It has been almost a year since the new coronavirus pandemic began —which has reversed the way we live, work and communicate— and therefore in 2021 we are likely to see an increase in some cybersecurity threats.
According to ESET’s latest report on Cybersecurity Trends in 2021, these are the four main challenges expected to affect consumers and businesses in 2021:
Trend #1: The future of work: acceptance of the new reality
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the mass adoption of the remote work model, creating greater dependence on technology. The removal from office brought benefits for employees, but left the networks of companies vulnerable to attacks.
Jake Moore, Security Specialist at ESET, commented:
“We have all learned that remote work can benefit companies. However, I don’t think we will continue to work remotely five days a week. Most employees around the world will naturally and effortlessly switch to what works for them and their businesses. As work and daily life become increasingly digitized, cybersecurity will remain the core of business security. Cyber-attacks are a constant threat to organizations, and companies need to set up special teams and IT systems to avoid the financial and reputational consequences of such an attack.”
Trend #2: Security gaps in smart “sex toys”
In the last year, due to the pandemic and the social distance measures associated with COVID-19, there has been a rapid growth in sales of “sex toys”. But ESET research has shown that we are far from being able to use new smart “sex toys” without exposing ourselves to the risk of a cyber attack.
Cecilia Pastorino, Security Researcher at ESET, commented:
“The era of smart “sex toys” is only just beginning. The latest developments in the industry include models with virtual reality (VR) capabilities and AI-based sex robots that include cameras, microphones and voice analysis capabilities based on artificial intelligence. As has been demonstrated time and time again, secure information and public awareness will be the key to ensuring the protection of sensitive data, while empowering users to become smart consumers who are able to demand better practices from suppliers in order to maintain control over their personal moments in the years to come.”
Trend #3: “Ransomware” with a small difference: pay, or your data will leak
With “ransomware” attacks, criminals seek to blackmail victims into forcing them to pay ransoms; stealing the victim’s data and then blackmailing them may not be new techniques, but they are certainly showing a growing trend.
Tony Anscombe, Chief Security Evangelist at ESET, commented:
“Companies are getting smarter, developing technologies that prevent attacks and implementing backup and recovery processes, so cybercriminals now need a ‘Plan B’ to increase their chances of success. Thus, now the response to attacks or backup procedures may not be enough to prevent a determined cybercriminal demanding the payment of ransoms. By changing the attack technique, cybercriminals also increase their chances of success. Unfortunately, I am sure we will see an increase in this trend in 2021.”
Trend #4: Preventing is no longer enough; the quicksand of new cyber-attacks
In recent years, groups of cyber criminals have turned to the use of increasingly complex techniques. Not long ago, the community of security experts began talking about “fileless malware” attacks. These are attacks that activate the tools and processes of the operating system and exploit them for malicious purposes. Recently, these techniques have been used in various cyber espionage campaigns and by various malicious criminals, mainly in high-level target attacks, such as government agencies.
Camilo Gutiérrez Amaya, Senior Security Researcher at ESET, noted:
“Fileless threats are evolving rapidly and it is expected that in 2021 these methods will be used in increasingly complex and larger attacks. This means that the security teams of organizations and businesses should develop processes for exploiting tools and technologies that not only prevent malicious code from compromising computer systems, but also have detection and response capabilities; even before these attacks fulfil their mission.”
For more information on trends that will affect the world in 2021, you can read the full report in ESET’s Cybersecurity Trends 2021.
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