Cybersecurity challenges get more significant every year. Cyber protection software evolves continuously, but hacking means and efforts seem to be one step ahead.
Moreover, 2020 brought a global pandemic, resulting in a significant rise in cybercrime. A mass crisis is an ideal environment for sophisticated hacker attacks, one where nothing is off-limits, and everyone could be a victim.
The most concerning aspect of COVID-19-related cyber threats are attacks on hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Additionally, ransomware attacks stalled the education sector – high schools and universities were, and still are, a major target for cyber attacks.
Most companies were forced into a remote working model, exchanging office networks for home Wi-Fi and personal devices. Such an approach means wider networks and more potential exploitable entry points for attackers.
Cyber Attacks During the Pandemic
The volume of unsecured remote desktop machines rose by over 40% in the past year and COVID-19-related email scams surged 667% in March 2020 alone.
- Statistics from March and April 2020 show a 400% increase in RDP brute-force attacks
- Over 500,000 Zoom accounts have been sold on the Dark Web
- COVID-19 catalysed a 72%-105% spike in ransomware attacks
According to Interpol reports, the main cyberattacks in recent times have included:
Phishing and Online Scams
Threat actors implement COVID-19 themed phishing emails by impersonating health and government authorities. By doing so, they aim to entice victims into providing personal, financial, and healthcare data by downloading malicious content.
Around 66% of surveyed countries reported a mass use of COVID-19 themes for online fraud and phishing since the outbreak.
Data Harvesting Malware
Remote Access Trojans, spyware, info stealers, and baking Trojans are on the rise. Hackers usually use COVID-19 related information to lure users, infiltrate corporate and personal networks, compromise data, engage in cyber espionage, build botnets, and divert money.
Ransomware and DDoS
Disruptive malware can be devastating to crucial infrastructure and healthcare institutions amidst a pandemic. The high impact and financial benefit potential drive cybercriminals to compromise and extort data from Front-Lines institutions and organizations for accurately calculated amounts.
COVID-19 provokes higher demand for medical supplies and information. Due to that, we have seen a significant surge in domain names containing keywords related to the pandemic. (“coronavirus”, “COVID”)
Most malicious websites carry an array of embedded malicious activities – malware deployment, C2 servers, phishing, and more.
Misinformation and Fake News
Information thirst rises in a state of global shock and uncertainty. Attackers use the opportunity to spread unverified information, misunderstood threats, and conspiracy theories to raise anxiety and ease cyberattacks’ execution.
Almost a third of countries participating in Interpol’s global cybercrime survey confirmed the circulation of COVID-19-related fake news and false information. Additionally, misinformation efforts include illegal trade of fraudulent medical supplies and “too-good-to-be-true” text message scams. (free food, supermarket discounts, special benefits)
Cybersecurity Trends to Look for in 2022
Detect and Protect – Prevention and protection are merely not enough. Evolving cyber threats require more advanced countermeasures.
In 2022, we expect to see technical cyber protection as the top priority, emphasizing cyber threats’ detection as the primary goal. It is likely for companies to rely on Cloud Security Information and Event Management (SIEM). A combination of human-guided threat “hunting” and machine learning-powered tools to uncover attackers before they compromise any sensitive data.
The process would benefit from Security Orchestration, Automation, and Response (SOAR) software. It enables enterprises to collect security threats data and automate low-level attacks response.
Moreover, we suggest User Event Behaviour Analytics (UEBA) will aid in modelling and learning user behaviour on corporate networks to spot the signs of a potential cyberattack.
IoT and 5G – A Double-Edged Sword
Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G are convenient for business measuring and monitoring processes. However, the more connected a system, the higher the chance of successful infiltration.
Organizations would need to address IoT adequately, study 5G security issues, segregate connected devices properly, and fortify high-speed data transfers, so no information is exposed to malicious attempts.
Cloud Is King
Cybersecurity-as-a-Service companies are gradually surpassing hardware-centric ones in use and efficiency.
Regular data backups to a cloud with multi-layered protection seem to be the solution for most businesses in 2022. Having your company’s sensitive data outside of your primary network enables easy recovery and all-around protection in real-time.
All for Security, Security for All
We talked about segregating traditional devices from IoT and 5G-powered ones. Nonetheless, individual security solutions aren’t cutting it anymore.
Businesses should rely on a unified platform to enact proactive protection for all devices, apps, users, and systems within their networks.
Backing up can take a lot of time, so that’s why Auto backup became so big during 2022. People should consider this option to ensure the safety of their data at all times.
Ransomware Awareness Is Key
Ransomware is the leader in cybercrimes in 2020, related to 71% of breaches throughout the year.
The most optimal way to protect your company’s data is to educate your employees on treating emails, files, and links, sent from unverified sources. A single user opening a malicious attachment is enough to compromise your entire network. It takes everyone’s awareness to keep that from happening.
Cybersecurity trends in 2022 would still revolve around COVID-19-themed malicious threats.
Ransomware, spyware, false information, and data breaches aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Luckily, there are robust measures to counter such attacks and protect your business’ and home networks.
Cloud-based protection, a unified security platform, and threat awareness will remain the pillars of your company’s wellbeing.
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