Top Cyber Security Issues in 2021

Cyberthreats are constantly evolving, both in sophistication and depth of their attacks. Which isn’t a comforting thought. And, as these threats are evolving, this makes it hard to know what may come next.

So while we can’t predict exactly how each new cybersecurity threat will play out, we can help you identify cyber security threats to watch out, so you can be as prepared as possible.

Here are what have been identified as the top cyber security issues to prepare for in 2021.

Mobile cyberthreats

With the majority of our employees pivoting to working from home arrangements at some point in 2020, the COVID-19 lockdowns taught us a lot about home cyber security.

And it was a steep learning curve. It made clear the issue of the differing understandings that our staff have in managing our personal cyber security.

This is where mobile cyberthreats may become prevalent in 2021. As we learned to adapt our home security, so too did cybercriminals. We consider this a mobile cyberthreat; that is, the threat of cyber attacks against our mobile or remote working arrangements.

One big way this will become an issue is in the gaps in employee knowledge of what constitutes good home cyber security. Cybercriminals will be able to take advantage of cracks in our security, in unprepared employees. It can be as simple as a misconfiguration in security software, or unresolved security updates. Or, it can be as intense as sophisticated social engineering attacks.

The key is to be prepared, and improve cybersecurity protocols and guidelines within the organisation that employees understand how to follow.

IoT vulnerabilities

As adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, so too will the potential for cyberthreats.

The IoT is the wider connected network of internet-enabled tools and devices. These days your smart fridges, smart houses, autonomous cars, and e-health devices are all connected to the internet.

And with this increased connectivity comes the increase in vulnerability, and subsequent exploitation, of these internet-facing devices. There’s very likely going to be undiscovered threats that have yet to receive patches. Password hacks and cracks in security between devices will become more prevalent, as will the threats to our home networks.

For businesses, supply chains will come under threat as connected IoT devices along these chains deliver more vulnerability points.

It’s not a comforting thought—but it’s a big issue we need to be aware of.

Insider threats

As workplaces also continue to evolve, and businesses continue to downsize, gaps will continue to appear in security protocols.

And with the rise in remote working, and less reliance on face-to-face engagement, recruitment-based cyberthreats will become more prevalent. Often known as ‘insider threats’, these may sound like a conspiracy theory, but they’re absolutely real. 

Insider threats work like this: cybercriminals are targeting jobs inside a business, so they apply for them online. They go through the recruitment process and end up securing a position within the company. They become a trusted employee, then once they’re on board they access sensitive HR, security, and recruitment data, from the inside.

Increase in spear phishing attacks

At this point, most people understand what a phishing attempt is: often unsophisticated and clearly identifiable attempts to steal personal details through emails, by posing as a reputable individual or company.

Where phishing is quite broad, and doesn’t necessarily make much attempt to personalise its attack, spear phishing targets an individual person using more intelligent and customised phishing attempts.

As automation software becomes more complex, 2021 will likely see an increase in volume in spear phishing attempts. 

Increase in ransomware attacks

We’ve seen some heavy-hitting ransomware attacks in the last year. Cryptolocker flexed its power on users, and December 2020 saw not just businesses, but the majority of the US Government come under attack in the SolarWinds breach.

So we’re likely to see ransomware evolve and become more insidious, and more technologically advanced. This may result in larger, faster attacks, that take data before users even have the chance to respond. Ransoms will become more demanding, and more disruptive.

Advanced persistent threats

Advanced persistent threats are like sleeper threats, and most often will be performed by state-sponsored groups that are going after larger organisations. 

A cybercriminal will infiltrate a network and then remain dormant for an indeterminate length of time. They won’t make their presence known immediately, so there’s no initial threat to detect.

Then, when the time is right, they will take action and make the attack, whether it’s syphoning funds, accessing data, or stealing information.

So as you can see, cyber security issues in 2021 are likely to multiply. They’ll occur more often, and in higher capacity, using a sophistication and tenacity that we haven’t yet seen.

And while this is far from a comforting thought, It’s important to be aware of. After all, forewarned is forearmed.

To ensure your IT security is ready for 2021 and beyond, drop us a line today. Our in-depth IT consulting services will help you analyse your network, determine where and how to improve your security, and provide long-term support to ensure your business’ networks and data remains secure.

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