5. Ransomware.

Several high-profile ransomware attacks on health care institutions made the news last year, but many didn't, kept quiet by the victims of those attacks.

If there’s any good news on the cybersecurity horizon, it’s that ransomware is plateauing, thanks to dedicated solutions created to tackle such attacks. (Photos: Shutterstock)

4. Cryptojacking.

Unfortunately, hackers are using the tactics of ransomware to a cheaper but often more profitable end: cryptojacking.

That's where hackers hijack workers' computers to use their computing power and electricity to run code in the background that "mines" cryptocurrency.

Users might only notice a slowing of their computer, though overheating of computers and higher electricity use are also side effects. According to Michigan State University researchers, ransomeware and cryptojacking are the two biggest threats to technology users today.

3. IoT attacks.

The most obvious example of Internet of Things devices is the internet-connected refrigerator, but more and more medical and health-related devices are also connected to the internet.

For some IoT devices, more often household devices, security is often an afterthought, according to security provider Avast's research, making them a target for hackers to hijack.

2. Use of single-factor authentication and poor cyber hygiene.

Cyber hygiene refers to how computer users and organizations adhere to good security practices. This can include everything from CEOs allotting enough funding for technology personnel and security solutions, to regular computer security training for employees, and more.

But no matter how well-trained employees are, if the organization has set up a system where users only have to provide a single item to get in, such as a user name matched to a password, hackers will continue to take advantage of that.

This is Security 101. And many organizations still fail it.

1. Trojans and fake mobile apps.

With ransomware a more difficult technique these days, hackers are going back to earlier techniques, including using trojans, aka trojan horses. And like the mythical Trojan Horse, trojans disguise themselves -- in this case, as legitimate software. But once they get into a computer, they take control of it.

Fake mobile apps are everywhere, even in the Apple store and Google Play, though the companies work to eradicate them.  

Once downloaded, the apps can take control of a user's device and either dominate it until a ransom is paid, and/or dig into user data and take it. And this isn't restricted to games. "From Nordstrom to Fortnite to WhatsApp, it seems no business or industry is off limits," security solution provider McAfee says.

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The employee benefits and retirement industry is in for some tough challenges this year — and they don’t necessarily involve just insurance mergers or chaotic markets.

Instead, according to Bitdefender, security issues from a range of cyber and technology threats  can put companies’ businesses at risk — not to mention making customers very unhappy.

So what might lie ahead?

We culled research from multiple sources, including Bitdefender, Security Boulevard, and MarketsMedia and others, to find projections for 2019 on potential cybersecurity threats. Five stood out for us.

They’re numbered not for ranking but for ease of reading. See the slides above.