Technology Affects Cybersecurity

The ever-evolving digital age affects cybersecurity more than most people realize. The rate of cybercrimes has grown exponentially and is consistent with the growth of technology. As technology expands and develops, so do the cybercrimes that are committed. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, so can seek out cybercrimes before they happen and protect people when they occur.

Here are ten ways developing technology has changed cybersecurity:

1. Corporate Security Breaches

Most of these corporate security breaches occur when hackers exploit employees through social engineering and scams. With advancements in technology, hackers are becoming more skilled at finding holes and cracks in corporate security systems and can gain access to protected files and data, posing a significant cybersecurity threat. Unfortunately, 2012 may be a record year for corporate security breaches.

2. Spear Phishing

Unlike regular phishing emails targeting random people, culprits who commonly lead spear phishing scams seek information for monetary gain, business secrets, or private information. Spear phishing occurs when hackers target employees through emails that appear to be from colleagues within their organizations, allowing cybercriminals to steal personal information. With the progressive technology available today, hackers can send emails to employees disguised as others within the company – making this a substantial cybersecurity risk.

Cybercriminals increasingly use social media to engage in identity theft schemes and entice individuals to download malicious codes or reveal passwords. Experienced hackers can easily hack into users’ social media accounts and later use that information to venture into your email account, work email account, and banking information.

The average user shares much information on social media sites; most reveal a person’s name, age, birthday, hometown, and family members, while others can reveal addresses, phone numbers, and even up-to-the-minute location updates. Some of this information can show just enough for a hacker to find the opportunity and steal your identity online.

4. Social Media Security Breaches

Not only do social media sites give hackers access to personal information, but some sites can also share your exact whereabouts at any point in time. And if someone knows where you are – they also know where you are not. For instance, the social media network Foursquare allows users to “check-in” to the places they visit, such as school, work, restaurants, or even the movie theater. Any number of people can quickly tell where you are and at what time of day by logging into the social network and looking at your profile. The indicator that you are away from your home base can put your valuables and safety at risk.

As mobile technology is continuously emerging, so are mobile cybersecurity threats. Currently, 45 percent of cell phone owners have smartphones, which hold more data than the older alternative models. Every new phone, tablet, and mobile device serves as an additional opportunity for a cyber attacker to access someone’s data. As many mobile devices can be plugged into computers to be charged, sharing charging ports with others can create malware issues for many different devices.

6. Data has Gone Digital

Hard copy information is increasingly less common – practically everything is digital these days. Though often protected by a password, most information is stored on a shared network. As a result, a hacker could gain access to the network and obtain valuable information that could put individuals or businesses at risk.

More businesses shift to cloud computing and save documents and information to cloud networks poses an additional cybersecurity risk. This method is an attractive option for many enterprises, as cloud computing and storage are incredibly efficient and cost-effective. However, specific sophisticated security measures must be put into place to protect information on the cloud. While this technology is continuously emerging, companies must implement security precautions to combat the evolving trends.

8. Advanced Employee Training

As previously noted, with the expanding smartphone market, people are becoming more technologically savvy and need to be educated as technology develops. Proper training should be employed so that the company’s workforce understands cybersecurity threats and avoid them. Consequently, employees can use this knowledge to get their employers from databases, the cloud, or company-shared servers.

9. Hacktivism

In 2012 there have been a few instances of hacktivism – the act of hacking for a political or social reason. Hackers are taking the practice to the next level and attempting to reach websites with many visitors accessing information to affect as many people as possible. Large websites and companies are at a higher online security risk for these acts.

10. Botnets

Several computers set up a botnet to forward information (like spam and viruses) to other computers. In the past, botnets were set up to take email and password credentials, which were useful to spammers. However, with the emergence and advancements in technology, botnets are collecting more data from computers such as name, address, age, financial information, online activity, and more. They will then gather your information and sell the data to others. Several companies and businesses can buy and sell personal data, which is how spammers can obtain so many email addresses. These advanced botnets pose a considerable security risk making personal information extremely vulnerable.