Top 5 Cyber Security Threats of 2021

Posted By: Helen Tuesday 27th April 2021Tags: , ,

As a country we continue to experience the gentle easing of lockdown restrictions and as individuals we begin to relax, hackers are stepping it up. Today we are discussing the top five security threats of 2021 and how these have the potential to upset your company.

Social Engineering Techniques

Cyber threats continue to grow in sophistication and include the following methods:

Phishing: This is a preferred method of cyber hacking, involving credible looking emails and even text messages. Each correspondence is designed to either catch the user ‘off guard’ or hope they aren’t trained to spot a dud! Inserted into messaging are malicious links or files containing malware. Such emails usually try to build a sense of urgency for the recipient and are extremely effective.

Scareware: As the name suggests, this type of threat involves scaring individuals into assuming devices are affected by malware. Scareware, referred to sometimes as deception software bombards users with false threats and alerts regarding device safety. The idea is for users to become worried and install the recommended software. This will if you’re lucky prove completely useless. Worst case scenario results in the addition of malware to systems.

Quid Pro Quo: This is a clever method where attackers may pose as IT Support specialists. Their aim is to get into your system to retrieve data and install malware.

Ransomware

This is a nasty piece of work whereby hackers encrypt data so the owner no longer has access. As the name suggests, data is then held to ransom and will not be released unless payment is made. Even when companies have chosen to make payments, data has not always been returned.

Recent attacks have seen criminals taking advantage of COVID-19 by compromising research data. Hackers in this instance demanded a ransom of $1.14 million. In addition, Canon experienced a cruel attack whilst experiencing a six day outage. Whilst there are no figures on what this attack has cost Canon, we do know they have hired an external security firm to investigate further.

A final notable Ransomware attack occurred in a German hospital. Cybercriminals were able to disable patient care systems before making their monetary requests. This criminal act sadly resulted in the death of one patient.

DDos Attacks

DDos or Distributed Denial-of-Service involves the malicious attempt in disrupting the usual server traffic. Such an attack overwhelms the target or surrounding infrastructure with large traffic increases. In just the first half of 2020, 4.83 million DDos attacks took place, a 15% increase from 2019. Moving forwards cyber specialists have discovered criminals are taking advantage of artificial intelligence to meet their needs.

Third Party Software

With companies spanning the entire globe connecting to third party software to enhance business processes, owners MUST be aware of how these provide potential threats. Should third party software experience an attack, all attached domains become vulnerable. In 2020, third party exposures included Spotify and Instagram.

Cloud Computing Vulnerabilities

Cloud computing has grown exponentially over the last few years and is estimated to increase a further 17% in 2021. Throughout the pandemic. The economy has experienced a 50% increase in its use across all industries. As the ‘new normal’ continues to see people working from home and adopting the Hybrid Working Method, this number is set to only rise further.

Cyber criminals scan for cloud servers without passwords. They exploit unpatched systems and perform brute-force attacks in order to access user accounts and the attached data. Based on their aim, hackers will either steal sensitive data or alternatively plant ransomware.

Stay Cyber Aware, Stay Cyber Secure

It’s intrinsic to the secure running of every company that owners and their teams undergo relevant cyber security training. Knowledge is power and being armed with an understanding and awareness of threats could be just enough to save your company in 2021.