Cybercrime has been steadily on the rise throughout the 21st century, as more commerce and much more of our personal lives and information have migrated online. The opportunities for extortion, exploitation and digital theft are greater than they have ever been, and any business with a large portion of their operations online has every reason to be paranoid. Below are the biggest threats to company data in 2021.
A business' employees, whether through carelessness, ignorance, or some combination of the two, almost always constitute the biggest cyber threat. The work-from-home revolution brought on by the pandemic has increased this threat by orders of magnitude, as employees access company data and systems from unsecured connections, often without adequate antivirus and firewall measures in place, and from personal devices that may be shared with other household members.
Many SMEs do not have their data as well-fortified as it could be. Data Centers like TRG Datacenters provide businesses with secure, off-site data storage that offers an additional and robust layer of protection against data theft and misuse.
COVID-Related Phishing Attempts
As shameful as it sounds, a tremendous amount of COVID-related phishing has been taking place from the moment the world started to panic. Get ready for much more of it throughout 2021. These attacks often occur immediately following large press releases by major local and international health organizations, after the announcement of an uptick in new cases or quarantine measures, and any time a new treatment or vaccine is announced.
Businesses, and especially employees working from home, desperate for a return to normal, are vulnerable to these sorts of attacks which "phish" for things like passwords, insider information or attempt to get people to open malicious links.
Ransomware attacks related to pandemic news, events and fears have also been common over the last year and will continue to be so throughout 2021. Ransomware attacks work by stealing or encrypting data, or locking users out of their systems, and then demanding a ransom payment in exchange for access.
Cybercriminals know that businesses and individuals are both scared and fatigued enough by the pandemic to let their guard down, especially with respect to potentially good or bad news. Emails containing malicious but, to the untrained eye, innocent-looking links purporting to be important information or updates, which end up granting criminals access to company data and accounts, are sent out en masse every day.
Rushed Digital Transformation
The pandemic has seen digital transformation speed up dramatically, with businesses rolling out a litany of different software and programs designed to automate processes, make virtual collaboration more effective and compensate for reduced manpower. In the process, and likely in their haste, many companies have unwittingly opened up a variety of new data vulnerabilities.
Companies that have failed to properly integrate these systems and put the appropriate authentication, authorization and data protection measures in place are at an elevated risk of infiltration and extortion by cybercriminals.
Part of doing business online means accepting the fact that there are people out there who know more about the way the internet works than you do and who are looking to steal from you. Not having an online presence isn't an option, so businesses need to arm themselves with the information and software necessary to mitigate the above threats.