Top 4 Cybersecurity Threats to Look out for in 2021

The pandemic proved that the bad guys never stop. With the rapid rise of remote working, individuals and organisations are now more vulnerable than ever before to cyberattacks.

In Australia, the health sector reported the most security incidents (22%) during the first half of 2020. Healthcare was followed by the finance sector (15%), education (8%), and insurance (7%). Legal, accounting, and management services (5%) also experienced malicious attacks last year.

Going forward, we can expect an increase in ransomware attacks. As many businesses continue to pay threat actors, it’s turned into a lucrative business. While this may seem like a good idea when you’re in the middle of a security event, it not. There’s no guarantee that they won’t sell the stolen data on the dark web or continue to blackmail your company.

So, what else can we expect to see over the next 12 months? Let’s take a look at the top four cybersecurity threats to look out for in 2021.

1. The Relentless Assault on Remote Workers

As humans remain the weakest link, cybercriminals will continue to target and exploit user behaviours. We already saw how remote workers were targeted last year, and the current surge will continue.

In this scenario, it’s vital to ensure that your staff are aware of cybersecurity best practices. So, make IT security a priority across your organisation. Even if staff are trained and alert, remind them regularly through training workshops online and offline.

If you don’t have the necessary resources to secure your IT infrastructure properly, it’ll be a good idea to engage a managed services provider that provides security and IT support.

2. The Rise of Insider Threats

While your (trained) staff maybe alert to phishing schemes and other social engineering attacks, there’s still a risk of accidental breaches caused by mistakes like misconfigurations.

With more people working remotely and with sensitive data potentially exposed to others at home (or at cafes and co-working spaces), the security risk is now higher than ever before. What’s more, they don’t have IT support professionals around them to answer questions whenever there’s a doubt.

Then there’s also the risk of having a malicious insider that takes advantage of the present situation to engage in nefarious acts. This makes it vital to implement robust access control (including identity and authentication management) across the organisation.

3. An Increase in Fileless Attacks

Expect to see more of the subset of the living off the land (LotL) attacks (or fileless attacks). In this scenario, threat actors exploit tools already present in enterprise environments that don’t generate file-based payloads or generate new files. This creates the risk of these threats going unnoticed.

The typical attack starts with an email that links to a malicious website, but this isn’t always the case. When such sites launch system tools (like PowerShell), built-in security algorithms often miss them, making it a significant challenge for security teams.

However, this is nothing new. Leveraging system tools to create backdoors have been around for decades. However, fileless attacks are widespread again because they reduce malware development cycles. As a result, businesses of all sizes are now a live target for fileless attacks.

To mitigate risk, it’ll help to move your on-premise systems to the cloud, where a managed services provider can support you with cutting-edge security tools, security experts, and extensive real-time monitoring.

4. An Explosion of Business Process Compromises

Whenever bad actors fail to exploit systems and tools, they look for vulnerabilities in the process flow of enterprise operations. In this scenario, cybercriminals seek out systemic operational weaknesses for financial gain.

Those who successfully breach businesses in this manner boast considerable knowledge about the inner workings of the victims’ operations and enterprise systems. They often penetrate the IT infrastructure and gradually observe business processes to identify potential weaknesses.

These attacks often go unnoticed as the compromised systems continue to work as expected. Companies only become alert to it when it’s too late (for example, when bank account information on invoices are changed and funds are siphoned out).

Again, you can mitigate risk by making security a priority and by following best practices. But it’s not always easy to maintain a robust security posture when considering all the different variables like remote working. Since IT support isn’t available at home, make it available remotely while they work in real-time, 24/7.

When was the last time you performed a security audit? If it’s been a while, the time is now. Reach out and schedule a commitment-free consultation with one of our in-house security experts.