Cybercriminals and hackers have not vanished from the screen and are still managing to wreak havoc in cyberspace day by day. The Federal Criminal Police Office’s study demonstrates the rate at which cybercrime is continuously growing. In 2020 alone, more than 100,000 cybercrime offences were registered. This represents a 15% rise from the previous year.
According to a new survey done by cybersecurity professionals, ransomware remains the biggest danger in 2021. But, what is Ransomware? It is a type of malware that uses encryption to render data inaccessible to the user that has been targeted by the malicious hacker. This is mainly used by cybercriminals to blackmail their victims and steal all of their data so then in order to retrieve them they have to pay a certain amount of money.
Organized criminal organizations are seen as the most dangerous major player in this setting as it is believed that now this kind of malicious threat is seen lurking around in a more ‘institutionalized’ manner. They primarily distribute stem software through customized spam emails and download links on various websites around the internet. Now, let’s see what threats do businesses brace for this year?
There is a Risk of Multiple Data Breaches
Due to the pandemic, the move to working from home has proved a challenge for employers and businesses. Many employees had to use their own laptops with no initial remote desktop solution to ensure a secure connection to their company, and could therefore have been left vulnerable to sophisticated cyberattacks. It remains to be seen whether any data was destroyed as a result of this move of working from home. Companies should now focus their efforts on data security and protection by addressing existing vulnerabilities. This involves staff training and awareness on the subject of cyber risk, as well as preparing them for these kinds of attacks. Additionally, antivirus software should be kept up to date.
There Could be More Threats Against Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
The number of cyberattacks is expected to increase even more in the coming years. Nevertheless, by 2021, it is expected that SMEs, in particular, will be constantly targeted by cybercriminals. Many businesses believe and still continue to feel that they are not potential targets for such attacks. As a result, they don’t take adequate precautions for their security and privacy, making them a perfect entry point for cybercriminals and the likes.
A Virus Almost Never Appears on its Own
A virus could easily start a chain reaction if it somehow enters your device. If installed, malware will restart viruses, which then infect other programs and this trend continues. This, once again, is a theme that is certainly expected to be seen in 2021.
The positive news is that even though the number of malicious attacks is increasingly getting higher, the number of organizations and programs that deal with such threats by advising businesses on prevention steps and measures is growing rapidly as well. So this means that we certainly have a fighting chance.
If applied to small, medium-sized, or large businesses, whether IT is reliably defended and protected based on existing information, cybercriminals would start to find it even more difficult to carry out successful attacks.
Infamous Cyber-Attacks that Happened in 2021
1. Cyberattack on Acer
Acer, one of the world’s most recognizable tech companies, was a victim of a ransomware attack and was demanded to pay a ransom of $50 million, setting the record for the highest recorded ransom to date. The assault is thought to have been carried out by a cyber-crime organization known as REvil. The malicious attackers have revealed the hack on their website and published photographs of the stolen data.
2. Harris Federation
The Harris Federation, headquartered in London, was hit by a ransomware attack in March 2021, forcing it to “temporarily” disable the computers and email networks of all 50 secondary and primary academies it operates. It caused major trouble as over 37,000 students were unable to view their coursework and correspondence as a result of this attack.
3. Channel Nine
On March 28, 2021, the Australian broadcaster Channel Nine was targeted by a cyber-attack, which in turn prevented the channel from airing its Sunday news and many other programs. Due to the lack of internet connections at the network’s Sydney headquarters, the attack also caused major disruption of activities at the network’s publishing company, as some of the publishing resources were also rendered unavailable. While the channel initially reported that the outage was caused by “technical problems,” later it acknowledged that it was indeed a cyber-attack.
4. The Water System in Florida
The cybercriminal gained access to Oldsmar’s computer and tried to poison the Florida water system. Unfortunately, the criminal succeeded in doing so by raising the amount of sodium hydroxide to a highly harmful extent by temporarily boosting the volume of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. This was among the first cases where a cyberattack, besides system breaches, also directly posed a risk to human life.
5. CNA Financial Services
CNA Financial, one of the largest cyber insurance companies in the United States, was hit by a ransomware attack on March 21, 2021. CNA consumers and employee systems were interrupted for three days as a result of the malware attack, forcing the company to step down in order to be able to avoid further damages. A new variant of the Phoenix CryptoLocker malware, which is a form of ransomware, was used by the attackers who carried out this cybercrime.
6. The Bombardier plane manufacturing company
In February 2021, Bombardier, which is a well-known Canadian plane designer, was hit by a cyber-attack, which in turn caused the company to experience a data leak. The hack risked the sensitive details of vendors, consumers, and about 130 Costa Rican employees. An unauthorized cybercriminal was able to gain access to the data, according to the investigation, by targeting a vulnerability in a third-party file-transfer program. In addition to compromising the data, the sensitive information was leaked on the Clop ransomware gang’s website.
7.Oxford University Covid-19 Lab break
After Forbes revealed that hackers were able to gain access to a variety of networks, Oxford University announced shortly that it had discovered and identified an occurrence at the Department of Structural Biology (known as “Strubi”). These included devices used to process biochemical tests, but the university said that at the time they were not able to further expand on the scope of the violation.
The University approached the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), a division of the British intelligence department GCHQ, which is now investigating the attack. This attack would aggravate things even further since this laboratory hack could end up exposing research data, including research on the novel coronavirus, to potential theft. It would also present the risk of sabotaged experiments. if hackers gain access to processes such as the modification of liquid flow or other facets of purification technology, making the attack one of the most dangerous ones when it comes to the ongoing pandemic.
How Can We Protect Our Data?
Cybercrimes are becoming more common, posing a threat to corporate networks and data. According to the motto “everything is hackable,” cybercriminals are able to spectacularly infiltrate and put corporate and political social media sites at risk of breaching. The corona outbreak has already hastened the digitization process of nearly every economic sector. It’s safe to say that highly complex problems await cybersecurity and IT security personnel as a result of these constant security and privacy threats.
Organizations are now moving forward on the matter by demonstrating how critical cybersecurity is for businesses. IT security has long been a subject of discussion among the most notable levels of the industry, not just because IT security offers a strong competitive edge in digital technology but it also makes it possible to provide hope and prosperity to clients.
Therefore, with security in mind, there are many things that we can do in order to protect ourselves from potential cyber-attacks such as relying on one of the most commonly used solutions for preventing cyber threats, which is antivirus software.
All digital systems deal with processing sensitive data and material. This means that all of your personal information such as your bank account number, customer information, business plans, and employee information are at risk. It is of crucial importance to implement cybersecurity policies to secure this sensitive data.
Security experts and internet protection officials recommend encrypting all of your files to ensure that your privacy remains discrete. You can use private messaging apps such as Fortknoxster, which uses end-to-end encryption to protect all of your private data while at the same time maintaining a high level of efficiency. Blockchain technology may also be used to safely record and encrypt any interaction that occurs inside the private systems, among other preventative measures.