With so much going on with a global pandemic, political and economic uncertainty, environmental concerns, and more, it’s easy for consumers to forget what is happening in the tech arena.
With hackers, who target individuals and organizations, we must try to pay attention to what’s happening on the digital front.
To help yourself stay safer, stay up to date on the latest developments. Here are some key cybersecurity trends for this year that you should keep an eye on.
More Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware had been a big problem for individuals, companies and organizations in the last five + years. It’s a tactic that hackers use heavily. Since people started working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this strategy has grown.
Many workers had IT managers on-site to handle security with strict computer protocols in the workplace. At home, people don’t take such care when online. This leaves not only their personal data but also their organizations’ data more vulnerable.
As a result, employers are now looking to tighten up security protocols for remote staff members. They’re training people on how to stay alert and watch out for scams. Those working from home are paying more attention to the quality of their security products focusing on the comprehensive antivirus software that protects against all sorts of threats.
Free virus protection is no longer enough. Today, digital users require sophisticated security software that covers spam, spyware, ransomware and other types of malware that provides real-time threat alerts. Plus, people must be vigilant about using strong passwords, locking their gadgets (including modems) and being on the lookout for phishing attacks that often lead to ransomware situations.
Increasing Social Media Threats
With billions of people using social media sites now, hackers are drawn to these destinations. Cyber criminals continue to use their tactics to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram, where they’re not only targeting individuals but businesses as well.
Attacks on social media platforms tend to be rife because there’s often insufficient authentication and minimal verification (of accounts, events, and various information). Also, users publicly inform more about themselves, their companies, their habits, etc.
Then there’s the prevalence of over-the-top posts, which hackers take advantage of. Cybercriminals create their own clickbait content to get people to click on links. It seems they’re taking users to a site where they can read more about a so-called scandalous news piece, but the links are actually filled with malware or transfer people to fraudulent websites. This helps cyber criminals to get a better rate of success when they attack. Users must stay vigilant, while using these platforms and not fall for common hacker tricks.
More Attacks on Senior Staff Members within Companies
In recent times, there have been increasing numbers of cyberattacks on high-ranking staff members within companies, as hackers target these people as a means of breaking into organizational systems. Senior employees are more appealing as victims because more often they’re the ones who authorize payments and have access to top-level data.
Many of the attacks on C-suite staff and other key workers are ransomware. Hackers break into individual workstations, instead of company-wide tech infrastructure, so that they can lock out senior employees, threaten to release personal or business information, or otherwise embarrass or harass people into paying up.
This trend makes it more critical than ever for all workers to choose hard-to-crack passwords for their machines and accounts and follow other security protocols.
The Rise in AI-Based Attacks
As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes ever more sophisticated, it can both help and harm. While it has led to many excellent developments across multiple fields, now it’s also a prime tool for hackers. This is partly because businesses apply hyper-automation to so many processes to save time and money. These tools tend to use AI, machine learning, and robot-process automation and make systems more vulnerable.
Plus, hackers are using AI to help them break into systems and also run scams. They can train AI to spot patterns and find vulnerabilities and attack similar software and reduce the time taken to solve the mathematical problems, many encryption techniques rely on.
Cybercriminals increasingly use AI to generate “Deepfake” audio and videos. These creations are designed to look completely real and fool many people. Hackers use the Deepfake to scam victims by impersonating real people, distributing misinformation, and more.
In 2021 and beyond, we might also see cybercriminals put more effort into breaking into the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, smart vehicles, mobile devices and healthcare systems. From individuals to business owners, government workers, everyone must take every possible step to boost cybersecurity levels and protect data.