3 New Cybersecurity Threats You Should Be Aware Of

Nov 9, 2020

Cybersecurity risks are many and constantly evolving. What may sound like a simple phone call can actually be an advanced social engineering attack

Pritam TamangContent Writer
3 New Cybersecurity Threats You Should Be Aware Of

If your boss calls and asks you to wire transfer $243,000 to a third-party account, would you want to verify if the caller is indeed your boss?


But what if the boss addresses you by name, explains the wire transfer is for a critical business need, and must be done immediately? You recognize the “melody” of his voice and his German accent.

Would this allay your doubts and will you now make the transfer? 

If you say yes, we say you may have made a mistake.

In fact, this is exactly what happened to a U.K.-based company when a cyber attacker used cutting-edge deepfake audio technology to dupe its CEO

This incident gives a key lesson—malicious actors are now using emerging technologies to concoct ploys that can deceive us more convincingly than ever. What may sound like a simple phone call can actually be an advanced social engineering attack that can rob a business. 

If you own or manage a business and are curious about protecting it against evolving threats, the first step is to know how the landscape of security threats has changed. In this blog, we’ll help you navigate the changing landscape of cybersecurity risks and offer some useful tips to safeguard your business.

New cybersecuirty threats

1. Deepfake: The new face of social engineering 

Social engineering cyber threats include a large variety of cyber attacks that aim to bypass security systems and protocols by exploiting human nature. A typical example is an email phishing attack that manipulates people into clicking malicious links or downloading attachments that contain malware.   

Recent developments in the deepfake technology have enabled cyber criminals to enhance social engineering and carry out deepfake malware attacks that are more capable of breaking the truth-barrier.

Deepfakes are synthesized media (pictures and audio and video recordings) that can mimic human appearance and voice. These deepfakes are created using advanced machine learning algorithms that give tools deep learning and image-synthesis capabilities. 

How to combat deepfake threats

Employee training is the best way to combat deepfake social engineering attacks. Below are some best practices to follow when training employees. 

Conduct security training: Social engineering attacks target human tendencies and lax security practices—a good training program can mitigate most social engineering attacks by making employees more diligent about these avoidable gaps. The security training program should teach employees how to identify deepfakes (such as shifts in skin tone in a video or unusually clear audio over the phone) and the proper channels for escalating any suspicious incident. 

Reinforcing learning with refresher courses is always a good thing. It's advisable to send reminders, ideally once every two weeks, about the best practices to protect sensitive information and identify deepfake social engineering attacks. 

Have a business continuity plan: A business continuity plan is your last line of defense. It includes strategies for data backups, process and data recovery, communication workflows, etc. This plan will make your operations resilient, allowing the business to absorb cyber attacks to certain degrees and rebound from damages. 

2. API attack: The new data breach threat

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have been long used by software vendors to allow apps and devices to share data with each other. However, APIs are no longer just connectors used by software vendors to integrate their tools with other products. 

Many businesses, including social networking sites, mobile app stores, and even postal services, now offer public APIs to allow business partners and clients easier access to their services. 

Consequently, this has led to the concern of API data breaches wherein hackers run automated toolkits that attack API weaknesses to scrape user details. The consequences can be financially disastrous, since a hacker can turn a data breach into a ransomware attack, especially for businesses that hold sensitive information such as medical records and banking details.  

How to combat API threats

A Gartner report on API security lists a number of ways organizations can handle API threats (content available to Gartner clients only). Below is the summary of the key points: 

Identify the APIs being delivered or used by your organization: The first step toward API security is to track the use of APIs in your company. To do this, you will need to hold a meeting with the IT team, primarily developers, and understand which APIs are in development or are published. Conversely, you will also need to do an inventory of third-party APIs that are being used in your business.    

Use security solutions that address API threats: There are several products that can help you manage API security. For instance, API management software, also known as an API gateway, helps in controlling access to backend systems. Likewise, you can use encryption software to encrypt your databases and prevent unauthorized users from accessing “data at rest.” 

Last but not the least, there are IT, server, and network monitoring solutions to check for any weaknesses in your systems that API hackers may try to exploit.    

3. CPS and IoT threats: The new playground of cybercriminals

The use of cyber-physical systems (CPS) and the internet of things (IoT) is increasing. Examples include construction drones, smart healthcare systems, smart cities, autonomous vehicles, wearables, and robotics.   

While such tech has found active use in certain industries, strong security measures are still not in place owing to the diverse range of applications and devices that comprise CPS and IoT. The lax security in these systems is being already exploited by cyber criminals with abounding horror stories of IoT vulnerabilities and the dire financial consequences of a CPS attack.

How to combat CPS and IoT threats

Managing security of CPS and IoT devices requires businesses to first assess their current use to accordingly prioritize security investments. Further, businesses should continuously monitor these devices and systems for active threat protection. 

Analyze your CPS and IoT use cases: Every industry has uniquely adopted CPS and IoT. The healthcare industry, for instance, uses CPS to offer personalized medicine; manufacturers are using IoT devices and CPS to improve business operations such as material procurement and product delivery. 

To correctly determine the cybersecurity risk specific to your industry, you will need to make assessments of your CPS and IoT use cases. You can take the help of cybersecurity professionals to analyze the vulnerability of your business.

Continuously monitor these systems and devices: The available products to control CPS and IoT devices are still relatively immature. However, businesses can still monitor and control attacks on these systems and devices. 

One of the ways is to use tools such as network security monitoring software and log management software that help in monitoring the network traffic and proactively hunt for threats that can lead to a cybersecurity incident.  

Cyber risks are evolving, so should your cybersecurity measures 

In this blog, we have listed some of the new threats. However, cybersecurity risks are many, from insider attacks to DDoS attacks, and constantly evolving. As a business, you need to regularly update yourself to keep up with the latest in cybersecurity.

As a starting point, you can check out our 2020 State of Data Security Report to find out what is trending in the cybersecurity space. 

If you are looking for some software product, check out our cybersecurity category and compare over 70 options to find the one that is right for your business. It is quite easy: just select your company size and the industry type. To narrow down even more, apply the required filters, including the pricing model, supported device, geography, and integration options.

About the author

Pritam Tamang

Content Writer
Hey there, I’m Pritam. I’m a content writer at GetApp. I bring you insights about software and technology trends. I received my master’s degree from the University of Delhi and have been working as a content writer covering tech since 2011. Home base: New Delhi, India; Things about me: Love the music of the 60’s and 70’s, and hate badly written novels; The tech trend[s]/innovation[s] I think you should keep an eye on: AI and its impact on business, government policy, and life as we know it.
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