Microsoft : Cybersecurity Trends + How To Stay Safe In 2020!

As part of Safer Internet Day (SID), Antony Cook from Microsoft shared the key cybersecurity trends in 2020, and how we can stay safe against those dangers.

Even if we are experienced techies, it is enlightening to find out what Microsoft believes are the cybersecurity threats that we should be looking out for in 2020.

 

Microsoft : Key Cybersecurity Trends In 2020!

Cybersecurity Trend #1 : Less Ransomware But More Attacks

Ransomware has declined in recent years, dropping more than 60% from its peak. But Microsoft sees a rise in other types of cyberattacks.

Attackers have learned that ransomware attracts too much attention from law enforcement, and organisations have gotten better at backing up their data.

So hackers are moving onto other activities like cryptocurrency malware and phishing, where they can more easily profit with less attention.

Microsoft : Cybersecurity Trends + How To Stay Safe In 2020!

Cybersecurity Trend #2 : Mining Malware Will Be Big!

Attackers are often acting for financial benefit, so they will make big bets on cryptocurrency, especially in Bitcoin.

They will focus more on mining malware that lets them use your computer to mine cryptocurrency coins without being detected.

Coin mining software is easily available, and cybercriminals have put malware into many widely-shared and used software. They are also trying to inject these malware through websites illegally streaming copyrighted content like the latest movies.

Cybersecurity Trend #3 : Embedded Threats

Attackers are now more sophisticated, targeting legitimate and trusted software supply points to deliver malware. There have been many examples of this attack vector :

  • a routine update for a tax accounting application,
  • popular freeware tools which have backdoors forcibly installed,
  • a server management software package,
  • an internet browser extension or site plugin,
  • malicious images which active scripts when clicked,
  • peer-to-peer applications

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In those cases, attackers were able to change the code of legitimate software that people trust and install without hesitation, allowing them to “hitch a ride”.

This attack vector is very dangerous and frustrating, because it takes advantage of the trust that consumers and IT departments already have for legitimate software.

Cybersecurity Trend #4 : Phishing Scams

Phishing continues to be one of the most effective ways to compromise systems, because it targets human decisions and judgment.

Microsoft noted that the percentage of inbound emails that were detected as phishing messages increased 250% throughout 2018, and they expect the final figures for 2019 to show the same trend.

 

Microsoft : How To Stay Safe In 2020!

Here is a summary of what Microsoft believes we should do to stay safe online against cybersecurity threats in 2020 :

Cybersecurity Tip #1 : Practice Good Security Hygiene

  1. Keep your operating system and software updated.
  2. Turn on email and browser protections.
  3. Apply the cybersecurity configurations that your hardware and software vendors recommend.
  4. Stay away from any unfamiliar software or websites.
  5. Use only legitimate software, and not just your key applications.

Microsoft : Cybersecurity Trends + How To Stay Safe In 2020!

Cybersecurity Tip #2 : Implement More Access Controls

System administrators should implement more access controls, using Zero Trust or at least privilege models.

This will limit hackers that successfully break into your network from accessing more than a segment.

Cybersecurity Tip #3 : 3-2-1 Backup!

Make sure you create and keep backups, and the cloud is a great tool for this.

Microsoft recommends adhering to the 3-2-1 rule – keep three backups of your data on two different storage types, with at least one backup offsite.

Cybersecurity Tip #4 : Keep Vigilant!

Even if we implement strong cybersecurity measures, we must remain vigilant, and keep an eye out for suspicious activity.

Not just system administrators, but users as well. If you see anything suspicious – report it to your IT department immediately.

It can be anything from a sudden slowdown in your computer’s performance, to strange web pages and images appearing.

 

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