The more things change, the more things stay the same. The cybersecurity industry is a good example of that common expression. The data that’s collected and the methods for collecting it are new and evolving, but money is still a top motivation, even if the data itself is right behind it. Small businesses have to protect themselves from data breaches now, unlike before, but big companies and financial institutions remain at risk. Cyberattacks are getting smarter every day—they’ve been around for years and they’re not going anywhere.
The way people use technology today exposes them more than they realize. In the past, hackers attacked businesses for bragging rights or to take down entire servers. Today, individuals and their money and personal data are the target. This onslaught of attacks has left many companies struggling to keep them at bay, but advances in security automation could leave some businesses even more exposed. Those who want to get into the cybersecurity field or upgrade their current position have to understand what’s new in cybersecurity for 2019 and how to stay on top of trends moving forward.
Attacks Focused on People
In the past, cyberattacks were against infrastructure: anti-virus software, firewalls, and routers, for example. Now, people are the target; hackers have discovered that humans and their personal information are much more vulnerable. The healthcare industry is particularly at risk because of the confidentiality of their patient records, which is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
Cybersecurity specialists have to keep up with the different ways hackers are targeting individuals and customizing their scams. Emails are now filled with real, correct information about the individual. For example, a new scam mentions an actual password that the recipient uses for one of their accounts. The security industry always has to be one step ahead, which requires thinking like a hacker—some companies even hire ex-black hat hackers.
The Internet of Things
Cybersecurity isn’t relegated to your computer anymore. Today, consumers and businesses have all sorts of connected devices, from their televisions to their doorbells. Any device that’s connected to the internet, no matter how small or seemingly basic, creates yet another risk for a cyberattack—your information is connected to the device that’s online and therefore it can be hacked. When consumer retail companies design these products, security isn’t their priority.
As new products enter the market, security policies have to be updated, but often there’s a big gap in time. Cybersecurity professionals should stay on top of new trends in the industry regarding connected home devices, wearable tech, and other items and learn about the privacy and security issues of each one. Case studies can be a huge help here—finding out how one company was vulnerable can help you detect potentials vulnerabilities in a similar company.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Protection
There are a lot of wonderful uses for AI and robotics, but when it comes to cybersecurity, professionals are skeptical. It makes sense, on the surface, that companies and even IT departments want to rely on AI to prevent attacks. If a reliable algorithm is created, cyberattacks can be prevented or fought against at a massive scale. In many ways, the cybersecurity industry isn’t equipped to handle the massive number of threats it’s now dealing with.
On the one hand, AI may be able to detect a threat before a hack occurs, then alert employees who will take action to fix the issue. On the other hand, the fact that this type of machine learning works a lot of the time doesn’t mean it works all the time, which leaves the company highly exposed.
Cybersecurity professionals who want to understand and improve the intersection of AI and security benefit from looking into the many different security algorithms available. If AI is going to be relied on, then these algorithms have to overlap and report on each other so that a threat can be detected even if one of the algorithms is compromised.
How Cybersecurity Professionals Can Stay on Top of the Industry
Wanting to transition into a management role? There’s going to be a lot of competition—cybersecurity management positions are among the fastest growing jobs right now. To stand out from the crowd, make sure you’re completely up-to-date on your cybersecurity knowledge, including knowing the latest tools and how to use them.
- Follow what the experts are doing and read reports from reputable companies, like Cisco. Even following cybersecurity conversations on Twitter will help you get up to speed.
- Study cyberattacks—you can find the latest reported in the news. Figure out what the hacker did and how they did it.
- Consider going back to school either full-time if you don’t have an advanced degree or for individual classes to learn the latest information.
- Seek out a job where they’ll provide training or put you through a certification course. Many jobs will also send you to training courses whenever there’s something new to learn.
Cybersecurity is a field that will continue to evolve for years to come. That’s part of its excitement and also part of its challenge. Cybersecurity professionals have to stay dedicated to constant learning, training and evolving along with the attackers not just in 2019, but every year going forward.