2016 was one of the most interesting years on record when it comes to network security. Ransomware attacks grew at unprecedented levels and password minimums are almost as long the alphabet. Before moving on to 2017, it’s important to look back at the biggest network security stories of 2016 to see what they might mean for the future. From DDoS attacks to ATM skimming; here are some of the network security highlights and trends.
Any network security discussion about the last year naturally starts with the cloud. Although more companies realized the power cloud computing could bring to their business, they became aware of security challenges associated with utilizing data that may not be totally in their control.
Even big companies with the best security, like ADP, experienced breaches due to vulnerability in their customer portal. As your business begins to move to the cloud, your IT experts are going to need to ensure that your internal data is safe and that your external facing portals are capable of keeping hackers out.
The explosive growth of Ransomware was one of the most frustrating trends in 2016 network security. Ransomware—a type of malware—is an attack vector whereby a computer’s files become encrypted, and the only way to break the encryption is to make a payment to the authors of the ransomware. Cryptolocker was an early incarnation, but 2016 saw staggering growth of new strains of crypto which included network worms. These network worms quickly encrypted entire network drives, holding entire systems ransom.
Fortunately, businesses can prevent ransomware infections with the right software, the right IT team and proper user education. Taking these steps will ensure that the threat is managed and your businesses data will stay safe. Failing all else, having a robust backup plan can help minimize the data lost in such an attack.
The Internet of Things
In October of this year, a DDoS attack was perpetrated on Dyn, one of the country’s largest DNS providers. This attack was able to take down access to giants like Twitter, Netflix and CNBC, causing frustration to consumers nationwide.
The major attack vectors used in this takedown was a botnet built on corrupted smart devices. Many smart devices use an older, less secure version of Linux as their operating system, allowing hackers to exploit a vulnerability to take control of these smart devices and adding them to the botnet. Making sure that your network’s smart devices are properly patched and have only the access they need will be crucial in preventing these types of attacks in the future.
Some areas related to network security have nothing to do with technology. For example, a large part of network security in the modern age is understanding international law. As businesses and citizens grow increasingly dependent on technology, governments across the globe are responding by passing new legislation to secure this growing sector of criminal activity.
However, because the Internet exists outside of the geographic boundaries that make up those nations, it can result in increased conflict. Understanding any laws and regulations related to network security is crucial in protecting your business’s data and interests.
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