As many of you know, when I started my tech writing business years ago (in fact it is approaching the 10-year anniversary next weekend), my first focus was on Biometrics.  It wasn’t until last summer when I decided to expand into Cybersecurity. 

I have made many contacts and learned a lot during this transition, but one thing I did not know about was that the first week in March has been traditionally the time for a major Cybersecurity event:  The RSA Conference, held in California.

Apparently, this is the one big event of the year, so many of my contacts are going there.  I have asked them to share with me their experiences about it, so I can write some blog postings about it.  I am hoping to go next year, but as a member of the Press.  The price tag is staggering:  Almost $3k for one person to attend.

Anyways, I am sure at this conference a lot of the talk will be what the Cybersecurity landscape will be like in 2019 as we get further into it.  But don’t worry, people have been talking about it already, and there is already a report that has come out with has happened so far this year.  This is known as the “2019 Webroot Threat Report”, and it can be accessed at this link:

https://www-cdn.webroot.com/9315/5113/6179/2019_Webroot_Threat_Report_US_Online.pdf

Here are the major findings:

*40% of legitimate and authentic websites actually host malicious content:

Believe it or not, even those websites that are for the real thing, somehow, are hosting malicious forms of content.  I really do not know this can happen, but my first thought is that of insecure Source Code practices.  Through this, the Cyberattacker can find a backdoor, and covertly insert malicious code.  This can even be likened to that of a SQL Injection Attack, but on a much more sophisticated basis.  And yes, this even happened to me as well.  I was trying to copy and paste some contact information from a Cybersecurity vendor, and somehow, I picked up a virus on my computer.  I think that this was a .DOC malware, as it totally corrupted my Word application, and from there, the rest of my computer.

*Home devices are 2X as likely to get infected than business devices:

So far this year, 68% of home-based devices have been impacted by a Cyberattack, while in stark comparison, only 32% of businesses have had their endpoints impacted.

*Phishing Attacks are still on the rise:

Ah yes, this is probably about the most well-known type of Cyberattack.  Although it can be considered to be one of the oldest, there are many new variants that are coming out, and getting more sophisticated by the day.  Take these stats into consideration:  The overall number of Phishing Attacks have increased by 36%, but the overall number Phishing sites have swelled by 220% so far in just these first two months of 2019.  For example, Phishing sites make use of the SSL Certificates and the HTTPS Protocol in order to trick end users that they are visiting real and authentic websites.  In fact, financial based institutions have been the primary target for fake websites at 77% of them reporting that they have become a victim of a fake website.  Believe it or not, in this regard, it is Google that is the most impersonated website this year alone.

*New variants of Malware are coming out, and are finding new places in which to hide:

As many of my podcast guests have predicted, new Malware variants have come out this year.  But a new trend is now occurring in 2019, which nobody predicted before.  These variants are now finding new places to hide on your computer or wireless device.  For example, 29.4% are hiding out it in the %appdata% folder, 24.5% have found their home in the %temp% directory, and 17.5% are finding their comforts in the %cache% directory.  Why do they hide out here?  Well, these folders have full end user permissions on them, and are hidden on the Windows OS (starting with Vista on up).

*Cryptojacking is taking off:

Also as predicted, this will be the new trend for 2019, and so far, it is taking shape that way.  For example, the total number of attacks have increased two-fold in January and February of this year alone when compared to the same time period of September – December last year (2018).  Coinhive still remains the most widely used form of Crpytojacking technique, being used by more than 80% of the Cyberattackers that are out there.

*Ransomware will become much more targeted:

Although the overall trend is on the decline, Ransomware has, and will continue to be a major threat vector in 2019.  But, as I have mentioned before, these kinds of attacks will be much more targeted, sophisticated, and covert.  Remember, the Cyberattacker of today is taking their own sweet time to study and profile their victims in order to find their weak spots.  The goal here is once they are in, they want to stay in for a long period of time.  It is also expected that the Cyberattacker will make further use of the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) in order to launch the new Ransomware variants.  

My thoughts on this?

Well, there you have it, here is what has happened so far in 2019.  I think that two important takeaways here are that authentic websites falling victim to malicious content and Endpoint Security are two new trends that will emerge more as we roll further into 2019.  But it is also important to keep in mind that the Cyberattacker of today is not necessarily making use of sophisticated technology in order to launch their particular vectors.

This is an investment and expense on their part, and as a result, they are now using even the old fashion techniques:  Calling an employee on the telephone and sounding like an authoritative figure in order for that unsuspecting victim to give up their confidential information and data (primarily their username and password). 

Also, I think over time, you will see that 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) is going to give way for Multifactor Authentication (where more than three layers of Security are used in order to confirm the identity of an individual).

Finally, there will be another twist in the Cybersecurity saga:  A strong movement to get real world Cyberattackers to change over from the bad side and onto the good site.  After all, it can take quite a while for people on the good side to come up with new innovations in this field, so why not attract the bad guys who can do it better and quicker:  “We wax poetic about innovation in the cybersecurity field, but you only have to take one look at the stats in this year’s report to know that the true innovators are the cybercriminals . . . they continue to find new ways to combine attack methods or compromise new and existing vectors for maximum results.”  (SOURCE:  https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/89930-forty-percent-of-malicious-urls-found-on-good-domains).