Malware

Ransomware Is Top Malware Threat in 2020

What is it?

Ransomware is one of the types of dangerous malicious software that uses cryptology. It can be destructive because it threatens to publish the data of the victim, or completely block access to it unless the victim pays a set ransom.

What does it do?

Some of the simple ransomware families lock the system, which for a knowledgeable person is not that hard to reverse. On the other hand, more advanced malware uses the crypto extortion technique, where the malware encrypts the files and makes them inaccessible while demanding a ransom payment for their retrieval. In a complete and proper crypto extortion attack, recovering the files without a key is impossible. In addition, it is difficult to trace digital currencies like Ukash, Bitcoin. Cryptocurrencies like these are most often used for the ransoms. Therefore, tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators behind the cybercrime is extremely difficult.

Source:enterprise.comodo.com

How does it operate?

Trojans usually carry out the ransomware attacks, disguised as legitimate files the user downloads or opens. They often come as email attachments. However, one example of this malicious software, known as the WannaCry worm, traveled automatically from one computer to another without any user interaction.

When did it start?

The first ransomware attack recorded took place in 1989. However, starting from around 2012, their volumes have grown around the globe. In total, there have been around 181.5 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018 alone, which is staggering. This is a 229% increase over the same period of the previous year, 2017. In June of 2013, McAfee released information that they had collected more than double the number of ransomware samples that quarter alone than they had in the same quarter in 2012.

Source:pcrisk.com

Which viruses are the most dangerous?

There are and have been many ransomware types out there. CryptoLocker was a very successful example. Its authors managed to accumulate around the US $3 million before the authorities busted them. In addition, CryptoWall is thought to have gained the US $18 million by June of 2015, according to US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Now, arguably the worst one is the Gandcrab virus. Gandcrab 5.2 is the latest version of this nefarious malware. It encrypts files after which the criminals behind it try to extort money to recover them back to normal so that your computer goes back to its original operations. You can decrypt files locked by older versions of Gandcrab virus yourself, and there are threads online on how to do it. However, it is difficult and there is no guarantee you will get everything back. Gandcrab 5.2 is not decyptable for now.

5 Biggest Online Threats to Be Wary Of in 2020

The internet is a fantastic place that makes our lives a lot better and easier. However, it can also be a dangerous place if you don’t take the necessary measures of precaution. Apart from being able to watch cute and funny cat videos and have access to all of the world’s information, you could also become a victim and have your money or data stolen. According to TechJury, security breaches are not only dangerous, but absolutely devastating to anyone who experiences them.

Img Source: itbriefcase.net

To help you stay safe, we’ve created a list of the biggest online threats to be worried about in 2020.

Botnets

Botnets are one of the most common online threats. They might look harmless and benign, but they can do a lot of damage.

Basically, botnets create a system of infected computers that become controlled by the attacker. However, they don’t show any symptoms of infection and continue to work normally.

Botnets usually send spam emails, spread malware, and perform DDoS attacks. Just in the first quarter of 2018, the share of botnets rose from 29% to 34%.

Img Source: cyren.com

Hacking

Hacking is the most well-known type of online threat. Everyone knows about it thanks to numerous Hollywood movies.

Hacking is the act of someone gaining unauthorized access to your devices. Hackers can then gain access to your sensitive information, steal your bank account data, or infect your computer with harmful data.

Img Source: tektonikamag.com

Sometimes, these attacks are done in a targeted way and other times they are performed on a massive scale. In 2018, for example, around 50 million Facebook accounts were affected by just one attack which is one of the most serious online threats to date.

Malware

Malware is a harmful software that is most likely to infect your devices because they are easy to create and distribute. They are usually built in suspicious or obscure software that appears to be legitimate, suspicious websites, and even ads and banners that you find on legitimate sites.

Img Source: techrepublic.com

Some of the examples include viruses, worms, trojans, adware, and spyware. To protect yourself, stay away from third-party app stores, be careful about websites you visit, and be particularly diligent about what email and other attachments and files you download.

Pharming and Phishing

Pharming and phishing are types of online frauds that online scam artists use to steal sensitive information from the internet users. Pharming is done by creating a malicious website that looks almost exactly the same as the legitimate one you’re looking for. If you enter any personal data on that website, such as your password, the hackers will immediately get hold of it.

Img Source: sector.ca

Phishing has the same goal as pharming, but it is done differently. Online scam artists usually act like a legitimate company or a service and try to trick you into disclosing your personal information. For example, they send fake emails, text messages, and even call people. If you want to know how to avoid fake emails, click here.

WiFi Eavesdropping

Did you know that you are under a bigger threat of cyber attacks when you are connected to public WiFi connections? WiFi eavesdropping is one of the most serious online threats today.

Img Source: pinaclsolutions.com

This is an act of intercepting information that is shared over unsecured WiFi networks. A hacker might potentially gain access to your device and steal your personal information, including passwords.

Therefore, if you frequently use public WiFi connections, make sure to have your anti-virus and firewall turned on.

5 Cybersecurity Trends for 2020 and How to Keep Up

In 2020, many crucial aspects of our lives will continue moving to the online sphere. For a long time, our awareness about the dangers of storing sensitive data online has been lagging behind the whirlwind development of sophisticated malware, hacking, and phishing methods.

After several large scale cybersecurity scandals, both businesses and individual users have started nurturing awareness about the importance of online safety. Staying up to date with the latest changes and upcoming trends is now a matter of survival in your respective industry – so let’s see what 2020 has in store for you.

1. Privacy regulation will continue to tighten

European Union has been a pioneer in privacy regulation efforts, creating General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). This law went into effect in early 2018, and its impact on the digital landscape has been profound.

Source:insidesmallbusiness.com.au

It changed the way businesses store and handled personal information. At the same time, it changes the conversation with the customer. Cookies and targeting are no longer a given – a customer now has to be informed about the ways their information is used and has the right to deny or revoke consent. 

Some websites managed to find a loophole by denying service to customers who reject the business’ privacy policy – and European lawmakers are already working on amendments that will clarify that these loopholes are not in accordance with GDPR.

It is reasonable to expect that in 2020, government-imposed regulations will continue to tighten. While there is no consolidated set of privacy regulations in the United States, individual states have laws that protect users’ personal information. The most important one is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020.

CCPA regulates the way companies must store and guard user data and empowers users to seek information about personal data they store and manage the way it is used.

How can your business stay up to date with this cybersecurity trend? It’s been a while since the first government-mandated changes went into effect, and companies have had enough time to prepare. Cybersecurity is no longer a matter of prestige – nowadays, it is an essential requirement for any business. Transparency and responsibility should thus be at the core of your cybersecurity plan in 2020.

2. You will witness the battle of learning machines

We mentioned how, for years, cybersecurity has been lagging behind cyberattacks. Once the machines took over, this gap has closed. Using machine learning to gather threat intelligence has been invaluable in developing solid cybersecurity tools and systems that now work in real-time.

But one of the problems that may arise in 2020 is a counter-attack. So far, most software-based cyberattacks have been sticking to relatively simple formulas. In 2020, hackers will employ machine learning to discover system vulnerabilities and leverage more sophisticated cyber attacks.

One way to keep up with this cybersecurity trend is to make sure your threat intelligence software is up for the incoming challenge. API tools such as website-categorization-api are amazing at several things at the same time, thanks to their laser-sharp focus on gathering and analyzing threat intelligence. Such a tool can:

  • Investigate threats using nothing but a URL or domain name Identify malware, phishing, fraud, and spyware. For example, e-commerce businesses often deal with form jacking, which means implanting malicious code into forms filled by buyers. Cybersecurity teams can use website categorization to look for indicators of compromised security, identify the source of attempted attacks and blacklist those domains. 
  • You can easily block bad content within your application, appliance or company network
  • Prevent potential damage to your brand image by monitoring references in unwanted categories.
  • Examine the content of a page to determine the context in terms of brands, topics or keywords, simultaneously providing a rich data source to buyers for reaching target audiences and to publishers for monetizing their inventory.

The power of such API engines lies in a multifaceted process that takes place in real-time. This tool retrieves the website content, analyzes it based on natural language processing, and verifies results using humans – allowing you to blend the best of both worlds.

3. Security will move to clouds

Source:blog.rackspace.com

Hosting data and apps in clouds has been increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes, mid-size, and small ones in particular. This solution’s flexibility and scalability are attractive to companies who lack expertise or resources to keep their services up to date.

However, this comes with a cost – as different companies often share clouds, hackers see clouds as a valuable target for more sophisticated attacks. In case of security breaches in poorly segmented clouds, cyberattacks can easily reach several goals at the same time, affecting dozens of businesses and their customers.

Cloud-based security solutions are the 2020’s response to this cybersecurity challenge. The cloud serves as a bridge between users and their network, constantly scanning traffic for threats and being able to stop cyberattacks before they reach either the network or the end-user. 

These clouds are an excellent solution for businesses who don’t have the expertise or resources to protect their network from increasingly sophisticated hackers and malware.

API tools like website categorization can be easily integrated into the platform to boost its security, both by individual businesses and cloud providers.

4. Cybersecurity will become a foundation stone

In the past, cybersecurity has been a mere afterthought for companies. First, there would be a website, software, or platform, and only then would the businesses add layers of protection.

In 2020, this mindset will be all but gone. Cybersecurity will be built from the ground up, integrated into every foundation stone of digital solutions.

This mindset is particularly important if you want to keep up with cybersecurity trends in 2020. You have to understand that cybersecurity is not an attachment – it is an integral part of your product. Upgrades and maintenance are no longer a periodical task – they are an ongoing process.

5. There will be a shortage of cybersecurity talent

Source:computerworld.com

While most of the cybersecurity trends in 2020 are merely challenging opportunities that enable growth, this one may develop into a serious problem.

There is a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, while the demand keeps growing. The supply and demand may level out in a few years, but 2020 won’t be that year.

Apart from guarding your security talent, another solution is relying on companies and digital tools built by the greatest minds in the cybersecurity industry.

Cybersecurity trends in 2020 will emphasize the importance of prevention threats to intelligence. Make sure you’re up for this challenge – the choice of right intelligence provider may be the single most important decision you’ll make this year.