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The latest trends in cyber security you need to know about

by Chloe Baird

The nature of cyber security means that it’s constantly evolving and changing. And this means there are always new trends to keep up with.

Stay up to date and keep informed by reading about the latest trends and challenges in the cyber security industry.

The top latest trends in cyber security you should know about

1. We’re seeing an increase in themed scams

The ‘ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report July 2019 to June 2020’ found that during the reporting period, there were two major spikes in cyber threat activity: in October 2019 and April 2020. The spike in October was linked to a widespread Emotet (a type of malware aimed at stealing your banking details) campaign; while the increase in April was a result of the COVID- 19 pandemic which saw a rise in spearphishing campaigns and COVID-related malicious cyber activity.

What we can take from this is that cyber criminals, just like any other type of criminal, exploit situations in order to take advantage of others. This is one trend that is likely to persist for some time as the pandemic dominates headlines and is at the forefront of peoples’ minds.  

2. Malware will be an ongoing issue

Even though malicious software attacks have been around since the dawn of the internet, they continue to be hackers’ favourite kind of cyber attack.

The same government report mentioned above found that ransomware was still one of the most significant threats to Australian businesses and government agencies.

If there’s one lesson you can take away from this it’s that you should try to protect yourself from cyber attacks by always being on lookout for anything you think looks suspicious—whether it’s a dodgy email, a tempting click-bait ad or a website that doesn’t quite look legit.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to educate themselves around cyber security.

3. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI)

Many cyber security companies and software developers have been utilising AI technology to identify cyber threats. Even the tiniest red flag is enough for an AI system to detect a threat before it can infiltrate a system.

AI systems can also be used for multi-factor authentication, providing even greater security when it comes to system access.

However, cyber criminals also have access to AI technology. Hackers can use AI to test their cyber attacks and improve it until it becomes AI-proof. The pressure is on cyber security companies to develop AI systems that are one step ahead of the criminals.

4. The future of the workforce and the cloud

With many of us working remotely, businesses are becoming more and more reliant on the cloud.

Cloud-based servers and software have been a boon for many businesses and industries over the years. Many of these cloud services offer high levels of security for their customers. They have to—otherwise no-one would buy their services. But these cloud services are not completely immune to cyber attacks, and they can’t be held solely responsible for breaches. It’s critical that users understand the responsibility they have in protecting their own data.

So while cloud service providers need to be constantly vigilant as they work to identify potential threats and protect their customers, customers also need to understand that data protection is a shared duty. Part of the customer’s responsibility in this is user access and management, protecting their own devices, and ensuring the right security steps (such as two-step authentication) are always followed.

5. How will the 5G network impact the internet of things (IoT)?

Thanks to the 5G network, the IoT is set to see incredible development and growth. The IoT collectively refers to all the devices around the world that are connected to the internet—everything from your smart TV to your phone, from your fitness tracker to your Google Home speaker. And that’s just your own personal devices. Think about all the devices utilised by businesses and workplaces around the world. And with the introduction of 5G and its improved connectivity, we’ll see the capability for the IoT expand.

While the opportunities this presents are exciting, it does give cyber criminals another front they can attack. Basically, if a device is connected to the internet (whether that’s your laptop or a smart lightbulb), then it’s vulnerable to attack.

We’re not saying that you should go and disconnect all your smart devices from the internet and become a hermit. Living in the digital age is impossible without an internet connection. Just be aware of the ways you should be protecting your devices and yourself.

Do you have a smart home? Learn how to protect your smart devices, your family and yourself from cyber attacks.

6. Supply chain cyber attacks will increase

A supply chain attack (sometimes called a third-party attack or
value-chain) happens when a cyber attack invades a system through a third-party that has access to that system. Unfortunately, supply chain attacks are becoming more frequent.

One notable, recent supply chain attack involved tech giant ASUS. Hundreds of thousands of people were affected when they downloaded infected software that appeared to be safe. By using stolen digital ASUS certificates, the cyber criminals were able to present the malware as a legitimate software update that was downloaded by hundreds of thousands of people.

7. Awareness around cyber security will continue to spread

It’s well-documented that employees are often the biggest threat to a company. That said, as cyber attacks continue to make headlines, people are becoming increasingly aware of their responsibilities and how they can protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Even though hackers are launching ever-more nefarious attacks on unsuspecting individuals and organisations, our awareness of the importance of cyber security is also rising. And even though there’s a massive skills shortage in cyber security in Australia and around the world, this doesn’t mean that those positions can’t be filled by the right people.

Could a career in cyber security be the perfect fit for you?

One of the biggest problems faced by the cyber security industry is the skills shortage.

Reskilling or upskilling to move into cyber security is a viable career path in a stable, expanding industry. Not to mention, there’s plenty of room for growth along with development opportunities and a decent salary.

If you’re thinking of making a career for yourself in cyber security, then now’s the time to start studying.

Open Colleges’ partnership Certified Security Professional course has been designed to help you develop job-ready skills for the technology industry. 

While this is an online cybersecurity course, there are set intake dates. This is because you will be studying alongside a cohort of other students. You can track your progress compared to your cohort, and discuss ideas and challenges with them as you progress through the course.

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