As the world continues to fight the pandemic and the social end economic instabilities it brings, cybercriminals keep finding new vulnerabilities to exploit. Plus, the sudden changes in the way we work and do business created the perfect environment for cyber threat actors.
All this was extremely visible in 2020, with an alarming increase in the rate of successful cyberattacks. Also, cybercriminals extended their reach to governmental and healthcare institutions, which dramatically increased their impact.
Now, let’s have a look at the threats that continued to plague 2021, a year that was supposed to be all about recovery and reopening.
#1: ID Theft
Online identity theft cases are particularly tricky because the victim doesn’t know about the threat until it’s too late to do something to stop it. Plus, the victim is saddled with solving the problem and recovery may even take years of hard work.
Also, due to the nature of this attack, the authorities are rarely successful in finding the guilty party.
The best way to avoid a successful identity theft attack is to use online theft protection and constantly keep your guard up.
However, you also need to pay attention to the news, to learn about any attacks on the companies that may have stored your information in their database.
Sadly, phishing attacks continue to be successful in an alarming number of cases. Through phishing, ill-intended actors trick people to click on infected links or open corrupted files on a device.
When this happens, if the device is connected to a network (like it happens in a company) the piece of ill-intended code that comes with a phishing attack will spread like wildfire.
Plus, as most companies practice a hybrid of remote and in-office work also meant an increase in users for remote work collaboration platforms (such as Zoom or Slack).
Sadly, people are not aware of the fact that phishing is not just via email – phishing attacks can happen via Slack or Zoom as well.
The best way to avoid employees unknowingly opening the door for cybercriminals is to invest in cybersecurity training and offer practical examples that resonate with their day-to-day activity.
A couple of high-profile attacks against gas companies, hospitals, healthcare units, and even governmental institutions proved that ransomware attacks are profitable (for the attackers) and can cause chaos in a ripple pattern.
In 2020, ransomware attacks amounted to around $20 Bn in costs for businesses in the US. Plus, specialists recently noticed a rise in the use of the Ransomware as a Service (RaaS) industry, where cybercriminals sell ransomware that can be used by any type of ill-intended actor (it doesn’t require any technical knowledge).
Lastly, there is also an ascending trend for “double extortion” ransomware. In this scenario, the data is not just encrypted until the victim pays.
Cybercriminals find and steal sensitive data and then threaten to go public with them or sell them to the highest bidder unless they receive the ransom.
If you don’t believe ransomware attacks are that dangerous, you should think about the Colonial Pipeline incident that was deemed a national emergency in the US. The events that led to that particular situation were put in motion by a ransomware attack.
While we do live in times that are technologically blessed, we also have to think about the consequences of remaining ignorant about cybersecurity.
Nowadays, cybersecurity is one of the essential things a business needs to be successful, right there with a solid business plan and plenty of funding sources. Otherwise, every business owner risks losing years of work and effort in less than a few minutes.