The Year That Was – Cybersecurity Takeaways From 2018

So, what was 2018 like for you? Just another year, a whirlwind of happiness and heartbreaks, or a momentous one that will stay in your memory forever? In the cyberworld, a lot has happened this year. There were data breaches and bitcoin mining; social media platform hacks and spread of fake news; mass campaigns online and bank/ATM hacks. An eventful year, wouldn’t you say?

As governments around the world are exploring tightening their cyber security laws, security vendors are working on creating better and stronger tools to keep us safe online. Let’s take a quick look at the major security breaches that occurred over the year. In hindsight, we can understand better where we are failing and what steps we, the consumers, can take to protect our data and identity.

There have been such rampant phishing and data mining attacks, that even those who do not keep up with technology have now started feeling the heat of it. For example, when a large bank’s server was attacked, or the SIM card swipe fraud was uncovered, there was chaos everywhere.

Time to recapitulate the attacks that matter most to us, the consumers:

  1. Bank and ATM system hacks
  2. Phishing attacks: via email and social media platforms
  3. DDoS botnet attack: These attacks were mainly targeted at gaming sites and government websites, severely slowing down operation
  4. Hacking of customer bases: We have noted several significant data breaches over the year and it has become a major concern for the govt, industries and security firms.
  5. IoT attacks: Smart devices are the latest tech additions to our homes but when these are compromised, it may lead to the compromise of all connected devices. Users should adopt care while downloading apps because malicious apps can be used to corrupt, or control connected devices at home
  6. Public Wi-Fi: Using public Wi-Fi to transmit sensitive information or for carrying out financial transactions, expose users to hacking and data theft
  7. Hacking of social media platforms: As most of us are now signed on to some or the other popular social media platforms, we need to be extra careful about our data privacy and how much information we are sharing online.

As India remains vulnerable for Web Application Attacks, we need to gear up and maximize our security in the virtual space. Not only do we need to follow traditional security measures but also need to address new sources of threat like ATM hacks, Crypto mining and control of home IoT devices by cyber criminals. Awareness is key for an aware user to know about new threats and ways to combat them.

Sharing some safety tips to see you securely through the next year:

  • Monitor Digital Assistants – Prevent your digital assistants from becoming attack portals for cyber criminals. Limit the extent of control they have over other devices, if you can. Ensure your home router default password is changed and you update your software regularly, to patch any security vulnerabilities
  • Password is the key – The safety of your online accounts depends a lot on strong and unique passwords, that are a mix of upper case, lower case, symbols and are at least 12 characters long. Better still, opt for a well-known password manager.
  • Be Mindful – Always research and review apps before downloading. The same goes for new websites, or e-payment gateways. Further, download mobile apps only from genuine stores, like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, for they continually check and take down suspicious apps
  • Secure all your devices – Use a comprehensive security tool to scan content before downloading and send suspicious messages into the spam folder
  • Stay Informed – Stay on top of the latest in cybersecurity by following my blog and @McAfee_Home on Twitter. Don’t forget to listen to our podcast Hackable?


Ciao folks! See you in 2019.

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