When it comes to cyber security best practices, the future is bright. Learn what’s in it for you and how you can improve your cyber security.
Cyber crime is expected to cost more than $6 trillion by the year 2021. That’s right. $6 trillion. Cyber security is our first line of defense against hacks, intellectual property theft, identity theft, stolen data, and ransomware attacks. Evolve ETFs takes a look at the future of cyber security, security best practices, and predictions about industry trends, as well as areas for potential investment.
Cyber Security by the Numbers
You probably know that cyber crime is a threat to personal data, but digital threats also come with a steep financial impact for companies worldwide.
Here Are Some Cyber Crime Statistics Collected by Evolve:
• There will be 20.4 billion connected devices by 2020
• Over 9 billion records have been lost/stolen around the world since 2013
• 5 million records are lost/stolen every month
• 438,000 records are lost/stolen every hour
• The average loss after a cyber attack can be as much as $29 billion
Cyber Crime Can Take Various Forms:
• Some cybercriminals are after sensitive data that can be used to commit fraud, such as credit card information, social security numbers, and bank accounts.
• Financially-driven hackers seek to make money from cyber attacks by demanding a ransom to remove malware that shuts down networks.
• Hacktivists might break into a network/computer to convey messages or release sensitive information that could harm companies or governments.
• Terrorists may even take advantage of cyber technology in order to hack systems or networks of financial institutions, governments, and intelligence agencies.
Basic Computing Techniques That Can Help Individuals and Companies Stop Cyber Attacks:
• Complete all software and computer updates: Often, software or computer updates can include ways to better protect your device. When you postpone or refuse to update your computer or phone, you risk leaving yourself vulnerable to advancing tactics that cybercriminals are using.
• Password management: A strong password is the best way to protect your data. Creating a strong password that is not only at least eight characters long, but has both upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols can help to protect you. Additionally, it’s crucial that you periodically update your password and that you do not use the same password for multiple logins.
• Be alert to phishing scams: While some phishing scams are obvious, some could appear trustful. This is why you should always steer on the side of caution if you’re contacted by a stranger and are asked for personal information.
• Avoid downloading files from unknown sources: Regardless of what you’re trying to download, ensure that you’re using a trusted site. Downloading files from an untrusted site may cause you to accidentally download a virus or malware.
Most cybercriminals usually target larger companies. However, it would be beneficial for you to keep your data and privacy protected.
Cyber Criminals and Network Hacks
The weapons used by cybercriminals these days often consist of “bots” that scan networks to look for vulnerabilities. According to Forbes, any company or organization can be a target. From private individuals to banks, credit rating organizations, retail chains, investment firms, and hospitals, every business needs to stay informed about cyber crime.
Similarly, cyber hackers have successfully used “botnets” to stage denial of service (DDoS) attacks and cripple entire networks. Some may demand a ransom in order for them to grant access back to their targeted company.
One real-life example of this type of hacking occurred in 2016 when a botnet attack targeted Domain Name System (DNS) provider Dyn. The attack crippled internet platforms across Europe and North America.
In any case, we know that cyber security is absolutely essential, especially as we become more connected and IoT devices become synced to our entire lives. Whether it’s connecting our phones to our cars, having smart technology in our home, or even working remotely, it’s allowing for more opportunities for cyber criminals to take advantage. That’s why users must be aware of what advancements can help protect them or their business.
Proper Cyber Security Consists of Four Key Areas:
• Security analytics: The approach of not only monitoring but reviewing network activity, but traffic to limit breaches.
• Threat intelligence: Reviewing information that has already been collected by others in the industry and evaluating how that information can help protect users.
• Cloud security: Implementing a number of policies, procedures, or tools to ensure protection.
• Mobile security: Ensuring that all mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or laptops are not only updated, but is able to protect sensitive data.
Most technology experts are looking toward Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the key to identifying and stopping cyber threats.
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Cyber Security
Machine Learning is a means by which machines can learn tasks by analyzing large amounts of data and then predicting patterns or behaviour. In theory, artificial intelligence and human intelligence should produce the same results, according to Vinods.com.
If you think that artificial intelligence is not that common, think again. Many of us already have AI technology in our homes in the form of digital assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Home. These devices learn your preferences by storing voice commands, analyzing the data, and then predicting your patterns.
AI and Cognitive Security
The next generation of cyber superheroes may, in fact, be a machine. They will be taught to process large amounts of data, in record time, and then make predictions about cybercriminal activity. It’s a concept called cognitive security.
Like a crime scene, there is always evidence left behind like fingerprints, DNA or tire tracks. Cybercriminals are no different. After a breach, analysts can uncover the digital breadcrumbs left behind and use the data to predict future attacks or even identify possible culprits.
Likely AI Components Involved in Securing our Data:
• Web Applications: Firewalls that can predict threats and block them by learning how to spot anomalies.
• Networks: Computer networks that can monitor system-to-system communications and detect unusual activity.
• Endpoint Data: Securing end-user devices such as smartphones, laptops, desktops, and tablets. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to create rules, collect data, and then run algorithms that will detect threats, and even contain them.
How AI Can Help Protect Against Cyber Crime
The future of cyber security will involve both hardware and software that can scan networks as well as perform behavioural analytics (looking at patterns of past cyber events) and real-time detection of anomalies (attacks as they happen).
Another element will be the implementation of machine-learning solutions to secure private customer information that is stored on various computers and cloud networks. Examples could be patients in a healthcare network, customers of financial planning or investment firms, and credit bureaus.
The final element of cyber security will include behavioural biometrics.
It’s a fancy term for monitoring the humans who access computer networks, such as employees. A large percentage of hacks are the result of employees who expose networks to cybercriminals. Employees engage in all sorts of risky behaviours on network computers. Activities like downloading music or software from unsecured websites, clicking malware links on social media platforms, and clicking on phishing links in emails, can all leave networks vulnerable to attacks.
Cyber Security Best Practices and the Future of Investing
As cyber threats increase, so too will the need for experts who can fight these digital criminals. Companies will be looking to improve their cyber security systems and develop best practices. Whether it’s experts designing AI hardware or software, cyber security firms provide services to local and global organizations with expected spending to explode over the next 5-10 years. Evolve ETFs recognizes the upward trajectory of this sector and capitalizes on this opportunity with their cyber security fund.
Evolve Cyber Security ETF
The Evolve Cyber Security Index Fund (CYBR.B) invests in companies that are involved in this endeavour. This fund was Canada’s Top Performing equity ETF in 20181 . For more information about this cyber security ETF, click here.
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1 Based on the Bloomberg classification of 510 Canadian unlevered equity ETFs, as at December 31, 2018.
Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Please read the prospectus before investing. The indicated rate of return is the historical annual compounded total return including changes in per unit value and reinvestment of all distributions and does not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any security holder that would have reduced returns. ETFs are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.