There isn’t a day to lose where cyber security is concerned.
A recent study estimates that next year, cyber-crime will cost businesses upwards of $6 trillion: a gargantuan figure that’s near-impossible to comprehend. That is until you look at the wave of different tools used by cybercriminals worldwide, who will do anything to scam an unsuspecting crowd.
Data hacks are now commonplace. Ransomware has taken the world by storm. And while cyber security services are doing their best to repel the threats, companies need to be aware of the latest risks to avoid becoming prey. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together the ten top cyber threats you’re most likely to see in 2021.
So get a coffee, get comfortable, and get reading: your cyber attack prevention strategizing starts now.
Cyber Security Threats To Look Out For In 2021
This list is not exhaustive. And merely being aware of the risks is not to say you don’t need to engage a cyber security company provider. But knowing your biggest threats is the best first line of defense, so here are the top ten to look out for over the next twelve months.
Deepfakes are images or sounds that look entirely real yet are nothing but fake. It could be a CEO announcing a scandal on the news; or a soundbite of a political leader suggesting they may go to war.
In truth, it could be anything because scammers can use AI to mimic both audio and visuals, making it hard for an audience to spot the fake. And as the tech improves, the prevalence of deepfakes will only grow — meaning businesses could quickly find themselves in the midst of a costly clean-up.
#2: Synthetic Identities
A synthetic identity blends genuine information with fabricated details to create the illusion of a real person who is, in fact, a fake. The cybercriminal can then use their made-up human to carry out all manner of identity fraud. And synthetic identities can use something as simple as a street address as the basis for a fake person.
Cyber-criminals then attach it to a fake social security number or birthday to complete the ruse — before trying to defraud a victim.
#3: Disinformation Attacks
Fake news (in technical terms, a disinformation attack) has become the scourge of many nations. It boils down to the deliberate spread of inaccurate information that discredits an individual or organization.
Social media has become the primary route to spreading fake news. And while it’s hard to moderate what appears across most platforms, you can use technology to monitor feeds for mentions of specific terms, enabling you to act if someone tries to tarnish your brand.
#4: AI-enabled Cyber Attacks
Artificial intelligence will help the world achieve many great things. Sadly, it will also help criminals enact a new generation of cybercrimes.
AI lets hackers build programs, like chatbots, that can mimic human behavior to a worrying degree of accuracy. When deployed on legitimate-looking websites or used in email campaigns, unwitting employees can quickly fall into the trap and give up personal or company information, putting a business at significant financial risk.
#5: AI-targeting Cyber Attacks
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s risk embedded in companies deploying artificially intelligent systems. Such programs first have to learn a new model or way of working, leaving them vulnerable.
Hackers can inject bad data into the system in what’s known as a ‘poisoning attack,’ which causes the artificial intelligence to pick up bad habits. Suppose your company is building a spam detector. A cyber-criminal could poison your training data, ultimately allowing spam into your network — without you ever knowing why.
#6: 5G-related Cyber Threats
The latest iPhones have brought 5G to millions of devices worldwide. For many, it’s an exciting moment promising quicker download speeds and unprecedented technical capabilities.
For those providing cyber security services, there’s anxiety. Risk experts feel the technology will spawn a new breed of cyber threat. Upwards of 80% of leaders worry about what’s in store, citing a lack of security in 5G hardware and firmware as their leading concern.
#7: Vehicle-targeting Cyber Attacks
The dawn of 5G will see a proliferation of smart devices bombarding homes, offices, and roads. And if your company has cars, vans, or trucks connected to the internet, you need to be on high alert.
Vehicle-based cyber attacks are sure to rise. The main concern is not only that hackers will be able to steal personal data. They’ll also be able to track the driver location and their route history. There’s even the risk of infiltrators taking over certain vehicle functions — or disabling safety features altogether.
#8: Ransomware Attacks On The Public Sector
Hackers invest vast sums in upgrading their systems and concocting ever-more-sophisticated cyber attacks. If only the rest of the world were so inclined.
Unfortunately, many businesses fail to focus on cyber attack prevention. And it’s often those in the public sector who lack the budget to invest. Criminals know this, which is why they target the outdated systems of government bodies, utility companies, and hospitals.
After all, ransomware has proven an effective way to reap havoc and secure a quick payoff.
There are many benefits to using cloud computing services. You just have to be mindful of the risks. Cloudjacking is where cybercriminals find a vulnerability in one of your cloud-based programs.
If they gain access, the hacker can steal, process, and store any of the data you keep in the cloud.
#10: Quantum Computing-related Attacks
Let’s end on a more speculative note.
Quantum computing is still very much in its infancy, but as it evolves, it is sure to play a role in cyber attacks. After all, quantum computers are high-speed and powerful machines. And if a state-sponsored hacker were to have access to one, even highly-encrypted systems could come under threat.
Whether that will happen in 2021: only time will tell.
If you’re on the lookout for a cyber security company, get in touch with Mid-coast Tech on 207-223-7594, and let’s chat about what you need.