3 Emerging Cybersecurity Trends for 2021

Companies benefit greatly from analyzing lessons learned. These can clearly specify reasons for project success and failures and assist in improving outcomes. This approach is ever more necessary in regard to cybersecurity as 2021 moves rapidly forward. With the ever-present changes in organizational structures due to the relentless COVID-19 pandemic, lessons learned in regard to cyber vulnerabilities are among the top focal points for oversight and management. Notice three emerging trends that have come from probing these evaluations.

The expansive cyber-attack plane

The plane on which global cyber-attacks continue to spread is increasing. Much of what influences this is how business is carried out over the internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly driven the acceleration of these changes. Half the U.S. labor force is estimated to be working from home, and lockdowns are being reissued in a number of countries with new outbreaks. In an article by Cybersecurity Ventures, it is estimated that the world will store 200 zettabytes of data by 2025.  This includes data stored on private and public IT infrastructures, on utility infrastructures, on private and public cloud data centers, on personal.

Remote work pulls the employees away from the bulwark of an office that provides secure firewalls, routers, and IT security teams to poorly protected home networks. This vulnerability gives hackers a large playground to exploit weaknesses in these types of networks. Cybercriminals can also use access to the billions of connected internet-connected devices that can allow them to access data. Protecting such a vast environment is more challenging than ever and more important as well.

Cyber criminals’ favorite ammunition: Ransomware

In 2020, nearly one-fourth of incident-response engagements from one of the U.S.’s major threat intelligence groups was ransomware. Although this type of attack is not new, it continues to be one of the most favored mechanisms because it provides these cybercriminals with the quickest way to receive monetary gain.  At present, it is believed that there exist approximately 124 separate families of ransomware and hackers are experts at disguising this type of malignant code.

What makes these attacks so successful is not primarily due to the software but because of the vulnerability of the digital landscape, we have at present. COVID-19 has transformed the digital model of organizations worldwide, making ransomware an ideal weapon that provides an easier mark for extortion. By 2021, criminal hackers have transformed into more refined ways of exploiting vulnerabilities through machine learning and more synchronized sharing on the dark web and dark web forums.

Preventing ransomware requires cybersecurity awareness and preparation based on anti-malware programs, secure passwords, updating patches, and having secure routers, VPNs, and Wi-Fi. You need to be aware of the baits and keep protected information correctly stored and backed up.

Threats Against Critical Infrastructure

Critical infrastructure is an increased concern for cyber threats. The 2020 World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report listed cyberattacks on critical infrastructure (CI) as a top concern. WEF noted that “attacks on critical infrastructure have become the new normal across sectors such as energy, healthcare, and transportation.” The Global Risks Report 2020 | World Economic Forum (weforum.org)

Taking advantage of holes in software, phishing scams, bots, malware, among others, the threat goes beyond your neighborhood hacker. Criminal organizations, terrorists, and even national adversaries have found these types of seemingly subtle attacks as the new form of war. Recently, the U.S. has been a subject of high-profile digital attacks originating from sources on the other side of the planet.

Healthcare, utilities, banking, and transportation are just a shortlist of the critical infrastructure that is vulnerable to malware attacks that can impact control systems and eventually cause severe damages that can lead to widespread mayhem. Critical infrastructure operators should apply a comprehensive risk framework to address vulnerabilities and establish a defense system. Despite having unique frameworks and other types of technologies within their organizations, critical infrastructure can redefine its approach and work more diligently in preparing for attacks.

These are just a short list of standout trends that all organizations need to seriously consider and understand. FPV & Galíndez can evaluate your organization’s current digital landscape and assist in creating a protective fortification for your systems. Learn more about how here.