Emerging cyberthreats to watch out for in 2021

Emerging cyberthreats to watch out for in 2021

The year 2020 wasn’t a good one. It started with news of a new strain of coronavirus called COVID-19, which eventually turned into a pandemic that wreaked havoc across the globe. And while the world was suffering from the effects of the pandemic, cybercriminals took advantage of the fear and uncertainty to launch COVID-themed cyberattacks.

According to Microsoft, COVID-related social engineering and phishing attacks last year rose to as much as 30,000 a day in the US alone, while MonsterCloud reported that ransomware attacks went up by 800%. And it wasn't just large enterprises that were being targeted. Verizon's recent data breach report showed that 43% of cyberattacks were focused on small- and medium-sized businesses.

So what should businesses expect this year? Here are the cyberthreats that are predicted to make a big impact in the coming months.

1. More COVID-related phishing scams
The discovery of a new COVID-19 variant and the announcement of new vaccines will allow cybercriminals to continue using COVID-themed phishing scams to target unsuspecting victims. Their strategy involves posing as legitimate entities to get users to click on a malicious email attachment or link that installs malware or steals private information.

2. Reinvented Nigerian prince scams
The Nigerian prince scam is one of the first and longest-running online frauds. In this scam, a cybercriminal poses as a Nigerian prince and promises to give victims millions through their bank accounts. If the victims provide the fraudsters with their account details, the latter can steal the former's money.. Fraudsters are putting a new twist to this old scam by pretending to work for a government agency distributing economic stimulus packages.

3. Cyberattacks on remote workers
With more employees working from home, the number of devices connecting to corporate networks has also increased. Unfortunately, many of these devices are unpatched and unsecure, making it easy for cybercriminals to exploit any weaknesses to bypass your network security and gain access to private business and personal information.

4. Quick response (QR) code scams
Many businesses have started to use QR codes to enable their customers to download apps, purchase items online, schedule appointments, and more. Cybercriminals can exploit this technology to trick people into downloading dangerous apps designed to install malware or steal information instead of redirecting to safe sites.

5. Increased cloud breaches
Cloud computing skyrocketed last year because of the pandemic. Businesses switching to a work from home setup quickly migrated to the cloud to give their employees remote access to corporate resources. However, this sudden shift to cloud services led to incomplete data deletion and cloud storage misconfiguration that could be exploited by cybercriminals. For instance, threat actors are taking advantage of misconfigured Amazon S3 buckets to distribute various malware.

6. Continued threat of ransomware
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, global ransomware damages are estimated to reach $20 billion in 2021 and that a business will be hit by a ransomware attack every 11 seconds this year.

One type of ransomware that's making headlines is the double extortion ransomware attack. In this attack, cybercriminals will make a copy of the data they’ve encrypted and threaten to leak the information unless victims pay an additional ransom.

7. Cyberattacks on the shipping and parcel industry
Online shopping saw a rapid increase last year because of lockdown restrictions, thus making the shipping and parcel industry ideal targets for cybercriminals. Threat actors can take advantage of holidays and other critical periods to launch cyberattacks on overburdened shippers and steal their customers’ private information.

Cybercriminals are constantly looking for new ways to attack unsuspecting businesses and individuals. To address these threats, businesses must leverage the latest cybersecurity technology and partner with a reliable managed IT services provider like Complete Document Solutions. Our top-of-the-class cybersecurity solutions will keep your organization safe from data breaches and other cyberthreats that can disrupt your operations. Call us now to learn more.

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