In 2016, security will continue to be a priority for all businesses.  Other interesting tech trends include an increase in the number of companies that allow BYOD (bring-your-own-device), the return of the stylus (who would have thought?), and possibly even the demise of the traditional password (hard to imagine).

Risk of Cyber Crime Requires Vigilance

According to Trend Micro, in 2016, online threats will evolve to rely more on mastering the psychology behind each scheme than mastering the technical aspects of the operation. Attackers will continue to use fear as a major component of the scheme, as it has proven to be effective in the past.

In the past decade, cyber extortionists have exploited user’s fears by requiring a payment to unlock a computer, return data, or avoid an infection.  Cybercriminals have made millions using these tactics.

With this in mind, cyber extortionists will devise new ways to target its victim’s psyche to make each attack “personal”—either for an end user or an enterprise. Reputation is everything, and threats that can ruin an individual’s or a business’ reputation will prove to be effective and—more importantly—lucrative.

Businesses will also fall for elaborate tricks that use new social engineering lures.  As we have seen in Northeast Ohio, experts expect to see a significant increase in successful ploys designed to persuade employees to transfer money to a cybercriminal-controlled account.

Always be careful before you click.

BYOD Remains Popular

The “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) trend has made waves in almost every industry over the past several years. By now, most companies have some kind of BYOD policy and/or mobile device management software in place to enable mobile productivity while protecting corporate data.

One study from May of this year suggests that 74 percent of companies now allow or plan to allow the use of employee-owned devices for work.

That will happen for a couple of reasons:

  1. An anti-BYOD policy is nearly impossible to enforce. As Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum, told CIO magazine, “It’s a bit like trying to hold back the tide. You may stop it from coming onto one little bit of sand, but it will find a way around.”
  2. Corporate-owned device programs are losing appeal for reasons of economy and convenience. According to Gartner, at least half of all companies will expect employees to supply their own devices by 2017.

If your company allows employees to bring their own devices, make sure you have policies in place to protect everyone.

The Stylus Returns

According to Bill Buxton, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, “Fifty-seven years after the first lightpen, 53 years after the first stylus-driven graphics tablet, 27 years after the first stylus-driven slate computer and 14 years after Microsoft launched the Tablet PC, stylus-based drawing, annotation and note-taking will assume a broadly supported and appropriate place in the mosaic of how we interact with digital devices.”

Buxton continues that he predicts 2016 will be the year that, “The age of digital baubles, do-dads and planned obsolescence will begin to fade, and the focus of industry and consumers will shift from technology, per se, to enhanced human experience, values and potential.”

The Death of the Password is Rapidly Approaching  notes that new and more serious data breaches among well-known consumer brands will continue to erode faith in perimeter and credential-based security approaches.

The recent news about Amazon shows why there’s so much talk recently of the death of the password. The security approach where you only evaluate risk when someone’s at your door is becoming less workable. When you can continuously analyze someone’s authenticity while already in the system, then you can provide a high security environment while still offering ease of use to the end user.

Especially with the Internet of Things bringing billions of new devices, services and apps online, the ability to continuously monitor and authenticate users while they’re in your house will become a real business advantage.

Two-factor authentication technologies are already widely-used.  We look forward to other new technologies that will allow us to abandon the use of multiple passwords.