In 2020, businesses saw a host of new and recurring cybersecurity risks. The COVID-19 pandemic, in combination with the United States presidential. election and other headline news events, led to a noticeable rise in cyberattacks. According to a recent study conducted by Opinion Matters, approximately 90 percent of IT leaders reported an increase in cyberattacks over the past year.
Many businesses are taking the necessary steps to block these cybercriminals, but attacks are becoming more sophisticated. Below are some top cybersecurity trends and threats that businesses should look out for in 2021.
Cyber Risk Trends Originated During COVID-19
It is not uncommon for criminals to exploit national emergencies and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. As the health crisis soared across the United States, the number of cybercriminal threats skyrocketed. Some of the most common cyber risk trends during COVID-19 include:
Phishing and Spoofing Campaigns
Phishing is when a cybercriminal steals sensitive information, such as bank account details. Spoofing is a type of identity theft where a cybercriminal attempts to use the identity of a legitimate user. Phishing and spoofing campaigns have become increasingly common since the start of the pandemic as unsuspecting individuals click on malicious emails or websites to gain new information or updates about the virus.
Ransomware Attacks on Business Systems
Ransomware is a form of malware that blocks access to or encrypts a victim’s files. The cybercriminal then requests a ransom to restore the victim’s access to critical data or systems upon payment. Cybercriminals often exploit fear during major world events and may use social engineering campaigns to encourage victims to install malware that steals financial data or attacks business systems to access valuable personal information.
Cloud Service and Deployment Breaches
Cloud infrastructure is known to be highly secure but when security features are not configured correctly, it leaves users vulnerable to cyberattacks. Misconfigurations of cloud security features are a common cause of data breaches and these types of attacks are expected to increase as more companies use cloud services to support their remote employees during the pandemic.
Uncertainty Surrounding 5G Networks
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding 5G networks and whether they will open up businesses to new security risks. On one hand, the implementation of 5G networks will no doubt unlock major potential across many verticals, such as healthcare. However, it could also expose businesses to certain cybercrime, such as data breaches, online frauds, ransomware attacks and identity theft.
Recurring Cybersecurity Threats Prior to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many new cyber-related threats, but many cyber threats existed prior to the coronavirus crisis. Many companies continue to struggle with security attacks that impact their reputation and infrastructure. Some of the most common reoccurring cybersecurity threats that businesses may see in 2021 include the following:
Attacks on The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers a range of benefits for businesses, such as cost reductions, enhanced customer experience, greater efficiency and productivity, better mobility and new business opportunities. However, the IoT also poses certain security threats like ransomware, DDoS and social engineering that can be used to steal private data from organizations.
Mobile Application Threats and Breaches
Mobile application threats and breaches have drastically increased since the start of the pandemic as employees are forced to work remotely. Mobile apps contain a wealth of user data, such as contact details, banking information and user passwords, which are all readily available for hackers to leverage. There are many types of mobile application threats, such as IoT hardware, mobile malware, app store security, illegal access and cross-device cyber threats.
Vulnerabilities in Cryptocurrencies
The bitcoin market aims to replace conventional currency in the future. However, there are still many challenges that surround cryptocurrencies, including serious security vulnerabilities. The crypto-market is decentralized, meaning there is no governing authority. Crypto exchange is one of the riskiest areas of the market as there is no way to determine which platforms can truly be trusted.
How a Cybersecurity Consulting Firm Can Help
Businesses of all sizes and in every industry are susceptible to cybersecurity risks. When these threats manifest, it can cause significant, long-term financial and reputational losses for organizations. Working with a reputable cybersecurity consulting firm can help businesses better understand where their IT infrastructure falls short and how to address security gaps in their existing systems. Cybersecurity consulting firms offer a variety of services that aim to protect businesses from these threats, such as cyber risk assessments, incident response plans and IT due diligence.
Speak with Hartman Executive Advisors for More Information
Understanding what cybersecurity risks threaten a business can help organizations develop new strategies for identifying and addressing security events quickly and efficiently. To learn more about what cybersecurity risks to look out for in 2021 or to speak with an experienced cyber risk advisor, contact Hartman Executive Advisors.