Cyber Security and Privacy Threats & How We Fought Them | 2018 in Review
Updated on July 13, 2021: From now on, traffic filtering, malware protection, and suspicious DNS activity blocking are available as a part of the separate DNS Firewall app.
It was the best of years, it was the worst of years… Today we’re doing a recap of 2018. Treat yourself to a cup of hot drink, sit back, and enjoy our review of these past 12 months. What new cyber threats arose? How did internet community address them? What did VPN Unlimited do to safeguard its users against cyber attacks and overall make their lives a bit better? Read on to find out!
Cyber security threats of 2018
As internet technology develops, it gives birth to many new types of entertainment, opportunities… and new ways for malefactors to cash in on you. That’s why, if you’ve done your cyber security threat research once, adopted some sort of a solution (however perfect), and moved on merilly – you’re putting your head on the block. As soon as a new type of cyber attack or virus arrives, you might find yourself completely exposed to it.
So what do you do? Well, constantly monitoring online threats news is a good way to start. For instance, you can subscribe to a specialized cyber security blog (like that of yours truly). Or if you’re really short on time, you can find all the major cyber threats of 2018 below. They were many, so we’ll break them down into “old-school” and “novel” categories for your convenience.
Old-school technological cyber threats
Some of the technological threats this year originated in pretty familiar areas. One of the most widespread sources of such is all sorts of free services and websites. To name a few – free public WiFi hotspots, free apps (sometimes, ironically, even free security tools!), or free adult sites. To wish to get something for free is human, and hackers know this all too well. They capitalize on this desire by injecting malware to genuine websites or services, or by creating malicious copies of those.
What exactly would happen to a victim may vary. They could get infected with a virus, an adware, or a spyware. They could have their personal data or credentials stolen. Or their devices could be forced to perform specific tasks, like clicking ads that pay to the hacker, or even mining cryptocurrency using the victim’s computing power.
Another noteworthy source of tech cyber threats are the places where you enter your credentials. Even if the website itself wasn’t compromised, your network could have been. Then, whatever information you send can easily be intercepted, copied, or modified. It would seem like using secure networks is the most obvious solution, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, your connection ends up leaking, giving away all sorts of information about you.
New types of technological cyber threats
New technological developments brought about quite novel types of cyber dangers as well, like the infamous VORACLE attack. Mostly, these threats included either the all-new pieces of technology that are entering our lives. Alternatively, those could had been around for some time, but have rocketed in popularity this year.
Major corporations’ products getting hacked and their databases leaked. Webcams and other peripheral spying on their owners. Bots sending more and more sophisticated spam messages or doing other nasty things like sucking victims’ bandwidth. Messaging apps being used to gather all sorts of users’ data – their passwords, their photos, or even their habits. Smart home and IoT devices building a profile on you 24/7.
Privacy threats of 2018
For quite some time, the general public took their internet privacy and anonymity for granted. The year 2018 proved they were wrong. The most painful blow was made this summer, when net neutrality protection rules were repelled. After that, the US netizens’ privacy has gone out in the open, so to speak. Even commoners suffered from this, let alone people whose trades rely most heavily on anonymity, e.g. journalists.
This trend does not end with America, however – many countries all across the world have tightened their grip on their residents’ personal lives. No to mention obtrusive corporate surveillance – all sorts of organizations strive to build detailed profiles on their clients. This, naturally, alarmed the society. People started looking for ways to remove their personal data from the internet.
Then came the infamous Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal. Public backlash was so furious and demanding that it made governments adopt a number of developments in this regard. One such, the GDPR, can serve as a case story of what the society can achieve when it’s united by a single goal or against a single threat!
Free internet threats of 2018
The final large cyber trend that we’d like to cover is the restriction of access to some of the internet resources. We’ve seen vivid examples of this with content geo-blocking or certain states banning VoIP services and even whole popular messengers.
Download VPN Unlimited to bypass geo-blocking and secure your private data!
People quickly realized the convenient way to bypass this – using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Well, what do you know! Some governments, e.g. Chinese and Russian, started convicting for selling VPN services. And while in most developed countries things didn’t go that far, some disturbing tendencies can be noticed even there.
How did VPN Unlimited tackle new cyber threats of 2018?
Phew, what a year it was… But how did VPN Unlimited answer the bell? Glad you’ve asked! Here’s the list of major innovations and developments that our best VPN app has undergone in 2018:
- Launched a number of streaming servers. They allow users to watch ESPN, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer wherever they go, bypassing the attempts to geo-block these services.
- Developed VPN Unlimited 5.0 – an improved version of our VPN software. Enhanced UI/UX, new features, and other goodies are there for you to enjoy!
- Released browser extension for VPN Unlimited. Now you can secure your browser data without affecting other internet traffic of the device.
- Adopted a new VPN protocol IKEv2. Not only is it the most up-do-date technology of its kind, but it also fits really well in our already broad selection of protocols for different needs.
- Implemented some extra handy security and privacy features, like Kill Switch and KeepSolid Wise protocol.
- Published a number of educational articles on hot security topics – from How to know if you’ve been hacked to Internet safety for kids.
To sum up, it was an exciting year. A lot has changed in how we view our rights, internet activities, and online lives. We at KeepSolid are planning (and encourage you) to take the experience out of it, and leave all the… unwanted stuff behind. It’s time to celebrate, cheer, and be grateful for what we have. Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!