The regularity of cyber attacks and cyber threats in the internet world that we’re in means that no one is left out; it is a common perception in any industry that cyber attack is a matter of when it will happen and not if it will happen.
As many organizations still feel the massive impact of COVID-19 and the sudden change in the operation model, this could cause problems on this front too. Many companies were forced to adopt a remote working model for their workers due to the pandemic. It is unlikely that these remote workers access the internet with a VPN. This means that these companies have people working from home, accessing the collaborative tools, cloud systems, and the internet from public networks.
This presents a significant security risk to the company. Cybercriminals know this fact and are likely to capitalize on it. This brings us to some of the emerging cyber threats to watch out for in 2021.
- Fileless Attacks
Fileless attacks tend to leverage the features and tools that the victims have in their immediate surroundings. This type of attack does not generate new files or use file-based payloads. This is one reason why it is difficult to spot even for many of the top security solutions.
Typically, it starts with an email linking a malicious website from which they can get and execute extra payloads directly into the system memory. This uses the built-in system tools, and it’s hard for traditional cybersecurity defenses to discover this malicious use from the legitimate scripting and automation use.
- Compromise in business processes
One thing that many organizations don’t realize yet is the possibility for cybercriminals to discover the vulnerability in their business workflow processes. Ideally, they will expect to find a vulnerability and attack an app or software, neglecting the vulnerability in their workflow. These threats take advantage of the workflow vulnerability for their financial gain. This trend is becoming even more common in recent times, and it has to be given more attention in 2021.
For this cyber attack to take place, though, the perpetrator has to have sufficient knowledge about the victim’s operations and systems. So, it mostly starts with compromising a system within the business network through which they begin to monitor the whole system in search of some vulnerabilities.
Many compromised organizations might not even know that they’ve been compromised because the attack is discreet. So, they might not discover it in time.
- Remote service attacks
The adoption of remote working means that companies have to start using collaboration apps, remote access tools, and new cloud services. While companies that already had a remote work culture might be prepared for this, most other companies we’re caught unready. This has led to a security risk because they do not have sufficient IT knowledge, expertise, and training to properly configure these tools.
There is also the fact that many of these companies had to settle for free alternatives with questionable quality because of a lack of budget to get them paid, higher quality tools.
Many businesses were caught unaware because there were less time and resources to prepare to work offsite. Come 2021; many companies might feel the security effect of the rushed move.
- Customized payloads
Cybercriminals require a lot of effort to pull off targeted attacks. As they are to compromise systems and data, most of their approaches are becoming more sophisticated.
These cybercriminals can uncover numerous information about your business network from your website or through social media. There are also dual-use tools that will allow them to learn about your service and tools without giving off a warning. They know the tools and the vulnerability and can construct payloads to attack and bring your network down.
- Evolution of common threats
One thing to pay attention to is the continued evolution of well-known threats such as Trojans, ransomware, phishing, etc. These attacks seem to have become automated and have personal information of the victim gotten from social media networks and company websites.
As automation continues to rise as a technological trend, attacks like these are likely to increase. These attacks can also take advantage of the current situation. This happened at the start of the work from the period during the pandemic because many people were not used to the remote tools yet.
- Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
APT may become even more common along with these criminal elements. This threat uses sophisticated and continuous hacking techniques to access a system, steal valuable information, and stay in it for a long time. This way, cybercriminals will have more access to the business.
Scaling through 2020 was a challenge for many people, with COVID-19 being the primary factor for major and minor changes in individuals and companies. For many companies, though, some of their actions have resulted in security breaches, and we are going to see the results of this in 2021.
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