It’s safe to say that 2020 was unlike any other year. With the global spread of COVID-19, workers all over the world suddenly shifted from offices to working from home. As businesses and organizations struggled to shift and adapt to this new normal, cyber criminals saw it as an opportunity to attack from a whole different angle. Needless to say, many businesses suffered major ramifications while quickly trying to secure these new networks. Throughout the past year, IT and security teams all over the world learned a lot about how to address these new challenges and they also realized this is just the beginning of a whole new realm of cybersecurity threats. Thus, it is important to anticipate what is coming next, so everyone can be better prepared to reduce security exposures while also helping businesses to continue growing and thriving among this new landscape. Here are a few of the top 2021 cybersecurity predictions.
1. More Attacks Will Happen at Home
There is no doubt that IT professionals are still frantically trying to handle the massive amounts of new threats that have occurred as a result of the work-from-home shift. As organizations began relying on technologies such as cloud services and digital collaboration tools like Zoom, Skype, and Slack, they began experiencing new threats from cyber criminals looking to cash in on these new vulnerabilities. As we move into 2021, we expect for many workers to continue working from home for much of this year. As a result, employees will undoubtedly take security shortcuts for convenience. Furthermore, insufficiently secured personal devices and home routers, transfer of sensitive information through unsecured channels like instant messaging apps or personal emails, and cloud-based software will play a significant role in data breaches and leaks. Remote based workers are clearly more relaxed working in the comfort of their own home and this can cause them to let their security guard down.
2. Poisoning of Machine Learning Data
Machine learning may be the key to unlocking valuable customer data and giving companies important insights into their competition, but it won’t come without a risk. As machine learning software becomes more widely used among companies, cybercriminals have a new method of attack. After a malicious actor steals a copy of the original training data, they can then manipulate the models by injecting poisoned data into the system. They will usually attach a ransom note to be paid in order to restore the original data models. Not only is this new form of ransomware extremely difficult to detect, but it is nearly impossible to recover from which leaves victims no other choice but to pay the ransom.
3. Deepfaking Will be Prevalent
Deepfakes are becoming increasingly popular and they are also becoming increasingly more convincing. Camera apps have become more sophisticated and users can easily create digital content that looks very real. This makes it easier than ever to make people believe something is real when it’s not. This is a powerful tool that can be used to provide misinformation to influence people’s opinions. As technology evolves, these videos and photographs look more and more realistic and they pose a significant threat to businesses and consumers.
4. Cloud Repositories Will be Hard Hit
Ransomware continues to be a major moneymaker for cybercriminals and things will only get bigger and badder in 2021. Driven by the pandemic, there has been a rapid acceleration of cloud adoption as the workforce shifted to a remote landscape. Many organizations now house substantial portions of their sensitive data in external, cloud repositories and these are often less secured and encrypted. As a result, we can expect to see ransomware increasingly target cloud storage to increase leverage and boost profitability.
5. Social Media Attacks will Thrive
Social media cyber attacks are expected to be a major threat for businesses in 2021. Cybercriminals are focusing their resources on data-filled environments like Facebook and Instagram in order to gain access to personal information and steal user data. Poor authentication and verification practices make it possible for attackers to be successful. It is very easy for attackers to post an illicit URL that poses as a webinar or an advertisement for a new product. Once the user clicks on it, their information is immediately stolen.
After a tumultuous year, it’s certainly not pleasant to think about all of these additional threats and challenges; however, being proactive and modifying your security strategy accordingly will help to ensure the success of your business.