5 Security Trends to Watch in 2016

5 Security Trends to Watch in 2016

2015 was a record year for information and cyber security. Dozens of new vulnerabilities were uncovered, and government organizations, businesses and individuals continued to find themselves victim to high-profile data breaches.

As we settle into this new year, I don’t really expect this trend to slow down. I predict that we will see an increase in products and services within the Internet of Things that can be tapped into and the data stolen, manipulated or sold. It comes with the territory of our digital age. I forsee more security issues on the horizon that must be address in order to ensure privacy for companies and consumers in the year ahead.

Here’s what I believe you should be watching out for.

iOS: Not as Secure as You Once Thought

Android has been in and out of the news for a while regarding its frequent security flaws. iOS is bound to hit the headlines this year. Many security researchers are predicting that iOS will no longer be the safe place away from hackers.

It is believed that a vulnerability similar to the magnitude and severity of Stagefright, the massive vulnerability that critically exposed almost every Android device, will emerge in iOS. Another remotely exploitable attack targeted at iOS might include Apple’s AirDrop feature. This feature has already been tampered with in 2015, allowing hackers to send and install malware on any device within range, even if the used made an effort to block the incoming file.  

Also, expect more iOS kernel exploits and jailbreaks for iOS 9.2 and 9.3. As the hacker community learns more and more about this seemingly impenetrable operating system, they will eventually find the loophole that allows them inside.

Mobile Devices in the Workplace Grow and so Do the Threats

It’s no surprise that mobile device usage in the workplace will continue to grow in 2016. Enterprise mobility programs seek to increase productivity from employees but cause enormous complexity, security and policy concerns.

As companies will continue to implement these programs to protect employees’ smartphones and tablets, the fragmentation of devices, Oss, applications and geographies will continue to force already overburdened IT groups to manage hundreds of policies as we introduce new devices into the workplace. Additionally, the launch of smartwatches created by Apple and Samsung will only exacerbate the issue further and create a new attack vector for hackers.

Wearable Tech Risks

Speaking of smartwatches, as the market for wearable tech grows, so will the security and privacy concerns for consumers. Fitness bands are the most popular wearables at the moment, but smartwatches and other technologies are expected to increase into 2016. We can expect wearables to play a huge role in health care and sports training.

Those health and fitness apps on wearable devices may be the worst offenders. These technologies monitor our every move, heartbeat and location. Paired with compromised security or even just poor privacy settings, they create the perfect storm for personal data breaches.

Social Engineering

A recent trend with cybercriminals in 2015 was the ability for them to skim through social media sites and learn personal details about the kinds of people they were targeting. They may learn sensitive information that leads to guessing passwords, knowing which bank you go to and where you may live.  

In 2016, expect criminals to increasingly focus on humans as a rising number of defenses against advanced threats make it harder to breach organizations technologically. For example, expect to see more crooks scanning social media for over-shared information that can be used to craft highly effective spearphishing emails that can be used to social engineer people into doing things that put computer systems and data at risk.

Residential Security in Your Pocket

One of the biggest trends predicted for 2016 is the ability to secure your home through your smartphone. Company after company is creating a security product that sends information straight to your always-around smartphone. Anything you can think of, from your doorbell to your fire alarm has been rigged to be connected to the internet and given the ability to notify the homeowner if something goes awry.

Expect to see a number of headlines about these connected devices. Already in 2015 we’ve seen home security systems’ signals jammed to show that everything is fine while a criminal makes his way around your home. These problems are far from being solved and I believe with the mass introduction of new products, we will see a mad dash to solve security flaws that consumers find once the products are installed in homes.

It’s become apparent that security is an issue that no organization or individual with sensitive data and private information can choose to ignore. Whether it’s ongoing security issues with Android devices and new iOS vulnerabilities, or attacks targeting end-users, there’s no clear sign of security issues slowing down anytime soon.

Posted by Sydny Shepard on Jan 12, 2016

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