2020 might have brought most activities to a standstill, but not cybersecurity threats. If anything, 2020 saw an increase in cybersecurity threats as criminals found new ways to take advantage of vulnerabilities and infiltrate business systems.
Developments in COVID-19, which forced workers into remote work, further worsened these attacks. Cybercriminals took advantage of the increasing dependence on technology and limited training and preparation to launch a series of attacks.
2021 has had a positive start for businesses with the distribution of coronavirus vaccines and the possibility of workers returning to the office. But as these businesses adjust to remote work and increase their reliance on technology and cloud-based solutions, they also have to be aware of the ever-evolving cybersecurity threats and find ways to protect their networks and data.
Here are some of the emerging cybersecurity threats of 2021 and some steps you can take to keep the organization safe:
What seems clear is that known cyber threats, including Trojans, ransomware, and phishing will remain on the rise. These threats, however, are evolving, with criminals shaping their attacks around current events.
For example, phishing attacks targeting events around the coronavirus are expected to rise. Some of the factors behind the growth of these attacks include:
- Attacks targeting current events gain people’s interest and attention instantly
- Most people are still adjusting to using different work from home tools.
Phishing attacks continue to work since they rely on proven social engineering attacks. Therefore, having security systems and tools that fight phishing attacks helps, coupled with employee training and sensitization.
Your business should adopt a security-first approach by encouraging employees to seek a second opinion when they think something looks suspicious.
Identity management is also an important strategy against phishing attacks. You must ensure that members have the right security tools, which allow them to access the corporate network without compromising sensitive data or systems to malicious actors.
Employee training and continued support will also help organizations remain on top of old threats and protect their IT infrastructure.
Brute Force Attacks
Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks were on the rise in the second half of 2020 and are expected to continue in 2021. These attacks involve disruption of traffic to a network, by overwhelming the target or its supporting infrastructure with an overflow of requests that shut down a server.
The rise of machine-to-machine communication and unsecured IoT devices are contributing factors to the growing threat of DDoS attacks against organizations.
Organizations must be vigilant, test vulnerabilities in their networks and systems, and remain ahead of cybercriminals. Some measures your organization could take to safeguard from DDoS attacks include:
- Monitor your website traffic
- Adopt agile tools to detect, isolate and remediate DDoS attacks as they occur
- Analyze DDoS risks and develop mitigation strategies
- Practice cyber hygiene
- Implement a zero-trust security framework.
Fileless ransomware and malware attacks will continue to affect businesses in 2021. Fileless attacks exploit approved platforms and software tools already in a corporate network to bypass common detection tools.
Fileless attacks usually start with a malicious link leading to a malicious website where the attacker launches the system tools through a series of social engineering attacks. Since these attacks exploit an organization’s existing IT infrastructure, the threat can go undetected. The reliance on existing infrastructure shortens their development cycle and makes them more attractive for criminals.
A trend that’s being seen in 2021 with these types of attacks is targeting service providers then trickling down these attacks to compromise the clients.
Organizations can prevent fileless attacks by not clicking on suspicious links, disabling non-essential system tools, and keeping their systems updated.
Adopting Proven Cybersecurity Tools for Today’s Threats
As businesses adjust to the new normal, cybercriminals are also increasing their efforts to infiltrate organizations and steal critical information. You can protect your organizations by adopting cybersecurity strategies and tools that mitigate known or emerging threat vectors to protect your data.