You must’ve heard it before: the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the world’s digital transformation. And it looks like there are no signs of slowing down. But what could a hyperconnected world mean for a business’s security?

When it comes to cybersecurity preparedness, it’s never a question of “if” an event will happen; it’s always a discussion of “when” an incident will occur. Despite the technological advances achieved in 2021, there remains an urgent need for businesses to increase cybersecurity education and awareness to protect themselves against potential cybersecurity threats.

As we approach another year, here are some cybersecurity trends that are worth watching. Keep these trends in mind as you prepare for another year of protecting your organization against threats.

Ransomware

2021 witnessed an alarming increase in ransomware attacks. Most of the major attacks involved big companies such as Acer and Kia Motors, as well as public service groups like the Washington DC Police Department.

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files once it invades a network. Doing so renders all the files unusable. Ransomware also destroys the systems that process the information, enabling hackers to demand a ransom in exchange for decryption. It’s now wonder that ransomware has become a popular tool of hackers.

The increasing threat of ransomware comes with a new set of challenges, especially with the new normal by COVID-19. For instance, the shift to remote work sent networks that are on-premises into a spiral. Most networks built onsite are custom-built, which means that companies should meet multiple manual requirements to ensure the network operates well.

From updating the software to ensuring the network is free of vulnerabilities, on-premises networks need multiple teams to ensure a smooth-sailing process.

The ransomware-related challenges organizations now face highlight the need for a more defined vulnerability program to identify potential weak spots efficiently and effectively. One of the best ways to address these challenges is to look for security talent now.

The pandemic has left HR personnel scrambling with the hiring process, especially since most of them relied on software due to the social distancing protocols. As we move into 2022, organizations are most likely to invest in more training around cybersecurity initiatives. They might also use third-party specialists to help them map out their organization’s threat surface.

The Human Factor Still Counts

Sadly, people are still the weakest link when it comes to technology in organizations. From falling victim to scams to not remediating vulnerabilities or patching systems, humans present the greatest risk in cybersecurity. Therefore, employee education is an important aspect of any business’s cybersecurity efforts.

A recent study from Stanford University revealed that 88 percent of data breach incidents are due to human error.  And hackers are knowledgeable of this, which is why they recycle old attacks on new targets. It doesn’t matter if you use the smartest and/or most expensive solutions available. Proper implementation is still a must to keep the system updated, a job that most organizations overlook or forget.

2022 and the next few years will see an increase in efforts around cybersecurity training and education for employees. Training aims to increase awareness around human error, which can unintentionally wreak havoc for a business.

security measures
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Surge of Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks will continue to be prevalent due to ongoing economic disruptions and shortages. These challenges create opportunities for hackers and malicious people to target big payouts. Access-as-a-service (AasS) brokers will be interested in selling systems to the highest bidder.

Extortion models will most likely increase in prevalence. Look out for the quadruple extortion model, which holds the victim’s critical data hostage. Hackers threaten victims to publicize the breach and target their customers, attacking the victim’s partner vendors or supply chain.

Cybercriminals in the Cloud

Cybercriminals will continue infiltrating the cloud by exploiting known flaws, using phishing emails and exposing secrets. They will also explore new technologies like WebLogic, Adobe Flash and Java to gain access. Expect more malicious actors to compromise pipelines and DevOps tools to target supply chains and infrastructures.

Future Proof Your Strategy

Instead of letting updated attacks compromise your hard work, here are a few recommendations to improve your security strategy against emerging threat techniques:

  1. Go back to basics. You don’t always need the newest security software to strengthen your security efforts. Adhering to the best practices and implementing industry frameworks will help you stay on top of compliance requirements, patch management and the shared responsibility model.
  2. Harden data center and cloud workload. Use automated security solutions with access control and management to ensure credentials are given when needed.
  3. Prioritize visibility. Since work from home is here to stay, visibility is more important than ever. Automate and customize APIs to continually scan for misconfigurations.

A New Year is fast approaching and so are malicious actors. Protect your system now to enjoy a productive and safe year.

The Droid Blog is a multimedia effort built by tech enthusiasts and experts to examine how technology impacts our present and will change our future.

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