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2020 cybersecurity challenges will need many lenses

By INDI SIRINIWASA, VP at Trend Micro Sub Saharan Africa

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Regardless the state of digital transformation at an organisation, cybersecurity must always remain a corporate priority. But adding to the complexity of the ever-widening attack surface, is the increasing reliance on cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), and the associated impact both these have on DevOps.

With the annual costs associated with cyberattacks expected to reach more than $6 trillion by 2021, it is one of the most significant challenges facing decision-makers. Safeguarding data is not only a compliance concern but a financial one as well. If this most valuable business asset is compromised, significant fines, the loss of shareholder trust, and brand damage can combine to see less resilient businesses being forced to shut down.

As reliance on data increases, so too will the attacks. Threat actors are using more innovative ways of trying to compromise data with the ultimate payload being infecting the business with ransomware. And without access to its data, most companies are ‘dead in the water’. This results in many choosing to pay and hoping that will be the end of their worries. Unfortunately, this only opens the business up to further attacks.

Evolving threat landscape

Beyond these more traditional corporate attacks, next year will see more threats emerging targeting online banking services. Fraudsters in West Africa will intensify their scam campaigns and become more nuanced around social engineering and phishing attacks to compromise financial credentials.

Unfortunately, relying on updating security patches alone will no longer be good enough. In the rush to keep the increasing number of digital holes plugged, patches are being rushed out compromising their quality. It will also inevitably lead to patch gaps occurring that will cause significant weak points in the organisational defences. Yes, patches must be implemented but they are no longer the only cybersecurity measures an organisation must implement.

Next year, crime-as-a-service will become commonplace. This sees blockchain environments used to pay cybercriminals in underground markets providing them with an easy (and ironically enough more secure way) to monetise cybercrime. It also means companies can more easily commit corporate espionage and even governments can target foreign entities to compromise their infrastructure by simply paying top dollar to the best hackers in the market.

Protecting things

The growth of IoT and the increasing availability of connected devices to the corporate back-end will present a significant threat to corporates in the year to come. Coupled with this is the start of the 5G rollout which will start happening in 2020 creating new risks that will challenge how IoT security is approached.

Given the newness of 5G technology, several vulnerabilities are likely to be introduced that can be exploited. But despite this, many IoT attacks will still likely take advantage of older, more rudimentary weaknesses in default passwords and setups as well as communication protocol technology that is not effectively safeguarded.

Developing for security

As IoT, 5G, and cloud continue to drive business to a digitally connected world, the way DevOps approach security must change. The pressure to move to a cloud environment are raising concerns around the security of its different layers. For example, vulnerabilities in container runtimes, orchestrators, and build environments must now become a focal point while not neglecting the data access points into the organisation.

Furthermore, misconfigurations when it comes to cloud storage can have the unintended consequences of compromising security. This will become even more prevalent as more multi-national data centres open in the country and businesses flock to the cloud.

All told, the rapidly evolving cybersecurity environment means larger investments must be made to protect company data and systems. User education will be vital to ensure data protection policies remain top of mind.

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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Cars

For users, in-car touchscreens ever more useless

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As touchscreens become more commonplace, the gulf of perceived differences in the performance of these features between cars and other devices (such as mobile and in-home) has become wider. A new report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has investigated car owners’ satisfaction with their on-board touchscreens. Long hamstrung by poor UX and extended production cycles, in-car touchscreens are seen by car users and buyers as lagging behind the experience offered by touchscreens outside the car. As such, consumer satisfaction has continued to slide in China and Europe, while reaching historic lows in the US.

Surveying consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China via web-survey, key report findings include:

  • Difficult text entry and excessive fingerprint smudging are common complaints among all car owners.
  • Because touchscreens have reached market saturation in the US, satisfaction with in-car screens has tailed off significantly.
  • However, touchscreens remain a relatively newer phenomenon in many car models in Western Europe (compared with the US) and thus their limitations are less prominent in the minds of car owners.
  • Overall touchscreen satisfaction fell for the fifth straight year in China, indicating a growing impatience for in-car UX to match UX found elsewhere in the consumer electronics space.

Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author, says, “Part of the issue with fingerprint smudging is the angle at which in-car touchscreens are installed – they make every fingerprint increasingly visible.

“Fingerprint smudging is an issue across all touchscreen-based consumer electronics. But in most form factors and especially mobile devices, consumers can quite easily adjust their viewing angle. This is not always the case with fixed in-car screens.”

Says Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “Although hardware quality certainly figures in many of the usual complaints car owners have about their screens, it is not the sole factor. Cockpit layout and UI design can play important roles in mitigating some issues with in-car touchscreens.”

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