The reality that the technological environment is continuously evolving is not a new phenomenon, but it has reached unprecedented levels in the previous year. The term “disruption” properly reflects the experiences of numerous businesses in the aftermath of COVID-19—no one may have foreseen its effect on companies, technology, as well as cybersecurity. Here, we’ll look at the new threat environment that has emerged as an outcome, as well as which cybersecurity developments offer the most danger in 2021 and beyond.
- Remote Work’s Impact: New Threats and Solutions
It’s no wonder that COVID-19, as well as the subsequent move to remote labor, had far-reaching consequences in the realm of cybersecurity. Unexpected cloud migrations and rapid acquisition of IT services and goods to fit a suddenly distant landscape were common occurrences for many. Many firms hurried traditional security procedures or even avoided them completely in order to keep company operations operating, generating unprecedented levels of risk and vulnerability across many sectors.
Not just that, but the realm of working remotely isn’t going away in the aftermath of the epidemic. Companies will need to examine their present security systems for weak points that were overlooked during the abrupt move to remote and begin planning a long-term remote security plan for the company.
- Ransomware Poses New Threats
Ransomware is among the most prevalent dangers to the data security of any company and will keep growing and adapt as a major cybersecurity theme in 2021. Ransomware assaults cause data theft as well as economic damage to companies owing to the price of recuperating from these assaults. Ransomware assaults were more costly than the usual security breach during 2020, costing an average of $4.44 million.
The complexity of the tactics used by crooks is also increasing. Extortion operations, in which thieves take a company’s information then encrypt it so the owners can’t even access it, are becoming more common. Following that, fraudsters will threaten to expose the company’s sensitive data unless a ransom has been paid. Given the confidential data at stake, and the economic effect of paying the ransom, the cost of this cyberthreat is substantial.
Although many IT agencies and businesses rely on VPNs to provide accessibility to their company network, VPNs will be insufficient in 2021 and beyond. Phishing is the most prevalent entrance vector for ransomware, and companies should be aware that these assaults are on the rise and take appropriate precautions. Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA) has developed as a more secured solution for managing remote access to critical data and lowering the risk of an attack. By 2023, 60 percent of enterprises will have abandoned VPNs in favor of ZTNA.
- Increased Frequency of Use of Multi-Factor Authentication
While passwords continue to be a smart practice for cybersecurity, increasing businesses will use multi-factor authentication (MFA) as extra protection against security breaches as well as malicious activities in 2021. MFA entails the use of two or more different factors in allowing users to access protected data, requiring them to utilize over one machine to authenticate their identity. An OTP given to two or more devices is an instance of MFA in operation.
While MFA is important for security, Microsoft has advised users to avoid phone-based MFA (where the OTP is given to their cellphone through SMS text) owing to the current state of telecommunications network security. SMS-based communications are not encrypted, thus attackers may read these simple text codes. This indicates that businesses should deploy more effective MFA techniques, such as app-based MFA such as Microsoft Authenticator or Google Authenticator.
- AI’s Continued Rise
AI and ML are becoming more sophisticated and capable, and businesses will continue to develop these innovations as elements of their system security in 2021. AI is rapidly being utilized to create computerized security measures that substitute human interaction, allowing for far quicker analysis of large amounts of risk data. This is advantageous for both large firms dealing with massive volumes of info and small or medium-sized businesses with under-resourced security staff.
While AI provides significant potential for organizations to improve their cybersecurity, the growth and growing usage of this technology have a two-way street. Criminal networks are using AI for automating their assaults, and they are employing model-stealing and data-poisoning tactics to do this. However, companies would be unwise to pass up the opportunity that AI provides—organizations who experienced a security breach but also had AI systems fully installed saved an estimated $3.58 million in 2020.
- Attacks on Cloud Services Have Increased
With the fast and broad acceptance of working remotely in the aftermath of COVID-19, the need for cloud-based infrastructure and services has skyrocketed. This tendency will only keep increasing as more organizations embrace cloud-hosted operations in 2021 and then beyond.
Whilst cloud services have several advantages such as efficiency, scalability, and cheaper costs, they remain a top target for hackers. Companies will have to evaluate the security aspects of the web and identify any weaknesses in their present infrastructure. Poorly configured cloud setups, for example, were a significant source of security breaches in 2020, costing an average of $4.41 million. Furthermore, moving to the cloud raised the cost of the attack by $267,469.