With the excessive use of the internet and digital devices, personal information and valuable data are at high risk of falling into the hands of hackers and cybercriminals. Everything is vulnerable to cyber-attacks and threats, from mobile phones to computers to IoT. Cybersecurityis the need of the hour and has become a turning point across various industries, especially the e-commerce sector.
Interestingly, cybersecurity has been evolving in both ways: the intensity of security threats and preventive measures. Cybercriminals are geared toward more innovative techniques to sabotage systems, networks, and servers. Similarly, cybersecurity technologies to safeguard data and other IT infrastructure are also developing to cater to the rising security challenges. As a result, organizations are paying attention to the scope of cybersecurity in the future.
Before moving to how cybersecurity has changed over the last decade, it’s important to highlight the value of cybersecurity awareness and education in the coming years. With no difference in any industry, cybersecurity will become an essential ingredient for success. Employers will increase the cybersecurity workforce and hire a dedicated team to protect their data and prevent breaches and threats.
So, if you are a cybersecurity professional, consider advancing your education to appeal more to potential employers. Furthermore, you can avail relevant qualifications from reputable universities to stay relevant and adapt to modern challenges. Cybersecurity MBA from Murray State University, for example, can help you to hone your business and cybersecurity skills simultaneously.
Considering all the factors, let us look at how the cybersecurity landscape has evolved in the last decade.
Rise of social media and data breaches
Social media has become mainstream in the last decade, with Facebook and Instagram becoming popular platforms. Since then, life has not been the same. Social media has changed the entire lifestyle of people, especially Millennials and Generation Z. The race to get maximum likes and followers led to the commodification of personal data.
The availability of data everywhere on the internet has unlocked new opportunities for hackers and cyber criminals who realize the value of data. They have upgraded hacking and attacking techniques over the years and extracted people’s personal information for financial gain. When Data breaches happen, as Hari Ravichandran explains, people do not go back and check what went wrong to make sure it never happens again, which is a real shame.
For instance, phishing has been continuously rising for a few years. It manipulates people to open infected links and download attachments and files to damage the system and extract information. Stealing personal information and hacking valuable data is much easier when people are not well-versed in cybersecurity measures. Regardless of preventive techniques, nearly every person who is an internet user has faced cyber threats in one way or another.
The Snowden Effect and recognition of data potential
In 2013, the discovery that the NSA was involved in spying on millions of USA citizens was made public. Edward Snowden was the main lead of this story, who uncovered dark secrets of the American state agency. Regardless of his character as a hero or a villain, his actions profoundly impacted American culture. His shocking revelations made the headlines over a few years and still do.
It was the time the general public realized how their personal information was at stake. Anyone can spy on them, share and spread their data without their knowledge. It shook the public’s confidence in the government, and they began understanding the value of “metadata.” In short, the Snowden effect had far-reaching results on the cybersecurity industry that paved the way for a legal framework. Many governments were forced to think about data and its related issues and formulate laws and regulations for data privacy and protection.
The first ransomware for the digital payments
2017 was an eye-opening year for every IT expert and leading data company as the world’s first ransomware, WannaCry, unfolded. It took nearly 230,000 computers hostage across 150 countries and demanded a ransom of $300 in Bitcoins. It was one of the first examples of cybersecurity threats that alarmed public and private enterprises. WannaCryunveiled the future tactics of cyber criminals and forced the public to face the music. It was the widespread ransomware that also attacked personal computers without any difference. It was the time when leading think tanks and IT industries paid heed to the scope of cyber security.
In the same year, another deadly ransomware, the NotPetya, also came to the forefront of the cyber landscape. It not only affected more than 12000 computers for ransom but also stopped them from working completely. NotPetya also suspended operations of one of the FedEx subsidiaries with an incurring loss of $300. Other leading companies that bore the deadly effects of this ransomware included Maersk, Rosneft, and WPP.
Multi-factor authentication as a common practice
Technically, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is not a new advancement in the last decade; it has been since the rise of computing devices. This technology dates back to the 1960s when the first ATM was invented. It works on the principle that when someone wants to access something, they use multiple sources with authenticated identities.
Although MFA existed before the last decade, IT experts started to raise awareness after the breakthroughs in data breaches and cyber threats. Currently, MFA has become prevalent, and every user must go through it to log in to their Google account and other digital accounts. Multiple or two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security and serves as a protective shield around data and other information. With MFA, your data is safer and secure from potential access by hackers and other cyber attackers.
Data encryption for data protection
Just like MFA, data encryption has also become common worldwide over the last few years. Encrypted data is transferred over networks in a coded form that makes it hard for hackers to decode it until they have gained access to the decryption key. One of the common examples of data encryption is the feature of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on websites. Next time you visit any website, look for a lock symbol in the address bar. A secured website always displays this sign, and it presents SSL technology.
Even though the government and many other actors oppose the level of encryption to this extent, still, it is contributing to the development of secure cyberspace where every user is free from fear of hacking and other cyber threats.
The landscape of cybersecurity technology has undergone major shifts in the last decade. The abundance of data everywhere created challenges for cybersecurity experts at many forefronts. To create a security-proof future, we need to learn lessons from the past. What went wrong, and how? You can become a part of the great future if you prepare yourself to handle the growing cybersecurity threats with profound knowledge of the past and the latest cybersecurity threats.