The State of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in 2020
- Tech

The State of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in 2020

As once office-bound professionals look toward a future of forever work-from-home, the realities of creating a secure internet infrastructure to accommodate confidential file-sharing have started to sink in. Will my company’s VPN be enough? On how many devices is it safe to log in? What is an encrypted email? Should I invest in my server? Will connecting to my work’s infrastructure leave my data more susceptible to cybercrimes? Yet, when figuring out how to set up your network security, two questions stand above the rest: cybersecurity, and where am I most vulnerable to cyber threats? 

Cybersecurity is not a one size fits all system. Different organizations have different needs and budgets, prompting them to take a comprehensive look at their processes to determine how to move forward best. A quick Google search for “cybersecurity software” instantly floods your browser with link after link from companies touting software that is sure to be the last line of defense against cybersecurity risks. But with cyber attacks on the rise year over year in both their number and devastation, it can be hard to determine which system will be the most effective for your needs. When thinking about a comprehensive cybersecurity portfolio, it’s essential to start with web development.

Cybersecurity Web Development

Web developers today face a whole host of problems. Each day hackers unleash a new batch of malware strains to carry out sophisticated attacks that systematically websites. The damages incurred during these attacks fall on the shoulder of the developer who created the site, whether it is just or not. Fortunately, web developers have many tools at their disposal that can stave off such cyber attacks. By identifying and patching vulnerabilities like cross-site scripting or SQLi (two of the most common in recent years), web developers can patch these vulnerabilities as they lie within the website’s code. Integrating malware scanning and a web application firewall can provide proactive protection by monitoring cyber threats even when you can’t. 

When it comes to open-source software (OSS) for building new applications, the benefits are undeniable. It’s cost-effective, flexible, quality, and easy-to-use. By its very nature, OSS functions best through the community using it, creating a meritocracy approach to a programming language that focuses on developing the best product possible. Yet, all of these benefits come with some strings attached, like legal obligations and increased security vulnerabilities. With modern software applications using more and more OSS, it is imperative to have the proper security measure to protect it so that users can take advantage of all that it has to offer.  Web developers can take this proactive protection a step further by incorporating Software Composition Analysis (SCA) into their cybersecurity repertoire.

Software Composition Analysis (SCA)

Software Composition Analysis accomplishes managing open source usage by creating an inventory report of all open source components to ensure the security compliance of all components you’re using and allowing you to see which ones you aren’t. At their most basic, SCAs compile data on open source licenses and the security vulnerabilities associated with each component. More advanced SCA tools provide automatic policy enforcements that cross-reference all of the open-source components related to your code or organizational policies by triggering different responses based on the specific situation. Knowing where you and your system are the most vulnerable will help determine the level of Software Composition Analysis that is right for you. 

Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities 

From foreign bots to basement hackers, cyber threats seem to be wherever you turn on the internet. Over the last year, analysts have seen a sharp increase in cyber attacks resulting in clever schemes that have the potential to do immense damage before their target realizes what has happened. Whether you’re self-employed, a corporate entity, or a casual internet surfer, knowing where you’re the most vulnerable can mean the difference between a cyber threat close call or an attack that will take years to recover from.

Probably one of the most alarming techniques currently being used by cybercriminals is deepfake scams. By using artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with natural language generation technologies, cybercriminals can concoct what appears to the human eye to be real videos and audio clips. This information can then be used to impersonate a phone call from your boss asking for your username and password without you even realizing it wasn’t real. Also though the amount of resources needed to carry out a deepfake scam is very involved, they have already proven to be quite successful, resulting in the loss of capital for some victims into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Recent years have seen the frequency of phishing cyber threats decrease. However, this is due to an abandoning of the previous spray-and-pray method that would see cybercriminals targeting as many people as possible–especially those with cybersecurity systems with weak infrastructures. Cybercriminals who make phishing their bread and butter have turned to a more measured approach by choosing their targets in more pragmatic and patient ways. While phishing scams target fewer people, their effectiveness is increasing, making it essential to remain vigilant when it comes to this kind of cyber attack. 

A 2019 report on DDoS, or distributed denial of service attacks, saw a sharp spike in cyber threats occurring as frequently at once every four seconds. DDoS attacks take advantage of multiple connected devices, with the end goal being to make your servers and website inaccessible to legitimate users. This can include work devices and those where you may have logged into your work email from a personal device and vice versa. The ease with which cybercriminals can launch such attacks can be attributed to new techniques like carpet bombing being combined with traditional methods like manipulating open WiFi networks internet security. 

In the last five years, cloud-based BEC email scams have been on the rise targeting everyone from small business owners to large corporations with losses reaching into the billions. Typically defined as a hosted subscription service (think Gmail) that gives users the ability to go about their business by using tools like email, shared calendars, online file storage, and instant messaging, cloud-based BEC email scams have many avenues that cybercriminals can take to take advantage of their victims–especially on those relying solely on the security systems of the email host. 

As much as COVID-19 has upended so much of how we live our lives, the cybersecurity mess it has created cannot be understated. The move to work-from-home and more people logged on to even more devices has created the perfect environment for cybercriminals to commit cyber fraud and abuse. A majority of these attacks originate in the United States as fraudsters take advantage of an increase in digital transactions and economic insecurity due to unemployment and automation. These fraud and abuse cases have been traced back to everything from account logins and repayments to travel and entertainment, making their reach widespread and damaging.  

In the face of so many avenues that cybercriminals can take to stage a cyberattack, it can seem like no amount of cybersecurity and network security is enough to stave off becoming a target. It is imperative not to lose hope and take the proper precautions to protect yourself against such attacks. By knowing the risks and making a good look at your data and business by using Software Composition Analysis, you can guard yourself against attacks and ensure that even amidst an uncertain future, you will be protected. 

The State of Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in 2020

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