Are you prepared for the rise of cyber attacks? As the year ticks on, the threats will continue to grow. COVID scams, phishing attacks, and breaches to important company data. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Data Privacy Day is on January, 28th and it brings to mind all the security issues that are hitting us personally and within companies. Prepare yourself, and your business, for the rise of cyber attacks in 2021.
Your Information Is At Risk
It’s simple – information remains at risk as cyber attacks rise in 2021. There are many access points that contribute to this: digital sign-ups or email links to “hot topics” like vaccinations, and continued remote business practices, just to name a few.
Cyber attackers are innovative, but lazy, nonetheless. Their goal is to make as much money as they can, in the quickest way possible. When they stumble upon roadblocks, they make modifications to ransomware instead of creating new ways to attack.
In other words, once you catch on and ignore sketchy links, attackers will make the links appear more legit. If you missed our last blog regarding cybersecurity for remote workers, you can catch up by reading it here.
Cybersecurity is vital for remote workers, but with so much of our lives being lived virtually, it can be difficult to spot the fakes. And with the majority of businesses exercising caution to keep employees remote, cybersecurity breaches need to be tackled head-on.
Ransomware and Phishing Scams
Ransomware and phishing scams remain the largest cybersecurity threat. According to Kroll, a corporate investigations and risk consulting firm, ransomware was the top threat in 2020.
[Source: Infosecurity Magazine]
This is the prediction from Government Technology: “Ransomware will get worse and worse — with new twists, data-stealing prior to encryption, malware packaging with other threats and very specific targeting of organizations.”
Phishing scams run the gamut from links you should not click on and information you should never give out. These scams are increasingly tough to spot, even for the savviest people. Forbes has a great article that lists the 5 Hot Scams of 2021. Keep it at the forefront of your mind as the year progresses.
It’s a sad world that attackers will prey on people through COVID-19 scams. But here we are. As the vaccine continues to be distributed, the cybercriminals are on top of it. Crafting emails with subject lines that look legitimate. Asking for your information so you can sign up to be notified of receiving your dose.
Above all else, if you don’t already know, do your research. Do not give out personal information or click on any of these links without looking into them. The FBI has warned the public of COVID-19 scams as well. You can read about that, as well as find the legit government websites here.
These are realistic in appearance. But they are the work of cybercriminals to “initiate attacks such as phishing campaigns or spreading malware” as reported by Dice. You can prepare yourself for the rise of cyber attacks like these by being overly cautious.
Weaponizing Deep Fakes
Yep, deep fakes are on the list too. They’re pretty scary, to be completely honest. If you’re not familiar, a deep fake is manipulated content with the intent to cause harm or illicit ransom of some sort. Brooke Sellas and Mark Schaefer discussed the impending rise of deep fakes on a recent episode of The Marketing Companion podcast.
With advancements in technology to create deep fakes, the creation of new laws begins to protect those who are targeted. Targets aren’t just celebrities, politicians, and large corporations. They are also everyday people who can stand to lose so much more. If you’d like to read more about deep fakes, and the laws emerging to protect victims, check out this article by CyberScoop.
It’s hard to prepare for a cyberattack of this sort. For instance, the example below is a deep fake video of Queen Elizabeth addressing the nation in a Christmas message:
Intellectual Property Is At Stake
Intellectual property becomes an increasing target for cybercriminals. Per Legal Zoom, “Intellectual property is an idea, asset, or other creation that you can think up. Inventions are a common example, but intellectual property also includes logo designs, company names, literary or artistic works, trade secrets, expert knowledge, and similar creations.”
[Image: Legal Zoom]
Remember that COVID-19 scam from above? Well, I’m sure you’ve also heard about the alleged Russian hackers who tried to gain access to top-secret vaccination research. That is a prime example of intellectual property at risk.
Summing up, intellectual property is a broad umbrella that covers anything that companies hold close and will pay to retrieve if stolen. I can’t tell you how to keep it secure, that’s not my specialty. But I can tell you that cybersecurity teams are vital now, more than ever.
Small Businesses Are Most At Risk
The reason small businesses are more at risk is that they have smaller budgets. It’s exponentially harder for small/medium businesses when it comes to cybersecurity/attacks because they can’t always budget for cyber teams to protect them.
The necessity to put company data in a cloud can leave holes open for cyberattackers to creep into. According to a recent article from Forbes, enterprise cybersecurity budgets will grow quickly for these industries: healthcare systems and services, banking and financial, technology and media telecom, and public and social sectors.
That’s great for these larger businesses, but what about the smaller/medium-sized? If possible, hire that cyber risk team for an assessment.
Protect Your Information Now
Don’t underestimate the need to protect your data from cybercriminals. It must be rethought as a preventative measure, not a triage response. Think of it like insurance needed for rainy day situations.
If the budget allows, hiring the proper cybersecurity team is a must. By protecting your business data now, you decrease the risk of experiencing a breach.
This isn’t to scare you. Actually, yes, it is. Let’s be honest, you should be scared that there are relentless attempts to infiltrate networks to generate money for cybercriminals. No one is safe. But you can arm yourself with knowledge and (if possible) a cybersecurity team to protect your data.
What is your biggest concern regarding cybersecurity in 2021? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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