CISOs and IT admins have longed waged war against IT security threats. Yet, new ones constantly arise that could adversely affect the security of sensitive data and processes. As 2014 draws to a close, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2015 and potential security threat trends. Here are some of the top security hazards for corporations.

  1. Smartphones and Tablets: The BYOD trend isn’t likely to go anywhere, but IT professionals should be increasingly wary of the growing use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Intel has predicted that “50 billion devices will be connected worldwide by 2019”. Another report by the University of California, Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering demonstrated the vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems like iOS, Android and Windows. According to the report: “Researchers successfully hacked popular apps like Gmail, CHASE Bank, and H&R Block (HRB) with an 82% to 92% success rate, a disturbing conclusion that highlights just how vulnerable our personal information truly is.”
  2.  Commercial Malware/Hyperscale Hacker Tools: Malware and hackers have always been a risk to corporate data, and these threats are not about to disappear. New technologies have made it easier for hackers to access sensitive data as shown by high-target data breaches at places like Target and Sony. Further, according to the U.S. Securities Commission, American firms have seen a 42 percent increase in successful cyber attacks in nearly 1 year. For example, the mobile messaging service popular amongst college students, Snapchat, was the target of a cyber-attack. Nearly 4.6 million user names and phone numbers were exposed to hackers.
  3.  Insider Threats: Edward Snowden famously showed the problem associated with insider threats, but these types of threats have always been around. Yet, most corporations only focused on threats from the outside – nearly blindly believing their employees were trustworthy enough to not steal secrets and data from the company. Snowden broke this illusion. Now, companies are increasingly trying to protect their company from insider breaches. A 2014 Verizon report showed an increase in internal espionage incidents, “not because more necessarily occurred but because an emphasis on ‘insider-focused’ security resulted in more getting detected. The Snowden news, the report said, ‘illustrates the risk that exists when an organization must place trust in individuals…Most insider misuse occurs within the boundaries of trust necessary to perform normal duties. That’s what makes it so difficult to prevent’.”

Protecting yourself from these risks involves deterring criminals with intense security measures and constant looking for and detecting potential threats and weaknesses.