Cybersecurity threat predictions for 2021

January 27th, 2021
Cybersecurity threat predictions for 2021

No one likes to go gloom and doom at the start of the year, but just like us law-abiding business owners in Florida, cybercriminals began 2021 with hope, too. Obviously, what they wish to achieve is detrimental to us, so we have to keep our defenses up all the time.

This is why it’s always a good idea to check the IT landscape for emerging cybersecurity threats. Here are some of the things that we at HERO Managed Services believe businesses must watch out for in 2021.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will be used for committing cybercrime

AI has become a field for defenders and attackers to engage in an arms race. On the good guys’ side, AI has been implemented to recognize suspicious behaviors and thereby thwart threat actors in their tracks. However, the bad guys are now using machine learning to learn what constitutes “normal” user behavior so that their malicious bots can mimic these and virtually hide in plain sight.

5G will enable swarm-based attacks

While we often think of cybercriminals as lone actors, many of them have actually organized into gangs to shore up IT resources for launching larger-scale attacks. They use machines with immense processing power and are now developing ways to take advantage of the proliferation of 5G-enabled devices.

Mass-produced devices often come with default access credentials that many users don’t bother to change. Therefore, all of these are vulnerable to being taken over by hackers and used to launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. And with 5G offering unparalleled data transfer speeds and negligible network latency, hackers can make their campaigns even more sophisticated.

That is, they can attack a network from multiple locations, with all machine learning-powered vectors sharing intelligence on their target’s vulnerabilities. More perniciously, the attack bots can learn how the network defends itself and thereafter shift their methods to make their assault more effective.

Smart devices will be used for social engineering attacks

Plenty of homes and offices now use smart Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as smart refrigerators, thermostats, motion detectors, and security cameras. Initially, cybercriminals targeted these to hijack appliances or disable security systems, but now, hackers are after something meatier: information pertaining to their victims.

Our machines gather intimate information about us, such as our daily routines, personal lighting and temperature preferences, and purchase and/or payment histories. These can be collated to form eerily accurate profiles that can then be used for social engineering-based campaigns.

Trojans will use remote workers’ setups as launching pads

Thanks to the pandemic, companies were forced to quickly adopt work from home policies. Enabling staff to fulfill work-related tasks was prioritized over securing connections between remote workers and the company network. Many companies are playing catch-up when it comes to cybersecurity in the hopes of staving off opportunistic hackers.

However, cybercriminals have begun to take advantage of lax security by infecting home networks with Trojans. Then, when home-based staff connect to the company network, the malware can infiltrate it. Advanced Trojans can even factor in usage patterns so that they can evade detection better and steal valuable data. To illustrate, edge access Trojans (EATs) can intercept voice requests or commands off the local network, which the EAT users can then utilize to compromise or usurp control over systems.

Organizations will increasingly require outside help

Advancements like 5G and edge computing are poised to become our tech standard by this year, if not the next. This means that digital connections — user to user, user to machine, and machine to machine — will proliferate more than ever before, and bad actors will be spoilt for choice on what to attack next.

This means that businesses, cybersecurity providers, cyberthreat research firms, and law enforcement will all have to work together to ensure that cybercrime is suppressed and cybercriminals are put to justice. Cooperation must also extend across borders since threat actors act like these lines don’t exist anyway.

Protect your business against old and new cyberthreats by turning to HERO Managed Services. To discover how our cybersecurity expertise will grant you peace of mind, drop us a line today.


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