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Top 5 cyber threats you should be aware of in 2021

Technology has been evolving at an incredible rate. With the shift towards remote working situations in 2020, cybersecurity has become a top priority for many businesses. Any technology shift opens new opportunities for cyber attackers and new challenges for IT professionals charged with securing systems. High profile attacks not only undermine trust in huge organizations, they also highlight a glaring gap in how cybersecurity is managed in a rapidly changing world. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, business can be victims to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds by the year 2021.
There’s a definite need to understand the nature of cybersecurity threats before you take critical steps to tackle them. But before that, the biggest question is which cybersecurity threats will impact the way cybersecurity experts work – and the way cybercriminals attack – for 2021 and beyond?

Let’s explore some of the top cyber threats and predictions of 2021:

Growing 5G security challenges

With high-speed internet and completely connected devices taking over the world, a lot of opportunities have been opened for cyber criminals. 5G brings more than just speed improvements to the table, it introduces new protocols, improved network architecture, and devices. Right from low latency improvements to network slicing, this technology is an untested area of networks, which makes it vulnerable to a lot of new security threats. This evolution of the internet with 5G networks will give cyber criminals the potential for many large scale disruptions while the technology matures and becomes more secure. User data is collected daily from various applications and connected services such as maps, home automation, health, and so on. With always-on 5G devices, all of this data needs to be protected against compromises, thefts, and alterations to ensure data privacy and security. Businesses operating overseas may have to re-engineer how they manage and process client data as with high-speed internet cyber criminals can transfer large volumes of data in a blink of an eye.

Deploying Deepfakes

Digitally manipulating faces and voices of online users to impersonate someone else using Machine learning/Artificial Intelligence-based software has been in headlines around the world recently. With rapid advancements in the last few years, identifying deepfakes (https://www.switchfast.com/blog/deepfakes-how-to-spot-2020s-top-cybersecurity-threat) has become more challenging. Recently, deepfakes have had widespread use by cyber criminals stealing from businesses and tricking individuals into paying ransoms. This YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPhUhypV27w) from Ctrl-Shift Face clearly depicts how this works for entertainment; however, cybercriminals use this for their wicked goals.

Pandemic phishing campaigns

Attackers have been making the most of the current crisis of COVID-19. They’ve been using it to lure victims into opening malicious attachments, emails, and phishing links. Palo Alto Networks states that Cyber criminals are not using this as a single attack or campaign but have continued to use this method as COVID-19 themes (https://unit42.paloaltonetworks.com/covid19-cyber-threats/?utm_source=google-search&utm_medium=paid-search&utm_term=%2Bcyber%20%2Bthreat&utm_campaign=&sfdcid=7014u000001Z6v9AAC&gclid=Cj0KCQiAtqL-BRC0ARIsAF4K3WGvN65YNY-aD3uCYnJMwTQXQDyFKSCLW1_fErOLyOLCwwQPm9FnPKsaAuIDEALw_wcB). Users end-up clicking these links in search of information around new cases and announcements of a new vaccine.

Botnet will continue to grow

Botnets have been among the favorite tools of cyber criminals where malware is coded into sophisticated bots to infect multiple systems. Emotet, a popular malware, has been evolved into a versatile botnet to exploit systems, gain unauthorized access, and collect sensitive information. According to Nozomi Networks, the first half of 2020 saw a rise in cyber threats especially from IoT botnets (https://www.nozominetworks.com/blog/what-it-needs-to-know-about-ot-io-security-threats-in-2020/). In 2021, botnet use will not only grow, but cyber criminals will develop and deploy far more complex ones as their underlying technology continues to develop.

FinTech attacks

For obvious reasons the financial sectors are one of the most threatened by cyber criminals. In spite of heavy investments by international banking organizations, more than 90% of global fintech startups are vulnerable to major cyberattacks. Mobile banking applications, digital payments, and personal finance has been one of the peak targets where attackers are placing their bets. Fintech attacks mainly comprise malware, phishing attacks, data breaches, cloud security, and application security. As per ImmuniWeb, 98% of the top global fintech startups are at risk of major cyberattacks, including phishing and application security. (https://www.immuniweb.com/blog/fintech-application-security.html).

Conclusion

Every day of every year there are cyber criminals evolving their skill sets to defraud businesses and collect sensitive data. The best way to keep your game strong is to proactively improve your cybersecurity posture to prevent threats, identify breaches faster, and minimize damages.

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