Cybersecurity firms have made predictions on the emerging cyber threats and trends for 2021 and beyond. With everything connected online, cybersecurity has never been more critical and it's important to be prepared for potential threats.
We read stories of banks, retailers, phone companies, and others complaining of data breaches and loss of data. However, companies are focusing to develop advanced security solutions to protect themselves from cyber threats. Organizations like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are adept at updating the software on tablets, phones, servers, computers, and other devices.
The broadest cyberattack is called Malware. It can be any software designed to corrupt a computer. Every time malware enters a computer system, it performs various malicious activities like:
Malware is usually distributed through physical hardware drives, internet downloads, or USB external disks. Viruses, worms, spyware, and Trojan horses are common malware.
The name indicates ransomware is a way in which a hacker locks the information and returns it only on payment of ransom. Typically, it requires the owner of the data to make a payment to unlock the system and files.
Ransomware moves around through phishing emails and infected websites. It is very difficult to recover the data lost to ransomware. Although some victims pay the ordered ransom, there is no guarantee that the hackers will give back access to the data.
Phishing is the most common method of cyber threats that need maximum security. It is a part of social engineering attack. Phishing happens when a hacker uses a false identity to trick someone into getting sensitive information.
We need cybersecurity in place to control the aftermath of phishing. It is widespread due to the extensive use of social media platforms, emails, text messages, and other forms of electronic communication.
It is highly vital to understand the importance of security and data for small firms. Even if you can outsource IT infrastructures, you need to be aware of the technology threats to stay safe.
Smishing (SMS based Phishing) - a top cybersecurity threat
SMS-based Phishing may seem to fall under the similar category of Phishing, but there are a bunch of key differences. General phishing happens over emails and browsers while smishing happens over the text messaging feature of your smartphone.
The hacker/ attacker pings a message to the victim’s phone. While opening the message it causes no harm, but clicking the link that is part of the message is dangerous. The attack starts after clicking the link only.
Why have the attackers moved towards smishing from traditional phishing? Email programs like Outlook and Gmail have smart detectors in place that tag phishing emails as spam. Hence, they have turned towards SMS-based attacks.
They have one goal similar to phishing. Their main intention is to make the victim open the attached PDF. It usually involves an email that sends across an update for the security of your system.
When the victim clicks the attachment, he is exposed to malware or ransomware. Currently, people are conscious about clicking a link. However, they would not mind opening a PDF assuming it to be a bank statement or a press release.
PDF scams need efficient cybersecurity because professionals assume it is work-related. Hence, they are more likely to open a PDF.
Database exposure works the same way it sounds. A security breach leads to database information exposure to cyber threats and hackers. It occurs in multiple ways. Few hackers prefer using social engineering methods to gain passwords, while others use malware to get the required information.
The worst part about database exposure is that most companies store sensitive data like:
This is a significant threat to cybersecurity as it acts as the fuel for social engineering crimes.
Credential Stuffing steals user access through login credentials. It works easy for hackers when the same login credentials are used for different and multiple accounts and sites. Credential Stuffing seems to be a significant threat to cybersecurity in 2021.
Firstly, do not share passwords with anyone. Secondly, share passwords verbally and not through electronic media for shared accounts. Thirdly, use different passwords for every account you create. Finally, try to be vigilant about accidental sharing of passwords.
Most of us have experienced it firsthand. We may “Reply All” accidentally instead of sharing the response with one single person. However, the entire firm may have access to certain sensitive information through accidental sharing.
Information is generally leaked or shared accidentally by mistake. This type of cyber threat is due to human errors and does not require any security from malware or ransomware.
Accidental sharing may or may not include personal or business data. It can occur via:
How to prevent accidental sharing? Firstly, control the number of employees having access to all the data. The more the number of people with access to data, the higher are the chances of human error. Secondly, use an activity monitor to track user activities. Finally, stay prepared to avoid sharing information accidentally.
Cybersecurity has never been more important than now that everything is connected via the internet. It is vital to have hardware/software updates regularly when you have IT services.
It is also important to understand that hackers focus on human behavior to carry out attacks. However, there is always help available for businesses and small firms.