Today, every business is a tech company.
From collecting and analyzing customer data to hopping on, oh no, not another Zoom meeting–technology plays a massive role in how you run your business, stay relevant, and support efficiencies within your operations.
However, keeping up with the demands of technology is challenging, especially for most small to midsize businesses. Technology is constantly changing and with each evolution comes a handful of dangerous cyber threats your business must be prepared for.
But much like fashion trends, cybersecurity’s greatest concerns can change from season to season, making it hard to keep up with and understand what threats your business needs to be aware of.
That’s why we are cutting through the noise and sharing 7 HOT (and cold) cybersecurity trends that need your attention this year.
1. Hot: Phishing
Phishing attacks, while not necessarily “new” on the scene in cybersecurity, have become a much more constant and significant threat to your business than just an occasional suspicious email in your inbox.
Phishing has evolved and cyber criminals are creating highly sophisticated attacks that are deployed through several channels including ads, pop-ups, social media posts, emails, instant messages, browser extensions, and other downloads.
Phishing attacks impersonate trusted sources, making it harder to detect legitimate content from malicious cyber threats. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, phishing was the most prominent cyber threat in the United States during 2020 with 241,342 victims.
When one wrong click can alter the future of your business, it’s that much more important to train your employees on how to recognize a phishing attempt and simulated phishing attacks make a big difference.
2. Hot: Ransomware
Ransomware is a HOT trend that keeps getting hotter each year. In a recent report that surveyed 1,225 information technology and cybersecurity leaders, 61% indicated they had been impacted by ransomware in 2020. Another research study found that ransomware increased by 435% between 2019 and 2020.
The sudden increase of ransomware attacks is largely due to many businesses expanding their digital presence after the events of COVID-19 accelerated the process. Hackers are well aware of the shift and have taken advantage of the lack of security in remote work environments. As small to midsize businesses adjust to the growing pains caused by this shift, cybersecurity must remain top of mind to secure company and customer data.
3. Cold: Antivirus
If you think your business is doing cybersecurity the right way because you are using an antivirus solution, think again.
There was a time when businesses could rely on their antivirus solution to catch the bugs, malware, and viruses that tried to enter their systems. But now, cyber attacks have become so much more sophisticated that cybersecurity experts no longer see antivirus solutions substantial enough to defend your network alone.
2020 also brought an abrupt shift to remote work situations for many businesses. In response, several employees started doing business on their home computers and devices which may have already been infected by malware that their personal antivirus or anti-malware solution didn’t catch.
In order to face today’s threats, a multi-layered cybersecurity approach is non-negotiable.
Cybersecurity expert and CrowdStrike’s senior VP Adam Meyers confirmed that in order for businesses to stay secure they must “have a next-gen solution” because “Antivirus is dead.”
4. Hot: The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) vaguely refers to any device or technology that is readable, discoverable, or controllable via the internet. Examples include cars, wearable technology, home appliances, and healthcare devices. This widely accepted technology is embedded in our daily lives, blending together both the physical and digital world.
As of today, there are a staggering 35 billion connected IoT devices, averaging 10 IoT devices per household. This number is expected to climb as nearly 127 new devices are connected to the internet every second as reported by The McKinsey Global Institute. And while IoT devices grant a level of convenience that can’t be found elsewhere, it has concerning cybersecurity risks.
IoT devices complicate digital environments due to a combination of factors including they are non-standardized, often lack substantial built-in security, and have just enough inherent functionality.
Simply put, they are an easy target for hackers. The more IoT endpoints connected to a network, the larger the attack surface becomes for cyber criminals to find access through.
If your business utilizes IoT technology, be sure to use endpoint detection and response (EDR) cybersecurity to protect your environment. EDR tools proactively monitor all endpoints, detect and alert you of potential threats, and respond when appropriate.
5. Hot: Credential Stuffing
Credential stuffing is when a cyber criminal uses a list of stolen credentials, in an automated attack, to log in to several websites. This cyber attack relies heavily on the assumption that many people still use the same username and password across many sites (a BIG cybersecurity no-no). If this is the case, one password can give a hacker “the keys to the kingdom” and access to any personal data stored online.
Cyber criminals use automation tools in this attack, making it easier than ever to conduct. So even if only a handful of the credentials on a lengthy list are a positive match, it’s still worth their effort.
The best way to combat this chronic cyber threat is by maintaining password best practices. Regularly change your passwords across all accounts and make sure they are unique and complex for each site.
6. Cold: Blockchain Security
In simplest terms, blockchain is a computer file for storing data and blockchain security is a comprehensive risk management system for a blockchain network that uses cybersecurity frameworks and best practices to reduce the risks against attacks.
And while blockchain and bitcoin are not the same thing, interest in blockchain security technology follows the rise and fall in bitcoin’s price. This became apparent when bitcoin plunged by 30% in 2021, and investments in blockchain technology halted just as fast.
Luckily enough, the drop in bitcoin price also motivated a decrease in crypto mining attacks. (This is when a cyber criminal hijacks their victim's computer and forces them to mine bitcoins for the hacker’s gain.)
It’s important to note that while blockchain poses a small threat now, it may become a greater issue as more businesses implement it into their operations. In fact, IT management company Gartner stated, “blockchain, which is already appearing in experimental and small-scope projects, will be fully scalable by 2023.” So, we can safely assume that this “cold trend” may heat up in the coming years.
7. Hot: Multi-Factor Authentication
Passwords alone are no longer efficient to protect your identity or sensitive data online.
Multi-factor authentication (2FA) works to combat this problem by requiring users to confirm their identity through two trusted devices before accessing a personal account.
Enabling 2FA to secure accounts with sensitive data is like living in a gated community. The extra layer of defense keeps most hackers outside of your digital environment. However, if a few hackers were able to slip through the gates, they would still need “the right key” or device to grant them authorized access to your account.
8. Real Hot: Cyber Liability Insurance (Bonus HOT Trend)
Remember that while staying on top of today’s cybersecurity trends is useful, there’s no real way to predict what's coming in the future. In the meantime, following cybersecurity closely and investing in a safety net for your business in the form of Cyber Liability Insurance is the most proactive way to secure your business.
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