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IT Security Career Expectations for 2019

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The security side of IT sector jobs won’t be going anywhere in the immediate future. For those interested in the field and future job security, that’s a major plus. This implies some unfortunate news for the rest of the world’s tech users, but that’s simply a byproduct of the era we live in.

So while this points to the security sector being a solid pick for those looking to enter the field of technology, there’s more than just job security to keep in mind before diving in. If anything, the rapid shift of digital threats can make for a disheartening wake-up call if you don’t stay on top of projected trends.

Ransomware is down, but not out

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2018 showed a sharp decline in the use of ransomware across the board for a variety of reasons. At its core, ransomware attacks require a large number of variables to come into play all at once; Targets must have data worth ransoming, yet also fail to keep regular backups. On top of negligence, they must then be able to access cryptocurrency to pay off ransomers and also trust those holding their data ransom in the first place. The oft-publicised attacks that did hit were a perfect storm of variables, essentially.

Yet even as attack instances go down, ransomware variants have increased. This sort of proliferation makes for worrying gaps in security until machine learning solutions react to the newest instances of ransomware families and the best defence remains in a strong network and redundant scheduled backups of critical data.

Cryptomining attacks follow Bitcoin price trends

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As ransomware instances fall, cryptomining attacks seem to step up and take its place depending on the strength of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In fact, plotting how rampant crypto attacks are tends to be a case of watching price spikes closely, as instances of attacks rise nearly as quickly as Bitcoin’s price and suffers falls in popularity at a comparable rate.

With how popular cryptocurrencies have been over the past few years and how popular they are likely to remain forgoing any major market changes, expect cryptocurrency attacks to continue to rise and fall in waves. Equally interesting is the distribution of attacked users, with North and South America suffering relatively few attacks according to Kapersky Labs, while countries like Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Ethiopia stand as the top three most attacked countries.

Following geographical distribution of digital attack trends can be vital in staying ahead of the curve, as shown by Kapersky’s data, wherein knowing how likely your users are to be targeted leads to more effective distribution of time and resources.

Mobile data use will bring new threats

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Mobile applications continue to account for a healthy percentage of internet traffic and various projections show that smartphone data alone could eclipse other forms of traffic as early as 2025. When coupled with Wi-Fi data, as much as 66 percent of traffic will be wireless as early as the year 2020 and numbers will only rise steadily from there.

This presents a number of challenges to systems administrators and other security professionals alike; On a broad scale, employees tend to favour bringing personal devices to work without being subjected to security checks or wide-spread precautions. On a wider scale the proliferation of mobile security means a shift from protecting legacy OS software into staying ahead of threats to more modern architecture, which could pose a sudden change for businesses more used to keeping ancient servers safe and secure.

Many mobile devices infected with malware go for months at a time without showing any visible symptoms, making them ticking time bombs to be worked around. Even if a network is secured from outside attacks, it only takes a single individual with a compromised mobile device to destroy that hard work. Many companies aren’t responding to mobile threats quickly enough and many more neglect to assign secure devices to their employees on top of lax monitoring policies regarding outside devices. Staying ahead of mobile threats dives far deeper than simply watching for obvious signs of malware.

In short, digital security moving into 2019 will continue to be a market ripe for growth thanks to various nefarious methods of breaking down security protocols that require an increasing amount of vigilance to detect. Those interested in the mobile sector may have their work cut out for them, but there’s going to be plenty of work to go around.