With all eyes focused on COVID-19, it’s easy to forget that there are other viruses with which to contend. With that in mind, this post shifts your attention towards cybersecurity and what threats to watch for in 2021.
According to the Information Security Forum, the top threats to look out for include the following.
The last year saw an increase in cybercriminals taking advantage of the pandemic. While the ransomware attacks on hospitals made the news headlines, there are several approaches the criminals used.
· Ransomware takes a micro approach:
Expect remote workers to be more at risk of this type of attack in 2020. Companies must improve their corporate security measures and training.
· Fraudulent charities and loans:
Firms should carefully vet charities or lenders as criminals gear up efforts to cash in on COVID-19.
· Malware and phishing:
Both have benefited from the public’s desire to learn more about coronavirus. Firms should use a robust email filter and train employees in identifying suspicious emails and links.
· Network attacks:
Your network is only as strong as its weakest link. With 5G broadening the potential attack surface, any device on your network is at greater risk. This includes any smart device that connects to the router, even a coffee maker.
· Identity theft:
For a mere identity theft, you can secure a full identity on the dark web. This year will see an increase in identity theft cases to achieve bigger breaches.
Who Can You Trust?
It sounds like something from a dystopian nightmare, but the paranoia will stand you in good stead this year. We’ll see an uptake of malicious actors joining companies to gain access to assets or sow destruction.
Most companies are so focused on preventing external threats that they seldom see this type coming. Financial services groups are at particular risk in 2021.
Scammers Live in a Digital Dreamland
Attitudes about sharing online information change with younger generations joining the workforce. Whereas older employees are reticent to share online, it’s the norm for younger employees. They may unwittingly share sensitive information. They’re also more likely to become prey for phishers and so-called social cybercriminals.
Firms will have to improve their security practices and review their privacy policies to combat this threat.
Edge Computing Is a Security Risk
Edge computing is the evolution of the cloud and is highly attractive. It saves companies resources without impacting system performance. At this stage, due to the newness of the tech, it poses a unique security risk.
It has several potential failure points and isn’t entirely compatible with traditional security measures. Cloud providers offer companies increased visibility, analytics, and security. Edge providers have a lot of catching up to do in this arena.
This year we’ll see attackers exploiting blind spots and zeroing in on peripheral devices that might go unnoticed. From there, they’ll take the network down and may demand a ransom to halt the attack.
We’ve All Rushed the Transition to Digital
COVID-19 made it essential to consider introducing digital solutions. Companies that didn’t do so were unlikely to survive the upheaval the virus caused. This year, firms will have to decide if those changes are permanent.
This will lead to further disruption as companies implement more digital measures such as blockchain, robotics, or artificial intelligence. Firms are rushing to get in on the action but should take a more measured approach.
Making an error in integrating these systems will destroy the trust the consumers have in the company. Worse yet, opportunistic criminals will be quick to capitalize on any security gaps.
What Businesses Should Focus on Going Into 2021
Shoring up business defenses is critical this year. Firms must look to the following areas:
· Risk management and compliance:
Reviewing your governance policies is key to adjusting to new risks. Evaluate what changing regulations mean to your company and then ensure complete compliance.
Review your critical assets, reprioritizing those that have dropped in value or that no longer play a crucial role—work toward creating a reliable recovery program to implement after a breach.
· Technology and service upgrades:
There are many new cloud providers, data centers, and SaaS providers. Test their capabilities and vet them carefully before signing up. If their security is lax, your business data is at risk.
· Maintain the supply chain:
Review your supply procedure and look for potential security gaps. Design new processes to address these gaps as necessary.
COVID-19 and politics have turned our worlds upside down. It’s time to reassess our policies regarding improving the mental health of employees, combatting fatigue, and identifying insider risks.
2021 will bring with it many changes. Increased cybersecurity risk is one of the most important to take note of. Firms should carefully consider the points raised above and assess their defensive strategies.