One of the greatest challenges in the digital landscape is security. New technologies enter the market on a regular basis, bringing with them unforeseen weaknesses that can easily translate into data breaches or similar threats, which result in an average $4 million setback for businesses. Because remedying these issues is vital, companies that can deliver cybersecurity solutions will thrive.

Cybersecurity efforts to safeguard against increasingly sophisticated hackers and other cybercriminals grow more and more complex each year. In 2016, innovation drove record-setting levels of cybercrimes, leading to the coining of the term hacktivism. Based on careful analysis of these issues, leaders in the digital space predict the following security trends for 2017:

1. Cross-industry collaboration will grow.

The growing need for greater security capacities will necessitate collaboration across all areas of society, including businesses, government agencies, and academia. By sharing their ideas and concerns, organizations in these sectors will boost their strength and efficiency as they tackle security issues from a variety of standpoints. High-performance computing and machine-learning adaptability hold the most potential for helping these joint forces preempt cyber-attacks.

2. Ransomware will present a greater threat.

Ransomware is software that infects a digital device or system, locking it down until the user meets the cybercriminal’s monetary demand. In the past, people used this malicious approach to target a single individual or company. However, advances in technology might soon enable ransomware to affect hundreds of victims in a surprisingly small amount of time. This has led some to believe that ransomware attacks could multiply by 25 percent in 2017.

3. IoT will be a bigger target for hackers.

When the Internet of things (IoT) first hit the market, developers and industry leaders anticipated security threats in one form or another. This concern remained largely a matter of conversation until the 2016 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Dyn. Cybersecurity is now a pressing reality for IoT — one that will likely expand this year.

4. Internal attacks will outpace perimeter ones.

Businesses and organizations have built up strong defenses against external attacks, but in doing so, they have left internal points of access vulnerable. As a result, hackers are finding ever-more advanced ways to enter systems with credentials that appear legitimate. As a result, hackers can gain access to data and target individuals in a way that makes them appear to be a coworker or supervisor of that person.

5. Mobile security threats will continue to increase.

In connection with IoT-related threats, mobile devices, especially those owned by individuals of influence and wealth, will become even more vulnerable. Estimates project that roughly 4 percent of all devices have already contracted malware. This doesn’t just affect the user of the device, it also impacts his or her employer, given the prevalence of company phones and tablets in the workplace and the general lack of safety protocols regarding their use.

6. Chip-enabled cards will shift fraud dynamics.

The development of credit and debit cards with chips for cybersecurity have, in one way, achieved their purpose. Fewer and fewer instances of fraud occur at the point of sale. However, hackers have redirected their attention from card cloning to creating fraudulent accounts by means of identity theft. This illegal activity may become a $20 billion industry by 2018.

7. Hacktivism will continue to spread.

The act of breaking into a computer system to further one’s political agenda is called hacktivism. One recent example of this activity is the hack of the Democratic National Committee. From now on, businesses and organizations that openly sponsor or endorse controversial social issues will not be the only ones at risk for these threats in the future. Neutral entities must also take certain safety measures, especially as many attacks will likely take place on a smaller scale than the hack of the DNC.

8. Hacking tools will be more accessible than ever.

One of the driving forces behind the need to step up cybersecurity protection is the simple fact that hackers can pick up the trade with little-to-no experience. In fact, many individuals who purchase tools for breaking into systems have no idea how they actually work, only that they do. Such off-the-shelf approaches present an expanding threat to businesses, which also ironically face shortages in qualified IT personnel.

9. Cyber insurance will gain value.

As companies develop heightened security strategies in 2017, cyber insurance will undoubtedly figure in to many plans. Insurance for cyber-attacks will help offset the costs of repairing reputations with customers and enable them to recoup the revenue losses from the negative media that usually accompanies such misfortunes. Importantly, companies that insure others will have to provide custom coverage plans to meet their clients’ specific needs.

10. Businesses will invest proactively in cybersecurity.

Network and data security will be paramount in 2017, and companies will likely dramatically expand their spending in these areas. IT departments will bolster their efforts in every imaginable way, including increased video surveillance. Further, the position of chief cybercrime officer, or CCO, will grow more widely recognized.

This article was written by Keith Krach

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