What are the Top Cybersecurity Threats in 2021?

Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats in 2021

Thanks to the recent pandemic and shift towards remote work/cloud environments, cybercriminals have a new arena to play in. As hackers get more innovative, their tactics continue to evolve. This is no longer about traditional threats such as weak passwords or phishing. Cybersecurity threats today are more sophisticated and more sinister.

In this article, we will discuss the Top Cybersecurity Threats in 2021

1) Data Tracking

Data is an integral part of many online businesses. It can influence how they make money and what they spend it on. Data can be used to tell algorithms, for example, how many people use their smartphones, which apps they use the most, and which they don’t.

It can even track the user’s travel habits and where they spend their most time. The device might be able to tell if the user spends most time at home.

The purpose of this tracking is to improve certain services and learn from your everyday routine. However, so much data about your personal habits, preferences schedule in the wrong hands can have disastrous effects.

 The best way to handle this problem is to turn off your smartphone when it’s not in use or disable app tracking or location tracking when not needed. The data that your smartphone collects will be sent to dozens of services almost every minute. If your phone is off, this will not cause tracking to resume. However, if you turn it on again, the tracking will resume.

A VPN is another good way to prevent data tracking. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a server that reroutes your data to prevent anyone from stealing your information. It doesn’t matter what device you use. A VPN is great to have. As long as you have an internet connection, someone or something can track some data you have.

2) Cloud-Based Threats.

The migration to cloud computing has also been accelerated by more companies digitally changing and using online collaboration tools in 2020.

In 2021, the cloud will continue to change how businesses work. IDC projects that global cloud services market spending will reach USD $1 trillion by 2024 at a compound annual rate (CAGR of 15.7%) during the forecast period 2020-2024.

Businesses are exposed to many security threats and challenges due to rapid cloud migration. Cloud app vulnerabilities, inadvertent data deletion, misconfigurations of cloud storage, diminished visibility, and control are just a few of the cybersecurity threats that cloud services can pose.

3) Internet Scams

Since the dawn of the internet, online scams have been common. These scams can adapt to many forms that are difficult to spot.

An example might be something that you need to download from an online website. You find it and click on it to start downloading it. But, it turns out now you have malicious software like malware on your device.

Windows and Mac operating systems are quite good at protecting your device from these kinds of threats. However, some things can slip through.

Having updated antivirus software installed on your computer is the best way to protect yourself from this threat. It can scan downloads and scan links to find malicious files and protect your internet browser and computer against attacks.

Although some antiviruses are free, it is worth doing your research to find a suitable antivirus for you.

4) Insider Threats

The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations report shows that nearly 30% of security breaches are caused by insiders. Insider threats can include malicious attacks and the negligent use of data or systems by employees. These insider threats will continue to rise in 2021 and beyond.

Companies must be able to quickly identify, investigate, and respond to potential insider threats to boost their security. Antivirus tools do not work as well against insider threats. You need specialized tools that can protect your business from them.

These tools can combine machine learning with intelligent tagging to detect suspicious activity, changes, and threats due to system misconfigurations.

5) Malicious Links

We live in an age where most of our work is done online. This means that many video calls and meetings are being held every minute. On a daily basis, you will have to click on links several times to do your work.

However, these links can be disguised to appear as legitimate links while hiding malware or adware on them.

Always make sure you get the links from people you know and all use the same hosting service.

Scan the link before clicking it to ensure you don’t lose your valuable device or important information.

6) Deepfakes

Deepfakes are the manipulation of an image or video of someone to depict an activity that did not actually occur. Deepfakes are a significant cybersecurity threat that will be present in 2021 and beyond. They are often used with malicious intent.

We might witness cybersecurity threats, such as deepfake usage for committing fraud through synthetic identities and the emergence of deepfake-as-a-service organizations. Deepfakes might be able to create more convincing phishing schemes than ever, which could lead to businesses losing billions of dollars.

7) Malvertising

Malvertising is a term that refers to the spreading of malware through online ads. This is usually done by injecting malicious code into ads which are then displayed on legitimate websites via online advertising networks. Malvertising will continue to be a significant cyber threat in 2021.

Malvertising has seen two recent trends that are not considered malware attacks. These include ads targeting mobile devices that are linked to “fleeceware”, fraudulent apps, and technical support scams that use “browser locking”. These cyberthreat trends could be classified as “fake alert” attacks, where the malvertisment is intended to scare the target into doing something that will benefit the scammer’s interests.

The technical support scams target targets by allowing them to gain remote access to their systems inadvertently. Targets are then encouraged to compromise their credit card data, which is used fraudulently or subscribe to high-priced technical support services and software.

Scammers are also using the “pull” model. They use malicious web ads to convince users that their computers are locked for security reasons. This then drives them to contact the scammers.

8) Sophisticated Ransomeware Attacks.

Ransomware attacks are becoming a significant concern for businesses. Ransomware’s relative simplicity allows attackers to achieve devastating results. Ransomware kits can be easily purchased on the Dark Web for a meager price.

Ransomware hackers have found innovative ways to spread quickly, bypass security protocols and launch successful attacks against targeted individuals and companies. This is a serious concern as a ransomware attack on a single victim can cause severe damage to small and medium-sized businesses. There will also be high costs for recovery and downtime.

Ransomware’s increasing sophistication, increased frequency, and targeted approach means that it is likely that the ransomware cost in 2021 will rise significantly compared to 2020. Cybersecurity Ventures’ 2020 report estimates that cybercrime damages will surpass $6 trillion by 2021. The ransomware-related damages will cost $20 billion.

It is important to have a complete backup strategy in place to protect your company from ransomware attacks.

9) Social Media Attacks

Cyberattacks of various kinds have been launched via social media. Cybercriminals could launch an attack by creating a fake website or product announcement. After clicking on the registration URL, the user would be redirected and directed to a malicious site. This will allow them to compromise their personally identifiable information or multifactor authentication credentials.

Social media attacks are further facilitated by inefficient authentication and verification practices. Malicious QR codes and abbreviated URLs can be used to conceal malicious websites and launch cyberattacks against legitimate business accounts.

10) IoT Devices

The market for IoT is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion in 2026. This widespread adoption of IoT devices will bring with it a greater number of complex cybersecurity threats.

Cybercriminals have a greater attack surface to exploit the vulnerabilities in these new IoT devices, as they are still in an infancy stage. It is also challenging to create cybersecurity strategies to keep pace with the rapid development of IoT devices.

Conclusion

While attackers are constantly inventing new threats, the old ones, such as ransomware and Trojans, remain. Cybersecurity is about staying ahead of potential threats and not managing them later. These are some quick reminders that will help you keep safe.

  1. Prioritize cybersecurity
  2. Invest in Cybersecurity training and awareness & tools.

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