What to Expect in 2019

3.  More nation-state hacking

Why? More disruption of society and more benefits to the nations doing the hacking. Nation-state hacking: 1) removes trust of citizens; 2) provides intellectual property and sensitive information to governments who want to use such data and ideas to create their own competing products and services, in addition to knowing what is going on next for innovations; 3) disrupts financial institutions, giving more economic competitive edge to the hacking nations; and 4) is used to find blackmail targets, for both political and economic gains to the nations hacking.

Nation-state hacking is also now targeted at not just government entities and agents, and business suppliers and vendors, but every person who goes online, has a smart device, and whose personal data is in any type of compromised database is a potential target. Those who lack, or have insufficient, security controls and awareness, and those with sloppy or no security protections, will become hacking targets. Former NSA hackers say Russia, China, Iran and North Korea are the primary nation state hackers. But, we all know the USA, and many other nations, are also very active.

Two actions (of many necessary) to protect against nation state hacking:
  1. Implement long-standing security practices. Here are just a few:
  • Keep all systems and applications updated with the latest patches.
  • Establish strong authentication protocols, ideally multi-factor everywhere possible.
  • Create frequent data backups.
  • Encrypt personal and sensitive data in storage and in transit.
  • Ensure contracted third parties have strong data and systems security practices.
  1. Raise awareness. Here are just a few ways:
  • Provide information security and privacy training regularly, using up-to-date training content.
  • Send frequent security and privacy reminders, including for how to spot phishing and other social engineering tactics, how to securely use wi-fi, computing security practices while away from the office, while traveling and at home, the need to use up-to-date anti-malware tools, and secure disposal of hard copy and digital storage media.

4.    More surveillance

Why? More types of entities have more reasons and ways to surveil than ever before.

  • In the name of national security, government surveillance has increased significantly, not only for physical locations in public, but also while online and on the phone.
  • Social media sites are also increasingly tracking more online activities, increasingly far beyond the social media sites themselves, because personal data is valuable, and makes the social media entities much, much richer.
  • Smart devices are also collecting not only the sounds, and often sights, for the vicinities they are within, but those in the vicinities usually do not even realize that their data (what they say, what they do, etc.) is being collected and shared with an unlimited number of others.
Two actions (of many necessary) to control impact of surveillance:
  1. Take precautions. Never forget that there are increasingly more audio and video surveillance devices installed in surreptitious ways in public, in stores and restaurants, in government properties, in public and private transit, and in people’s homes. Keep this in mind before you choose to say or do something that could come back to haunt you. Facetious and satirical actions and statements, taken out of context, have resulted in lost friendships, lost jobs, added surveillance, and even physical harms.
  2. Check social media settings often and set auto updates. Set security and privacy settings on all social media and apps you use. When social media sites and apps are updated, the settings are often changed as a result, so be sure to regularly check the settings to ensure they are still providing the levels of security and privacy protections that you want.


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