2016 Recap and What to Expect for 2017

Over the last year, there has been no shortage of Security related news stories. We’ve seen everything from massive malware outbreaks to data breaches and even hacking related to the Presidential Campaign. There’s no doubt that everyone has either been affected by one or more of these events, or at the very least, know someone who has.

At the beginning of the year Ransomware and Data breaches were the bulk of the conversation. Unfortunately, these two topics aren’t likely to go away either. Yahoo has just announced that there was another massive breach and LinkedIn’s Lynda.com has also confirmed that more than 55,000 accounts have been compromised.  As for the Ransomware; this type of malware continues to become more sophisticated and has seen an increase in distribution, both to businesses and individuals. So please, use better judgement and awareness when clicking on links and viewing emails and always use a trusted AntiVirus! The best way to be fully protected from Ransomware is to also implement a regular backup schedule to an external hard drive.

Another major topic this year has been the growing threat of DDoS attacks and compromised IoT devices. This was made obvious with the DNS outage cause by an IoT botnet. This is predicted to be one of the highest threats going in to 2017 and should be taken seriously. I’m not trying to scare anyone away from owning any IoT devices, I have plenty myself. However, I do want to encourage everyone to employ best practices to secure those devices. Check out my post on Securing your WiFi to get started and always make sure your devices are updated and that the default passwords have been changed! Another recommendation is to stick with the top brands of devices. You may spend a little extra on them but they offer more support, update more frequently and are more secure in general.

2016’s email scandals and Presidential Campaign hacking made top news but I don’t feel that they warrant much more coverage. After all, these incidents could have been avoided if the users had simply read my blog! The Clinton email scandal was caused by general bad practice and misinformation all around and the DNC email hack all started because one senior member clicked on a link from a phishing email. If these users had been trained or better informed on the risks, they could have been avoided easily.

Looking ahead in to 2017, I feel that it is more important than ever to get serious about cyber-security. There will only be an increase in email campaigns to spread Ransomware since this has been the most profitable type of malware ever seen. The threat of DDoS attacks will rise and we are even seeing instances where attackers are threatening DDoS attacks in exchange for a ransom payments!

At the very least, always be mindful about security related to your devices. If you have several computers and devices on your network, spend a little extra time and money to make sure they are protected. If you have a large number of smart devices, maybe invest in a hardware security device as well. You can even build one yourself if you have some extra PC’s laying around and aren’t afraid to follow a tutorial. I have created several security devices either using an old computer or even a Raspbery Pi. If you are interested in attempting this, feel free to contact me and I can give you some resources.

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