool humans and security AIs alike and defenses against them are only now being developed. While the full risk to businesses is not yet realized, there have already been some serious impacts in the realm of social media campaigns and politics.
Deep fakes can be used to impersonate someone online, like a politician or a CEO. They can be used to empower a phishing expedition, and even to access online accounts.
8. Smart-Targeted and Malware Attacks
Malware was not always as intelligent as it is today. Malware that many IT admins started out with was clunky and indiscriminate. Worms infiltrated everything. Ransomware encrypted whole systems. Spamware filled your page with pop-ups. Or at least, that's how it used to be. Today, malware is much smarter and is often designed to target specific sensitive information inside infiltrated company networks.
Your business network security doesn't just need to stop malware, it needs to specifically protect your most at-risk data because that is what malware will target first. Even without a living hacker to direct a malware bug, it's now possible for malware from an employee's phone or an infected website to immediately begin infiltrating your network, seeking out the juiciest information a hacker can sell.
Smart-targeting is also being used with the latest wave of ransomware attacks. Modern ransomware permutations know how to target the information a business will pay the most dearly for. But don't be fooled. The best defense against ransomware is still to wipe and restore from backup. Your data may have already been stolen, or may never be recovered, because you can't trust hackers.
9. Insecure Test Environments
Test environments are an essential part of software and web development. You have to know how an update will impact the software and user experience by running it through a simulation of the original. This means creating a test environment that is an exact clone of the system you plan to update. Ideally, test environments are just as secure as the originals they are copies of, but this is not always the case.
Test environments are also best when they are lightweight and easy to spin up, shut down, or copy. This makes it tempting to keep them in a less secure and more accessible state, which is easier to run tests on and repeat the tests you run.
Unfortunately, this more accessible state may also become a network security risk, especially if your test environments are not secured behind their own firewall and encryption layers. Engineers who leave their test environments exposed are inviting hackers to take a waltz through the source code and possibly even to access the rest of the internal network through those test environment servers.
10. Cloud Security
2020 also brings new demands for cloud security. It used to be that network security was about securing your intranet. But with business integration with the cloud, your network is more complicated than that. Your local and remote servers need to communicate securely as a unified network without exposing your network outside of that controlled connection.
Cloud security includes transmission and transition security measures as well as the need to encrypt on every level. Each time you incorporate a cloud database or service, you need to reassess your security that keeps each step of data exchanges secure. Every company's cloud security solution will be different because tech stacks are so unique, and it's time to cover those bases.
11. AI and ML
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have incredible potential, for both sides of the war. They both have incredible potential for search-and-destroy attacks and methodically unbeatable defenses. So it's no surprise that the engineers on both sides have begun developing an AI-driven arsenal. Hackers are building ML-supported defenses in order to practice breaking them. Cyber security engineers are mocking up AI malware to practice building defenses.
While we have yet to see the first wave of AI-breach news stories, AI and ML are already an important part of the future of the data security ware. Be prepared for both new defensive tools and new malware innovations that are self-learning and more devastatingly automated than ever before.
Are You Confident About Security?
Network security is one of the most important aspects of modern business management. Fighting back against hacker onslaughts is a constant battle, one that the entire business world has allied together to fight.
Contact us today for more network security insights or for the resources you need to boost your current security infrastructure.
About Courtney Casey
In an industry dominated by men, Courtney Casey, Director of Marketing for Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., is making her mark on the world of information technology. Courtney has been immersed in the IT field most of her life and has been molded into the tech savvy expert she is today. She began working for Accent while earning her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Long Beach. Known in the Inland Empire as the "Tech Girl," Courtney is a regular columnist for the region's newspaper of record, The Press-Enterprise. Her columns address topical news trends, new technology products, and offer advice on how to embrace technology or avoid common IT pitfalls.