The only thing constant in life – and cyber security – is change. What does 2017 hold? Looking back on the past year’s trends is a good place to start in anticipating what’s coming up.

Trend No. 1: We’ll see a heavier focus on securing the “Internet of Things”

According to many security experts, 2017 will be the year when we’ll have the heaviest focus yet on securing the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes everyday objects with network connectivity. IoT objects include things like DVRs, drones, cameras, thermostats, and routers. Some ways we can protect IoT devices from hackers include:

  • Changing default settings
  • Closing unused ports
  • Avoiding “plain text” when storing information – rather, use encrypted data when possible

Trend No. 2: more widespread understanding of the dangers of password reuse and weak passwords

We’ve talked about the importance of password security before. Re-using passwords is one of the most dangerous (and common) cyber security practices. Large-scale breaches from Yahoo and Twitter will help fuel the fire until everyone realizes the risks. Unfortunately, given the trend here, we’ll probably see a few more major incidents before most people begin using unique passwords as often as they lock their car doors in a parking lot.

Trend No. 3: a larger number of newly-released tech tools will embed “behavioral technologies

Also known as “behavioral biometrics,” this type of technology is geared at helping us secure sensitive data using our hands, face, eyes, and even ears – rather than traditional passwords. You may be using this on your smartphone now by swiping your fingerprint to open your locked device. Moving forward, you’ll most likely see behavioral recognition cropping up in areas like typing speed, pressure, walking style, or other behavioral-type detection systems that help ensure security.

Trend No. 4: healthcare providers will be the biggest bullseye for hackers

According to a recent Washington Post story, healthcare organizations are juicy targets because they have a vast amount of personal information that can be used for fraud – contact names, social security numbers, payment and health insurance information, and more. This data is sold by hackers on a black market in the dark web. As we discussed previously, ransomware poses a special challenge for healthcare IT. To address the cybercrime epidemic, many IT partners are offering innovative new solutions.

If you want a deeper dive into how cyber threats will affect the healthcare industry in the coming year, check out McAfee Labs and Intel Security’s report 2017 Threat Predictions. It identifies and discusses six critical industry challenges: to improve threat defense effectiveness by reducing information asymmetry between defenders and attackers; making attacks more expensive or less profitable; improving visibility into cyber events; better identifying exploitation of legitimacy; improving protection for decentralized data; and detecting and protecting in agentless environments.

If you have questions or want more information about how the trends we discussed here may affect you, reach out to us.