Threat Report

CTC’s January 2019 Threat Report

Despite continual technological advances, development of a crystal ball that accurately predicts the future of cybersecurity eludes us.

Thankfully, a couple of recent news items provide guideposts that may well come in handy for this new year.

Experts Predict 2019 Cybersecurity Dangers

Responding to a request from Forbes, a number of IT experts shared their predictions for 2019. 

Corey Nachreiner, the CTO of WatchGuard Technologies, sounds the warning about AI-driven chatbots going “rogue.” Nachreiner: “In 2019, cyber criminals and black hat hackers will create malicious chatbots that try to socially engineer victims into clicking links, downloading files or sharing private information.”

Cylance Chief Security and Trust Officer Malcolm Harkins sound a different alarm. “Instead of breaking systems with ransomware, adversaries will leverage new tools to conduct harmful assaults on targeted subjects and organizations.”

ALSO READ: The leaders at Cylance and WatchGuard know their cybersecurity stuff. Cylance makes our list of Top Antivirus Providers for 2019, while WatchGuard makes the list of Top Data Loss Prevention Providers.

Additional predictions:

  • “Fraud attacks continue to rise, and we can expect to see them increase in volume up to 2-3X in the coming year.”
    — Steven Gray, Head of Payments, Tax and Fraud, Radial
  • “Several breaches will be directly tied to installed IoT technology.”
    — Deral Heiland, IoT Research Lead, Rapid7
  • “2019 will be a key year for re-skilling the workforce, educating new talent and making the right moves to face the cyber challenge.”
    — Avishai Sharlin, General Manager, Amdocs Technology

Take a Pass on Recurring Cybersecurity Password Problems

When it came to passwords, 2018 bore little difference from previous years: it was bad. Users continued relying upon the same weak passwords. The top 10:

  1. 123456 (rank unchanged from last year)
  2. password (unchanged)
  3. 123456789 (up three spots)
  4. 12345678 (down one)
  5. 12345 (unchanged)
  6. 111111 (new)
  7. 1234567 (up one)
  8. sunshine (new)
  9. qwerty (down five)
  10. iloveyou (unchanged)

Appearing among spots 11-25: “princess,” “football,” “monkey,” and — possibly in a nod to the U.S. president — “donald,” appearing on the list for the first time.

Marcin Kleczynski, the founder and CEO of Malwarebytes, thinks 2019 we see “a more concerted effort” to replace passwords altogether.

SplashData estimates almost 10% of people have used at least one of the 25 worst passwords on this year’s list, and nearly 3% of people have used the worst password, 123456.

ALSO READ: If your organization repeatedly encourages users to use stronger passwords to no avail, it might be time to change your approach.

China News Encapsulates Cybersecurity Threats

Advancing cyber threats and weak passwords are converging at a bad time for the U.S.

China’s efforts to steal U.S. technology information have accelerated, according to intelligence officials and analysts. Motivations may include:

  • Current trade issues between the two nations
  • U.S. efforts to tighten export controls in industries such as aerospace
  • Rules governing Chinese investment in Silicon Valley

From the New York Times: “The [Chinese] operatives have intensified their focus on America’s commercial and industrial prowess, and on technologies that the Chinese believe can give them a military advantage.”

Take Action

Irrespective of the bad actor(s) involved — whether it is state-sponsored or a single cybercriminal — your data requires strong protections. CTC Technologies has the solutions you need. Contact us today to learn how a complimentary consultation can lead to promptly deployed cybersecurity protections for your company.