Dear Black Bag Confidential Reader,
In terms of danger and disaster, 2017 was a year for the record books:
- The U.S. experienced the deadliest mass shooting in history. Fifty-eight people were killed and over 500 were injured after a lone gunman opened fire at a country music concert in Las Vegas
- Cybercriminals hacked into the Equifax database and stole the personal information of over 145 million people in one of the largest data breaches to date
- Hackers linked to North Korea used ransomware dubbed WannaCry to target businesses in over 150 countries, locking down computer systems and demanding money to release the files
- There was an increase in vehicular attacks in cities all over the world from London to Barcelona to New York City
- Powerful hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico, Houston and parts of Florida, resulting in death and destruction on a scale we’ve never seen before
- The Western United States was subjected to the worst wildfire season on record. Thousands of homes and buildings were incinerated and millions of acres were torched. California continues to suffer the effects of these fires as massive mudslides take lives and demolish communities.
Unfortunately, that’s not all…
The fact is criminals and terrorists are constantly changing their methods and trying to develop more devastating ways to interfere with our way of life. Not only do we need to be concerned with physical threats such as shootings, terrorist attacks and home invasions, but cybercrime is on the rise and will continue to increase in 2018.
The scary thing is only 38% of companies claim they are prepared to handle a cyberattack. That’s only how many companies claim they are prepared, not how many actually are. By 2019, estimates are there will be about 1.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the world.
Here are some more alarming stats: A cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds. About 33% of Americans will experience a cyberattack this year. By these numbers, you are more likely to be the victim of a cybercrime than a physical crime such as a terrorist attack, a home invasion or even a mugging.
That being said, all these dangers exist and you should be prepared for any of them. So today, I want to share with you the top three security threats we will most likely face in 2018 — here in the U.S. as well as around the world.
As I just mentioned, the statistics speak for themselves. Cyberattacks are no doubt the No. 1 threat most people will fall victim to in 2018.
With the current tensions between the United States and countries like North Korea, Iran and Russia, we will surely see more state-sponsored cyberattacks this year as well. Because these attacks are so difficult to trace, these countries can easily deny involvement — just like they have done in the past — and dodge any consequences for their actions.
As the threat of cyberattacks continues to grow, I imagine we will see more and more companies and websites move away from simple password access to accounts that require two-factor authentication. But you shouldn’t rely on website protocols for your protection.
These days, you need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to cybersecurity. Be sure to install the latest updates on all your devices, use virus protection software, download a VPN (virtual private network), avoid public Wi-Fi if you can, don’t click on strange links or open emails from unknown persons and never accept digital friend requests from people you don’t know.
Throughout 2017, China conducted multiple flying missions in the Sea of Japan which (understandably) made the Japanese government very nervous. With China being more assertive and developing new combat equipment such as an upgraded aircraft carrier and a powerful amphibious assault vehicle, we will likely see tensions in the region increase as China flexes their military muscles.
This March, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will be up for reelection and there is no doubt he will win again. The most likely person to have a chance at defeating Putin was ruled “ineligible” to run for office, so there will be no contest. This means Russia will continue to exert influence over former Soviet states and encourage less cooperation with the West.
That brings us to North Korea. At this point, I don’t believe the United States will go to war with North Korea. It wouldn’t be good for either country and both nations have too much to lose. However, I do think North Korea will continue to pursue nuclear missile technology and the U.S. will keep up the pressure with ever-harsher sanctions and both countries will do the same pointless dance they’ve been doing for years.
Crime in Mexico
Nearly 25,000 people were murdered in Mexico last year, making 2017 the deadliest year in the past two decades. Nearly half of these murders are tied to organized crime, and the Mexican government has done little to reduce the high murder rate.
In the coming year, we will likely see an increase in organized crime violence in Mexico and the continued spillover into the southern United States. If I were you, I would not visit Mexico under any circumstances.
Here in the U.S., our economy plays a major role in the stability within our country. With the political circus in Washington, there’s no telling what new scandal could set off a mass protest or prompt an economic meltdown.
The bottom line is you never know what might happen. Which is why you should always be prepared with your emergency plans and survival gear so you can be self-reliant in the face of any threat.