These Are the Top Five Cybersecurity Threats Your Business Faces in 2021

Cyberattacks exploded last year due to the coronavirus. Here’s how to protect your business from hackers.

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February 9, 2021 5 min read

This story originally appeared on ValueWalk

Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created a new playground for hackers. Due to lockdowns and social distancing requirements across the globe, many scheduled projects and initiatives had to be put on hold so that IT staff could focus on enabling remote access.

Cyberattacks have grown in volume in 2020 and the increase in cybercrime has been estimated at 400 percent due to the coronavirus. Microsoft reports that pandemic-related phishing and social engineering attacks have skyrocketed to 30,000 a day in the U.S. alone. Threat researchers say ransomware attacks have risen 800 percent during the pandemic.

Everyone is being targeted by cyberattacks, but trends show small businesses are one of the most common targets. In fact, approximately 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses!

What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is the protection of computer systems from theft or damage to their software, hardware, any digital data as well as from the disruption or misdirection of the services they provide. In today’s world, cyber security is usually associated with the internet since many of us have easy and direct access to the network. But cyber security has been a threat since the first computers started storing data.

Cybercriminals have taken advantage of the fear and uncertainty in their cyber attacks. It is not uncommon to read stories of banks, credit card companies, online retailers, phone companies, and other companies having their systems breached and customer’s data stolen.

What should we expect in 2021? Cyber security experts say these six cyber security threats in 2021 will likely have the biggest impact on businesses in the coming year:

1. Hacking the home

With more people living and working from home, the number of devices connected to the internet has increased. The evolving world of the connected lifestyle gives hackers more potential entry points to homes and consumers information through devices, apps and web services. These cyber criminals look to exploit our vulnerability as we work remotely and seek online entertainment. People working from home often use personal devices while working and log in to home networks that are not fully secured. Over the course of 2020, financial insecurity concerns rose to an all-time high. With millions of Americans unemployed or experiencing reduced hours or salaries, more households than ever were living paycheck to paycheck. As many consumers have not changed their default settings or passwords, it becomes easier for criminals to gain access to their networks whether they use it for work or leisure.

2. Beware of the ‘wares’

Cyber Security analysts believe that threats from all the wares such as ransomware, malware, spyware, scareware and adware will remain one of the biggest concerns for security teams in 2021. For example a scam email threatens people that their webcams have been compromised and certain images have been captured. It requires them to make payment on Bitcoin to destroy such images. Ransomware, estimated to have cost $20 billion globally in 2020, will become even more creative and damaging to motivate payment. It has been predicted by cybersecurity ventures that a business will fall victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds in 2021. That’s down from every 14 seconds in 2019.

3. Cloud-based threats

Cloud computing has accelerated since the early 2020 due to the pandemic. Many companies have opted in transforming and leveraging their tools online. Last year, we learned that businesses will continue to operate online through the cloud and it is expected to do in 2021 and beyond. However, this rapid migration to the cloud exposes businesses to a slew of security challenges and threats. Cloud app vulnerabilities, incomplete data deletion, misconfigurations in cloud storage, and diminished visibility and control are some of the common cloud services issues that increase cybersecurity risks.

4. QR code abuse

Scammers and cyber criminals are quick to exploit new technology for their vindictive tricks. Hackers find opportunities in exploiting social engineering to gain access to a consumers personal data in a single scan. Many businesses such as restaurant owners often make QR codes to give us access to downloading their app or menus in regards to the safety norms set for the pandemic. But scammers use similar tactics to entice customers into downloading malicious apps that pretend to do the same. Instead of generating a code, the app will steal the consumers data. Once a hacker gains access to a particular business’s customer database, they can use this information to launch phishing scams under the guise of the company.

5. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most common cyberattacks due to the high level of interaction humans have on the internet. Phishing scams usually occur through social engineering in traditional email and cloud services attacks. Phishing can result in Account Takeover (ATO), Business Email Compromise (BEC), ransomware, credential theft and other security breaches. Most emails are disguised as messages from trusted individuals like a manager, coworker, or business associate to trick your employees into activating the enclosed malware or granting unauthorized access. Their objective is to get unsuspecting victims to click on a malicious link or attachment or give up sensitive information. Organizations should take advantage of email phishing protection software and employee training to reduce the risk associated with these attacks.

In a world where the internet connects everything, cybersecurity has never been more critical. While having IT services and updated software and hardware is important, it is still critical to understand today’s hackers for the safety of your business. WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system in the world. Check this information to learn how this platform came to be.

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