If you were to describe 2020 in one word, what would it be? Bad? Dreadful? Disastrous? No matter how you choose to describe it, we all know that 2020 wasn’t a good year for many people. Not only were we hit by a pandemic that forced everyone to stay home, but cybercriminals also exploited the situation by launching cyberattacks that instilled fear and panic in their victims.
We were constantly under the threat of cyberattacks this year. This is why we should be proactive against them, especially because threats will continue to evolve and become more dangerous in the future. Here are some predictions for the cybersecurity landscape in 2021:
1. Spear phishing attacks will become automated
Spear phishing is a scheme where cybercriminals send legitimate-looking emails to convince an individual or business to divulge sensitive data. It is a high-investment process, as gathering information about potential targets and crafting a quality message takes time and requires fluency in the target language.
In 2021, spear phishing attacks are expected to be more prevalent, as cybercriminals can now automate processes like data gathering and email composition. This enables phishers to send thousands of detailed and customized phishing emails quickly, improving the attack’s success rate.
2. Cybercriminals will attack home networks with worms
The pandemic forced many people around the world to work from home. And as this setup is predicted to continue in the near future, cyberattacks will also be more widespread.
For instance, hackers will exploit poorly protected home networks in 2021 to gain access to corporate systems. Malware will evolve with a worm functionality not only to spread across a network, but also to spot devices used for work, such as a virtualized PC or a laptop connected to a virtual private network.
3. Ransomware will include exfiltration techniques
Typical ransomware attacks involve denying a user access to their files, either by encrypting their data or locking the computer. According to ESET, these attacks will become more dangerous in the future, as cybercriminals are now exfiltrating confidential data and leaking them to the public.
The scheme involves the use of phishing or brute force attacks to infiltrate a company network. Once inside the victim’s system, the attackers will try to remain undetected while identifying the organization’s most important files. After exfiltrating the company’s data, the attacker can deploy ransomware, threatening the victim that their sensitive files will be published and sold if ransom is not paid.
4. Attackers will target endpoint vulnerabilities
Attacks on endpoints like PCs, mobile phones, and servers have skyrocketed since the pandemic started. And with more employees working from home, cybercriminals will focus on exploiting vulnerabilities in computers, software, and operating systems in 2021.
Despite the availability of more modern operating systems like Windows 10, many businesses still refuse to upgrade due to cost or program compatibility issues. This will leave businesses using old hardware and software vulnerable to cyberattacks, which can endanger their data.
5. Businesses not using multifactor authentication (MFA) will likely suffer a data breach
MFA is a security solution that requires users to verify their identity through one-time authentication codes, biometrics, or a physical key on top of passwords. It acts as a secondary security on your front door for added safety. Even if an outsider has a key to your property, they cannot enter because there's another lock on the door that can only be opened from the inside.
But despite the availability of MFA, it seems that many businesses are still not implementing the security solution, if we go by the continued rise of corporate account takeovers. This means that organizations that do not implement MFA are more likely to be at risk of data breaches and account compromise attacks in 2021.
However, when you implement MFA, avoid SMS-based authentication as much as possible, as one-time SMS codes can be intercepted by attackers. Instead, use biometric authentication like fingerprint and facial recognition, physical keys, or app-based authentication codes, as these are less likely to be taken over by cybercriminals.
Quicktech can provide the best cybersecurity protection for your business. We’ll safeguard your IT systems with robust security solutions like next-gen firewalls and antivirus software, so you can be prepared for whatever threat comes your way. To learn more about the cybersecurity solutions your business must have, download our FREE eBook today.