2021 was a tough year for cybersecurity. In fact, in just the first nine months of the year, there were already 1,291 data breaches. And as cyberattacks become more sophisticated, we can expect cybercrime to continue ramping up in 2022. To help prepare your business, we have listed five top cybersecurity predictions for the new year and tips to protect your IT systems from future attacks.
Deepfakes will become more widely used to commit fraud
Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to create manipulated images, audios, or videos that are highly realistic. While the technology is useful in fields such as game development and education, it can also be exploited by cybercriminals to launch scams and social engineering attacks.
In early 2020, fraudsters stole $35 million from a bank by cloning the company's director's voice. Expect incidents like this to become more common in 2022 as deepfake tools become more accessible to cybercriminals. In fact, threat actors have been found to use the dark web to offer customized services that incorporate deepfake technologies designed to bypass security measures.
To safeguard your business from such attacks, train your employees to spot telltale signs of manipulated content. These signs include unnatural movement of a person's facial features in a video or a person saying words or phrases they wouldn't normally say in an audio recording. Finally, it helps to personally verify any wire transfer requests.
Tech support scams will increase
Tech support scams are a type of fraud wherein scammers employ scare tactics to trick people into paying for support services to fix nonexistent computer issues. In many cases, these lead to financial loss or data theft.
Many tech support scams in 2021 claimed to represent known brands like Norton, McAfee, and Windows Defender. These attacks managed to bypass security checks by using methods like brand and phone number impersonation. In all cases, scammers instructed victims to call a toll-free number to fix the issue. Considering how effective these tactics have been, you can expect more of the same in 2022.
Remember that reputable tech companies will never contact you directly to provide technical support, and all tech support calls must be initiated by the user. Instruct your staff to close tech support pop-up windows immediately and never dial the number on these.
Ransomware attacks will worsen
Ransomware attackers used to only encrypt victims' files and demand ransom in exchange for the decryption key. But since 2020, cybercriminals have been threatening to leak their victims’ sensitive data online unless payment is made. In 2021, some cybercriminals launched triple extortion attacks, demanding ransom from their victims, clients or suppliers. These attacks are expected to further increase in 2022.
Protect your company from ransomware by practicing good cyber hygiene. This involves backing up your data regularly, installing antivirus software, and training employees periodically on how to spot phishing emails.
Increased adoption of zero trust and multifactor authentication (MFA)
As more organizations adopt a hybrid work model, expect an increase in the adoption of the zero trust security framework and MFA. These keep sensitive data secure, helping employees work properly wherever they are.
Moreover, the Biden administration’s zero trust mandate for federal agencies will likely further push the solution’s adoption in 2022.
Microsoft Office documents will be further weaponized
Office documents like Word and Excel files sometimes use macros to automate certain processes. Unfortunately, cybercriminals can exploit the feature to launch malicious codes that can corrupt and steal data.
At the beginning of 2020, Office documents accounted for only 20% of all malware downloads However, they are expected to account for more than 50% by the end of 2022 as attackers devise new ways to exploit such documents.
To protect your business from macro malware, make sure that your macros are disabled by default. Teach your employees as well to be wary of opening suspicious emails or downloading attachments as these may contain malicious code.
As the cyberthreat landscape grows, you need a reliable partner to keep your business protected. Go with Complete Document Solutions! Our team of experts will keep your IT infrastructure and data protected around the clock. We also offer regular risk assessments and training. Get your FREE IT and network assessment today!