Cybersecurity threats to lookout for in 2021
The COVID-19 virus has brought in a variety of challenges that we all know too well. From an economic and health crisis, to having to transition everything online in a short amount of time, the latter has given cyber criminals new opportunities to attack and take advantage of the pandemic.
Over the past year, the pandemic has forced society to transition everyday life to online formats in order to survive. As online activity has increased, the chance of cyber-attacks have simultaneously increased as well. This puts businesses and people at risk where cyber attackers can breach networks in order to get full access to company records and data.
According to According to Risk Based Security,
- 2020 was already the “worst year on record” by the end of Q2 in terms of the total number of records exposed. The three months of Q3 added an additional 8.3 billion records to the count, bringing the number of records exposed through the end of September to a staggering 36 billion. Furthermore, Organizations such as INTERPOL and the World Health Organization have reported an increase in cyberattacks as high as FIVE times over the usual rate during the pandemic.
Now that we are aware of the effect the pandemic has had on cyber security, here are some threats we believe we should be on the lookout for in 2021.
Increased Social Engineering Attacks such as Phishing attacks
In 2021, we expect an increase in social engineering attacks which are beyond typical scam. These attacks are highly deceiving and targeted towards individuals to urge and trick them into giving away their sensitive data. Often these attacks urge the victim to do something promptly by disguising themselves as individuals of power. We believe that these tactics will only get stronger and more deceiving in 2021.
According to a flash survey of nearly 50 senior cybersecurity professionals taken at Optiv Security’s November OptivCon Virtual event, when asked, “What do you think is the greater threat to your business: Ransomware or COVID-19?,” 60% of respondents said ransomware. Cyber criminals took advantage of the pandemic to steal sensitive data from critical sectors like legal, banking, and financial services which had devastating effects. These criminals have the possibility to take control of medical devices that could be life-threatening to patients that are being monitored with them.What we know is that ransomware attacks have DOUBLED in number in 2020 and are only expected to increase 2021 so make sure to take caution.
Cyber-attacks from the dark web
Since the pandemic happened so fast, businesses had to make tough decisions in order to survive. Unfortunately, cyber security was not, and continues not to be a top priority for many businesses, making them extremely vulnerable against cyber-attacks. For the rest of 2021, we only expect cyber-attacks from the dark web to grow and become more targeted and organized since the dark web continues to grow.
A cyber security threat we must keep in mind in 2021 is insider threats. One of the main goals of this kind of threat includes data exfiltration over different types of damages. Since the pandemic, many employees went from working in person to at home, which caused them to take actions that were not secure, such as using personal workspaces and emails to share company information, which unintentionally breached security. Forrester Research has predicted an increase of 33% in terms of breaches that were caused by insider threats, so this is definitively something to watch out for.
While 2021 is bringing a wave of hope in hopes that it will be the end of the pandemic, we believe that Cyberattacks will definitively not improve over the course of the year. More than ever, businesses need to be vigilant to the type of attacks that were listed above. Cyber-attacks have proven to be life-threatening not only for businesses, but for people at large. It is extremely important for businesses and governments to understand these threats and do everything to stop them because they will only keep coming in 2021. This is why businesses should partner with industry groups and cybersecurity companies to help prevent and remediate further breaches for the future.