By some accounts, 2017 was the worst year ever when it comes to data breaches and cyberattacks, most of which have been attributed to ransomware. Over at the Inside BlackBerry Blog, BlackBerry's Chief Security Officer, Alex Manea, has outlined his cybersecurity predictions for 2018 based on conversations with BlackBerry customers, partners, government officials, and more!

2018 will be the worst year to date for cyberattacks

The fundamental issues that have caused the majority of recent cyberbreaches have not been resolved. IT departments are being tasked to manage increasingly complex networks, support new types of endpoints, and protect more and more sensitive data. Legacy systems are still rampant throughout most industries and cannot be easily upgraded or replaced. These systems often contain publicly known software vulnerabilities which can be exploited to penetrate the corporate network.

Cyberattacks will cause physical harm

Securing the Internet of Things is even more important than securing traditional IT networks for one simple reason: IoT attacks threaten public safety. A hacked computer or mobile device typically cannot cause direct physical harm. While it's certainly frustrating to have our personal information stolen, it doesn't compare to the impact of being involved in a car accident or having your infusion pump or pacemaker compromised. IoT security will literally become a matter of life and death, and we cannot simply wait for that to happen.

Hackers will target employees as they become a growing cybersecurity vulnerability

IT departments typically focus their spending on preventing external attacks, but the reality is that most data breaches start internally – either by sharing documents through unsecure, consumer applications or clicking on increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks. While hackers are often depicted as technical geniuses using complex algorithms to break advanced cryptography, the reality is that simpler techniques can be just as effective. Criminal hackers aren't seeking style points; they're simply looking to breach the system as efficiently as possible. As our technical defenses continue to improve, employees will become the weakest link, increasingly targeted by attackers as part of their overall strategy.

Insurance and cybersecurity products will go hand and hand

In 2018, it won't matter which system or employee proves to be the weakest link, major corporate data breaches will happen and insurance companies are taking notice. They are taking notice because attacks to their clients could be as harmful as it could be helpful to their bottom line. This year I predict we will see firms not only add more cyber policy holders to their roster, but also seek out two strategic avenues to help manage risk for them and their customers: products and experts.

The items outlined are just a small sample of Alex's larger predictions, so I do fully suggest you read the full post for the full perspective. Over the next few weeks and months, Alex notes he will be digging deeper into these topics so if you're interested in getting to learn more about how BlackBerry is helping control some of these predictions, make sure you give Alex a follow on Twitter.

Read: My Cybersecurity Predictions for 2018