Cybersecurity is a persistent threat that has been around ever since the Internet. It is a disease that is slowly finding its way into every venture. And following the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic, hackers are now more desperate than ever to have their share of the cake. They are working overtime on devising newer, more effective ways of compromising your systems then leveraging this for profit.
Cybersecurity experts say that cyberattacks have significantly increased over the past year. The hackers are taking advantage of the uncertainty and fear associated with the pandemic. And using it as a base for their attacks. If not addressed, a simple cyberattack can cost your firm millions.
To keep yourself protected, you must familiarize yourself with these attacks. Below are the 7 major cybersecurity threats on the rise in 2021.
7 Major Cybersecurity Threats in 2021
If you’re not new to cybersecurity, then you are already familiar with phishing scams. It is when an unsuspecting user is prompted to click on malicious links over the Internet or through emails. This then allows hackers to access and source information from your computer without you knowing.
Phishing is one of the leading techniques hackers use, targeting both private users and businesses. Following the pandemic of 2020, you’ll often find links relating to the COVID-19 virus. Hackers use announcements on new vaccines or information about a surge of infections to spread out these phishing emails.
Ransomware is yet another type of malware that is aimed at businesses. It usually works by encrypting the victim’s files and computers, thereby denying them access to their own data. The hacker then demands a ransom from you so they can restore access upon payment.
Costs usually range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. And are typically paid through untraceable means like Bitcoin. According to Forbes, ransom demands reached a whopping $1.4 in the US in 2020 alone.
It is one of the more serious types of cyberattacks – a costly affair that will continue to persist in 2021 and the oncoming years. In fact, according to cybersecurity experts, they are predicted to attack both medium-sized and large enterprises all over the world every 11 seconds. Costs are expected to reach an all-time high of 20 billion dollars worldwide. And as hackers are getting more devious, their impact and intensity will rise as well.
3. Cloud Attacks and Breaches
The past couple of years have seen more and more companies moving their infrastructure and applications to the cloud. It has its share of benefits, with the most common being facilitating remote workers’ support and collaboration.
Security measures on cloud systems are made especially strong but not exactly impenetrable. Hackers are taking it up as a challenge, finding loopholes in cloud misconfigurations to breach the system and access sensitive information. This trend is likely to increase in 2021.
4. New Variations of the Nigerian Prince Scam
The Nigerian Prince Scam was one of the most popular scams experienced in 2020.
Here, a crook, identifying himself as foreign royalty, would contact you promising to give you money if you gave them details about your bank account.
The most recent twist of the scam has been in the form of phishing hackers pretending to be trustworthy government officials, sending out stimulus payments if you share out your bank information. They would then use this information to steal your money.
5. Attacks on Internet of Things Applications
Internet of Things is basically using online applications to control your appliances remotely. It’s becoming popular at homes, whereby you get to manage basic household devices like vacuum cleaners and lighting. And now, businesses are adopting the same technology to manage their infrastructure and capture data.
The downside is that most of these IoT-enabled devices fall short when it comes to security. And since they are linked to the Internet, they are prone to cyberattacks. Hackers would obtain control of such devices, then use them as leverage to access your network.
This is expected to rise. More so with the introduction of 5G technology. The solution? Well, you can start by setting apart these IoT-enabled devices from your main network. This is extremely crucial, especially if you are dealing with privacy-sensitive information on a regular basis.
6. Social Engineering
According to studies, about 1/3 of all breaches in 2020 involved employing social engineering techniques. These include activities centered on human interaction. Hackers would often psychologically manipulate a user to give sensitive information, rather than hacking through technical means. A few examples of such techniques include sending out phishing emails, quid pro quo, and scareware, among others. They are all tailored to prompt you to share some level of information.
To counter this, you must conduct training on your employees regarding social engineering and its techniques. Also, the firm can apply zero-standing privileges. A user is only granted access to a single task at a time. And the access only lasts through the period of use. This way, even though hackers get to access such credentials, they won’t be of use for long.
7. DDOS attacks
DDOS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks are some of the most powerful attacks currently being done on the Internet. It is whereby a hacker disrupts the regular traffic going to your website. They do this by flooding your system’s resources or bandwidth. Making it impossible for your service to be delivered. Research shows that the average cost due to such attacks on a business can go upwards of $100,000 an hour.
These attacks are only continuing to mutate and will extend over to 2021. Hackers are now taking advantage of or previously compromised devices. Therefore, you’ll find machines of other users performing these attacks without their users being aware. Another trend is using Artificial Intelligence to make the DDOs attacks. AI is much more efficient at finding weak spots in large amounts of data.
Well, now you are in the know. you are better positioned to defend your firm and protect yourself from costly damages by being aware of such attacks. Remember, cyberattacks can happen to anybody. And no matter how secure your system is, a dedicated hacker will always find a way in. The least you can do is make it as hard as possible for them.