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10 Cybersecurity Issues That Make Us Vulnerable in 2019

As people become more and more dependent on technology and smart devices, they have become increasingly open to various attacks. Now, such threats have a tendency to evolve from one year to the next.

This is partially is because cybersecurity experts tend to find solutions to these issues relatively quickly, once they have first appeared.

So, if you would like to know what threats to watch out for this year, these are your top ten issues to be aware of:

1. The Downside of Connectivity

Every day, there are more and more devices being connected to the internet of things. In the beginning, these were smartphones, laptops, tablets, and more. These days, however, there is an increasing number of smart home appliances being connected as well.

This is where the real threat begins. While most people will make it a point to secure their personal smart devices, they won’t think to do the same with their home appliances. Due to this, watchful hackers will have a relatively easy time breaking into people’s homes or gathering sensitive information at the very least.

2. Ad Blockers and Security Hole

These days, you will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have an adblocker on their laptop or phone. It is precisely this security measure, though, that you could be a major cybersecurity concern for millions of people. Popular adblockers like Adblock, Adblock Plus, and uBlock are all at risk of this.

In particular, there is a hole in the filter feature of these mentioned adblockers. If they are exploited, hackers can have access to quite a bit of personal data. At the top of this list would be well-guarded secrets like login information.

Related: 5 Emerging Cybersecurity Trends in 2019

3. Improved Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are nothing new. However, these kinds of attacks keep evolving year and after year and it is no different in 2019. While phishing attacks were once relegated to email, this is no longer the case. As people’s methods of communication have grown more advanced, so have their vulnerabilities.

This is why most phishing attacks will target SaaS, messaging apps, and shared files. Since most of these platforms aren’t protected against such attacks, more people are vulnerable to them. The phishing attacks that do involve email have become more sophisticated as well. Therefore, they may appear in the form of the business email compromise scheme.

4. A Lack of Suitable Professionals

Believe it or not, one of the biggest vulnerabilities discovered in 2019 is the fact that there are not nearly enough cybersecurity professionals to handle all of these issues. For instance, it is estimated that there will be around 3.5 million vacant cybersecurity positions around the world.

As you can imagine, this is a rather dire situation considering that cybercrime is on the rise and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Not to mention, the average individual isn’t equipped to deal with some of the smallest tech-related security concerns. Therefore, the lack of experts could mean that everyone – individuals and corporations alike – have an even greater risk of being hacked or scammed.

5. VPN and Lack of Safety for Personal Info

Since the news has broken about just how much information is collected about people online, many have taken to downloading VPNs on their devices. This, of course, has been to limit just how many details are getting out there. Unfortunately, this has backfired in many instances in recent days.

The four main culprits in this vulnerability have been discovered as apps originated from Cisco, Palo Alto Networks, F5 Networks, and Pulse Secure. Unbeknownst to users, these apps were storing session cookies as well as authentication cookies. Attackers with this kind of access would then be able to continue the VPN session without needing to provide any type of authentication.

6. A Shift in Ransomware Victims

Ransomware made headlines in 2018 due to the fact that it was able to hold some many high-profile companies and networks hostage. The fact that cryptocurrency is also rather widely used has made it even easier for the perpetrators to get away with large sums of money. However, as companies are making the effort to plug up their soft spots – a vulnerability is emerging in another area.

While companies are beefing up their cybersecurity, high-profile and wealthy individuals may be the new targets. Unlike large organizations, these people don’t usually make an effort to safeguard their personal details as well. Therefore, not only are they open to attack but cybercriminals can still get away with a lot of money.

7. Proof-of-Concept Vulnerability in Chrome

Millions of people rely on Google Chrome which is why this particular proof-of-concept exploit code is so dangerous. The code was put together by Istvan Kurucsai and then published to highlight just what an issue this was to the general community. This is to do with Google’s patching process, where there is a short interval that can be exploited.

While the security issue for Chromes version 8 JavaScript engine has been sorted out, the response hasn’t been quite as quick for other versions. Chrome version 73 has yet to be fixed. The result of this is that there may be almost a billion people at risk from attack.

8. Breach of Digital Medical Devices

Medical care is advancing in a number of different ways. Now, one of the more obvious ways is that as personal medical information moves online, it becomes vulnerable to breaches. This is especially since many hospitals are still trying to play catch up as far as cybersecurity is concerned.

However, one of the more dangerous concerns though is how easy it may be for hackers and other criminals to hack into personal medical devices. Many devices these days can be controlled or adjusted remotely through smartphones and other related devices. However, the protections around these machines are weak. Thus, once accessed, a hacker could mess with dosages, change readings, and much more.

9. The Advancement of Cryptojacking in 2019

Cryptojacking in 2018 was largely tied to the popularity of cryptocurrency and related mining. Last year, cryptojacking was still in its infancy and so, the number of individuals involved was relatively small. This year, however, that statistic just may continue to make it worse. The really bad news, though, is that diminishing returns on such activities to could pose an even bigger threat.

This year, one of the biggest causes of cryptojacking has been third-party assistive technology being linked up with larger corporations. As you can imagine, as people become more reliant on such apps and options, their vulnerabilities to cryptojacking will continue to increase. This combined with a greater number of attempts will make cryptojacking a real problem in the coming year.

Related: 2019’s First Major Data Breach Consists of Nearly 773 Million Email Addresses

10. Hacking Related to Physical Attacks

If cyber threats were bad enough, cyber threats related to physical attacks are downright terrifying. The bad news is that they may be more of a possibility than people realize. Why? Well, hackers have proven that it is frighteningly simple for people to access the United States weapon system. A staged attack was able to get in within an hour and gain control within a day.

This attack took place in 2018 but continues to be a problem in 2019. This is because it was discovered that there are numerous vulnerabilities in the Department of Defense system. To add to this, there is a limited effort being made to plug up these leaks. So, these pose a threat to nations all around the world.

As you can see, it appears that there are far more vulnerabilities this year alone that most people will have imagined. Therefore, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to be alert to any and all possible hazards.

About the Author: Jesse Powell

Jesse Powell has a passion for all things tech-related, with a specific focus on the digital and physical elements of cybersecurity. Currently, he is a member of an online organization that runs background checks to improve internet safety and security in general.

SensorsTechForum Guest Authors

The opinions expressed in these guest posts are entirely those of the contributing author, and may not reflect those of SensorsTechForum.

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