Research by cyber security professionals says that costs of cybercrime damage are expected to grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not helped with that number. Cybersecurity attacks have increased by 400 percent or even more since the pandemic started.

So, what can you do about it?

The best way to stay safe is to educate yourself on what cybersecurity threats are most relevant right now. Let’s talk about five security threats that you should be aware of in 2021 and tips on how to protect yourself against them.

Cloud-Based Threats

The cloud is a very helpful tool for individuals and more importantly, businesses. The migration to cloud computing, digitally transforming and leveraging online collaboration has dramatically increased since 2020. However, the cloud also makes exposure to important information extremely accessible.

Cloud app vulnerabilities, incomplete data deletion, misconfigurations in cloud storage and diminished visibility and control are a few of the common cloud service issues that increase cybersecurity risks.

Ransomware Attacks

Have you heard of the Dark Web? The Dark Web is accessible only by use of special software. It allows users to remain anonymous or untraceable. This is where ransomware kits can easily be found for dirt cheap. The fact that they are easily accessible makes it a bigger issue for companies.

One ransomware attack can quickly destroy small to midsize businesses. Operators of these attacks have calculated innovative ways to spread rapidly, dodge endpoint security protocols and launch successful attacks on targeted companies and individuals. It’s estimated that the cost of ransomware damages in 2021 will reach $20 billion by the end of the year.

Deepfakes

Unfortunately, this type of cybersecurity attack probably happens more than we think. Deepfakes are the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate an existing image or video of a person. Whatever the person may be doing in the video usually hasn’t actually happened. Many hackers have figured out how to do this out of malicious intent. An example of deepfakes includes committing fraud through the use of false identities.

IoT Devices

The use of IoT or Internet of Things devices is growing rapidly which could cause some serious threats. IoT’s are the physical objects embedded with sensors, software and other technologies. Its purpose is to connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet. Examples of IoT are smart homes, speakers, security systems or cameras.

The scare is that many of the IoT devices are very new, which makes it easier for cybercriminals to attack. On the other hand, this makes it difficult to develop cybersecurity strategies to keep up with ever-changing IoT devices.

Remote Worker Endpoint Security

2020 created more remote work situations than ever seen before, and thankfully, we’ve had the technology to make it possible. Some companies are even making this a permanent change. Sadly, this also means more opportunities for hackers.

Working remotely often means not having perimeter security which results in no cybersecurity defense. Through exploiting cloud-based services, improperly secured virtual private networks and unpatched remote computers, cybercriminals have quickly learned how to adapt to your work environment.

Tips to Keep Cybercriminals Away

Unfortunately, hackers and cybercriminals happen. Luckily, there are some things you can do:

  • Use a full-service internet security suite
  • Use strong passwords
  • Keep software updated on all devices
  • Strengthen your home network. If you’re working remotely, ask your company’s IT team for remote monitoring
  • Stay up to date with security breaches
  • Have a strategic plan in place if you or your company becomes the victim of a cybercriminal
  • If you’ve become a cybercriminal victim, notify the police and contact businesses where you know the fraud has occurred.

Be cautious and aware of cybercriminals. This issue is only growing and will occur more throughout 2021.