The cybersecurity landscape is one that changes constantly, and this can make it very hard for the average person to keep up with things. Of course, that’s why this kind of thing is normally handled by professionals. There are so many threats out there (and so many different forms for each one) that the whole thing can seem like one big tangled mess. However, you don’t have to be a cybersecurity professional to understand common threats. In fact, we would consider that to be essential for everyone. With that in mind, let’s give our predictions for the coming year. Here are the five cybersecurity threats that we believe are going to be big players in 2021.
This is the one that seems to be causing the most problems for private companies, and there is every reason to believe that the upward trend will continue. Unfortunately, ransomware is very hard to counter once it has become installed, forcing many companies to pay huge ransoms. When a given type of ransomware takes hold of your device, it encrypts all the data with a secure password, meaning that you cannot access that data. Ransom demands are then made in exchange for the password.
Although this kind of attack saw a slight downturn in early 2018, it has rocketed back to the top spot on the list for good reasons. The past year showed that many companies were not adequately prepared to deal with ransomware attacks, and even some government systems were infected by these nasty little programs. Just remember that they usually start with a phishing email or some other form of social engineering.
2. Cloud Intrusion
There is a long-standing debate as to whether or not the cloud is secure. To be sure, the basic concept doesn’t seem all that secure. The greater degree of interconnectedness that the cloud offers is indeed a great thing. However, that interconnectedness has certain consequences. One of these is the fact that spying and data theft can become a whole lot easier.
To be fair, we should mention that the cloud becomes a lot more secure when it is used properly. Without the right configurations, the cloud can actually be less secure than normal data storage, so don’t assume that your cloud is automatically secure. Chances are, it’s not.
3. More Small Business Attacks
2019 and early 2020 have seen a disturbing trend, in which hackers are less likely to attack individuals and more likely to attack large businesses. This tendency to attack high-value targets has mainly been seen in the ransomware sector, but it is not limited to that type of malware by any means.
According to these numbers, 43% of all hacking attacks are directed at small businesses. We believe that this is the case because small businesses make easier targets. As the big companies get wiser to their scams, the criminals will probably transition to a larger number of smaller attacks. Many small businesses just don’t have the money for good network security, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
4. IoT Devices Being Targeted
New trends in the tech industry can be exciting, but they always come with new dangers for exploitation. When you look at all the “smart devices” that are currently being marketed, you can see how there is a real danger in their employment. Most of these devices have little to no security, and that is why some hackers have already started hijacking IoT (“Internet Of Things”)devices.
So far, most of the documented attacks have been little more than mischief, but that’s only because hackers have not yet figured out a good way to profit from the hijacking of smart devices. If they do, you can bet that this threat will explode and become huge. The increased usage of “smart locks” is definitely one of the biggest risk factors here, as it could make things easier for burglars and other home invaders.
This list would not be complete if we didn’t talk about this threat. Phishing is one of the older cybersecurity threats, but it has never really gone away. If anything, it has only increased in frequency over the years and decades. This is largely in part due to the increased usage of electronic communication. Every form of electronic communication is vulnerable to this type of attack, as it relies on nothing more than simple impersonation.
Phishing is often used as the attack vector with which to install other forms of malware. Once the user has foolishly clicked on that link or opened that suspicious attachment, the attack has succeeded. Thus, all it takes is one inattentive or uneducated employee to compromise an entire company. In the past, this kind of thing mainly happened through email. However, hackers have now learned how to phish with other electronic communications, including text messages and videos.
The increased use of social media by much of the population has the potential to make this old threat worse than ever. Most people today are not very careful about the information they post on social media pages. As a result, it is easier than ever for cyber-criminals to do their homework on you. By learning about you, your life, and your associations, they can create custom phishing attacks that look a lot more legitimate and are thus more likely to succeed.
Although these are certainly not the only threats on the horizon, we think they will turn out to be the five biggest problems of 2021. Of course, it is always possible that some new threat will arise and blow all of these out of the water. Since we are talking about the future, there is no way to know for sure. In any case, a good computer service company can do a lot to help you deal with problems like these. If you need some managed IT support services or anything of the sort, you can call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.