Cybercrime flourished in 2020, what does the landscape look like up ahead?

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This year has been great for cybercriminals thanks to an increased threat landscape with so many employees working from home.

But with the year starting to wrap up, what will the next 12 months look like from a cybersecurity perspective?

Check Point has released its predictions for what may be ahead in 2021 and to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the effects of COVID-19 will likely still be influencing security decisions.

The cyber security firm has outlined three areas where it predicts cybercrime will move in 2021. These are:

  • COVID-19 related developments
  • Malware, privacy and cyber war
  • 5G and IoT

Let’s unpack how each of these may end up affecting you.

COVID-19 related developments

As lockdowns pushed businesses to adopted a work from model, it became clear just how poorly some businesses were prepared.

Networks which may have been enclosed within an organisation are now distributed and secure access to cloud-based applications and data has never been more important.

Moving into 2021, business owners will have to focus on securing these distributed networks. To this end Check Point believes that automation may be employed by more organisations.

Cybercriminals will also continue exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on targeting pharmaceutical companies which are developing vaccines.

Attackers will also continue to disrupt remote learning over the course of the next year.

Malware, privacy and cyber war

The arsenal available to attackers has grown this year and will continue to grow.

Ransomware is still rather popular though it has taken on a new form. Double extortion ransomware has become popular since the beginning of this year. This trend sees attackers extracting data before encrypting it and then demanding a ransom to keep the data under wraps.

Deep fakes have now reached a point where we should be worried about how effective they are. The technology can be used to create fake videos and audio that sound believable. This means we’ll have to be cautious of where we get our news and where that news is sourced from.

Check Point is also concerned about botnets, particularly the Emotet botnet. But the nature of botnets is the concern here particularly as they can be used to launch massive attacks that may not be able to be stopped.

While the phrase “cyber-war” might seem extreme, threats from other nations are not to be ignored. In a Microsoft report earlier this year, the firm reported that Russia, Iran and China are the main sources of nation state attacks. To guard against these sorts of attacks proactive monitoring is required as are measures such as multi-factor authentication.

5G and IoT

As 5G becomes even more of a buzzword thanks to the technology finally beginning to roll out around the world, cybercriminals will take advantage of the uncertainty that new technology brings with it.

But worse still, the increased speed and lower latency will also enable cybercriminals to do more and target more people and the data they generate.

“This massive volume of data from always-on, 5G devices will need to be protected against breaches, theft and tampering to ensure privacy and security against attacks, especially as a lot of this data will bypass corporate networks and their security controls,” writes Check Point.

Added to that is that 5G will further enable the internet of things and this increases the threat surface that cybercriminals can exploit.

These are just some of the threats Check Point predicts business will face in 2021 but there is quite honestly no way of knowing exactly how cybercrime will evolve over the next year.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.

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