Are you looking for the top cyber security trends to watch out for in 2021?
Well, these recent years have seen cybersecurity issues firmly take place in the news, both for the technology industry and the general public.
Now, you should be scared as the damages from cybercrimes are projected to cost over 6 trillion dollars in 2021. The digital revolution around all businesses, large or small organizations and even the government are relying on computerized systems to manage their day-to-day activities.
This makes cybersecurity a primary goal to safeguard data from various online attacks or any unauthorized access.
And, it is up to us as cybersecurity professionals to stay ahead of cybersecurity trends in order to prevent attacks.
For this reason, in this article, we will go through the top cybersecurity trends to watch out for in 2021.
Let’s jump right in.
First off, let’s look at what cybersecurity is.
What Is Cybersecurity?
Well, cybersecurity is the practice of securing networks, systems, and any other digital infrastructure from malicious attacks or cybercriminals.
Now, with the increase in cyberattacks, it is important that we have the best cybersecurity infrastructure that includes multiple layers of protection.
This protection should be dispersed throughout an organization’s computers, networks, and programs.
Still not convinced?
Get this, cyber-attacks occur every 14 seconds.
That means, there are already a variety of attacks that have already taken place or are taking place while you are reading this article.
With this in mind, now tell me if you still feel protected.
With so much at stake, it’s not hyperbolic to think that cybersecurity tools and experts act as the last line of defense between our most vital information and digital chaos.
For this reason,
- Antivirus software
- Anti-spyware software
- Password management
… tools must all work in harmony to outdo surprisingly creative cybercriminals.
Okay, now that you have jogged your mind on what cybersecurity is, let’s jump into these cybersecurity trends to look out for in 2021.
1. Data Breaches
This cyber security trend has been one of the biggest cybersecurity concerns.
And is likely to continue for as long as personal data remains a valuable black market commodity.
But in case you think I’m bluffing, take a good example of the Twitter hack.
Which took almost the whole internet by storm because Twitter was hit by one of the most brazen online attacks in history.
So, ensuring the security of personal data is likely to remain at the top of the list for most organizations.
This is due to the increasingly stringent privacy legislation such as the European Union’s general data protection regulation. But this is also a challenge as organizations are also aware of the negative consequences of a breach for their image.
It is also worth noting that web application security has become the top priority for all organizations, this is due to the fact that web apps are the leading source of data breaches.
2. Cloud Security Measures For End-user Trust
Now, we are all aware that as the confidence in cloud computing is increasing, and more business processes and even data are moving to the cloud, new challenges are emerging.
But, did you know that cloud-based security threats owing to misconfigured security measures have seen a stark increase in the past 2 years?
Imagining this, you will realize that protecting information and critical infrastructure requires completely new approaches to boost security.
Now, organizations are struggling to maintain control of critical data while also ensuring real-time threat intelligence.
This is because improperly configured data buckets increase the risk of major data breaches for organizations.
And also with the rise in cloud adoption, one of the KEY aspects to keep in mind is infrastructure security.
This is provided by cloud vendors.
But you should note that even though the cloud vendors provide infrastructure security, the business is responsible for the security of the workloads hosted in the cloud.
3. IoT With 5G Network
A new era of interconnectivity will become a reality with the internet of things as the 5G networks are expected to roll out in 2021.
Frankly, this communication between multiple devices, also opens them to vulnerabilities from outside attacks or even bugs.
Take into consideration that even the world’s most used browser supported by Google, Google Chrome was found to have serious flaws.
Look, 5G is still effectively new in the industry and requires a lot of research to find loopholes and make the system secure from external attacks.
Honestly speaking, since 5G is still new, every step of the 5G network might bring excess network attacks that we might not even be aware of.
And my thoughts are, manufacturers need to be very strict in building sophisticated 5G hardware and software to control data breaches.
Because there is an increase in the number of IoT devices such as wearables, home automation products, etc.
Which are also being leveraged incrementally by cyber-attackers to orchestrate large-scale DDoS attacks.
4. Mobile Devices As A Major Cybersecurity Risk
Did you know that the number of mobile devices used by employees continues to rise?
Well, according to recent research conducted by Samsung, 93% of employees use smartphones while at work.
But that’s not all.
The same research also states that employees spend up to 33% of their day on their phones.
Since the number of mobile devices being used at work increases, it’s no surprise to say that the amount of business data stored on these devices also increases.
For this reason, we can expect an increase in the number of data breaches related to mobile device use and misuse.
To this point, it’s very true to say that every device that is used to access company systems is another endpoint that should be secured.
This is also another way of reducing risk by providing access via a secure web application infrastructure with real-time vulnerability management.
5. AI Swiftly Becoming a Double-Edged Sword
Okay, let’s all agree that this is another top cyber security trend to watch out for in 2021.
Well, I say this considering how US elections in 2016 saw the beginning of AI-based propagation of fake news.
Where political campaigns devoted resources to creating special teams that orchestrated and spread false stories to undermine their opponents.
Now, we can expect to see these activities in full effect once again in 2021.
With that off the road, as AI continues to be used as a proxy for crime, it will also be used to accelerate security responses.
Because most security solutions are based on detection engines built on human-made logic.
Get this, keeping up with the latest threats and across new technologies and devices is impossible to do manually. And that’s why we need AI.
AI dramatically accelerates the identification of new threats and responds to them, helping block these attacks before they can spread widely or even happen.
However, cybercriminals are also starting to take advantage of the same techniques to help them find vulnerabilities, probe networks, and develop more evasive malware.
6. Targeted Ransomware
Another significant trend in cybersecurity that we can’t ignore in 2021 is targeted ransomware.
This has been a prominent threat to enterprises, SMBs, and individuals with an estimation of 184 million attacks worldwide.
Especially in the developed nation’s industries which rely heavily on specific software to run their daily activities.
These ransomware targets are more focussed compared to other targets.
For example, the Wanna Cry attack on the National Health Service hospitals in England that corrupted more than 70,000 medical devices.
Though generally, ransomware asks or threatens to publish your data unless you pay a ransom, it can also affect large organizations or nations too.
7. The ‘cyber cold war’ intensifies
A new cyber ‘cold war‘ is taking place online as Western and Eastern powers increasingly separate their technologies and intelligence.
The ongoing trade feud between the US and China, and the decoupling of these two huge economies is a clear sign that cyberattacks will increasingly be used as proxy conflicts between smaller countries.
Funded and enabled by larger nations looking to consolidate and extend their respective spheres of influence.
Furthermore, utilities and critical infrastructures continue to be a target of cyberattacks, as seen in attacks on US and South African utility companies this year.
Now for this reason, nations will need to consider strengthening cyber defenses around their critical infrastructure.
8. The Evergreen Phishing Threat
Phishing attacks remain an effective method of:
- Stealing credentials and identities
- Distributing malware
- Eliciting fraudulent payments
- Cryptojacking (cryptocurrency mining)
And the threat is not going away any year soon since hackers are developing more sophisticated phishing methods.
These methods are used to trick companies or individual users.
The commonly used way of phishing is through email and will still continue to dominate as the most frequent form of phishing.
Even though email is the commonly used form of phishing, mobile attacks are on the rise, and phishing attacks are occurring via SMS (smishing) and over the phone (vishing).
While phishing isn’t new, these types of cyberattacks are increasing in frequency. Phishing has topped ransomware as the top cyber insurance claim, accounting for roughly one-quarter of all claims, according to a report by AIG.
So effective protection is required, and also proper cybersecurity training for all employees and business partners.
But also, in-depth security and vulnerability management is also required to prevent attackers from obtaining confidential information used in phishing attempts.
9. BYOD Enhances the Workplace, but at a Steep Cost
More workspaces are allowing the use of personal devices for work, providing the flexibility of remote work, increasing productivity, and cutting costs.
BYOD is in this list of the top cyber security trends as it comes with security risks including:
- Increased risk of data leaks
- Malware infection
- Exposure to vulnerabilities
And all this is due to lack of device management.
For this reason security managers are now under the strain of added IT infrastructure to keep up with this cybersecurity trend.
Since BYOD is not going away any time soon, the cyber risks will continue to grow.
So, creating processes and protocols for a BYOD policy can help you find a happy medium between the risk and reward.
10. Insider Threats
Without sugarcoating it, human error is still one of the primary reasons for the data breach.
Any bad data or intentional loophole can bring down a whole organization with millions of stolen data.
A report by Verizon on data breaches gives strategic insights on cybersecurity trends that the employees directly or indirectly makes 34% of the total attacks.
So make sure you create more awareness within premises to safeguard data in every way possible.
Okay, now that you already know the popular trends for cybersecurity to watch let’s look at one of the main problem facing the cybersecurity field
The skills gap crisis continues to loom over the industry
Now, According to the Cyber Security Jobs Report, there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide by 2021, with cybersecurity unemployment rates at 0%.
This is a very serious problem that is facing this field and this skills shortage has been profound, leaving security departments overworked, under-trained, and under high stress.
Look, cyber threats are constantly evolving. And it is good to stay prepared.
And what better way than also using a VPN for protecting yourself from these cybercriminals and anybody trying to snoop into your network.
But if you want to improve your cyber security skills or even learn cyber security from scratch, you should check out my other article where I reviewed the best Coursera courses for cyber security.
Web Pen Testing Checklist
Hardly does a day go by without a breach or cyber incident being reported.
Attacks have become so damaging that the FBI has softened its stance on paying ransoms.
The agency now acknowledges that in some cases, businesses may need to consider paying to protect shareholders, employees, and customers.
Through ThreatCloud shared intelligence technology, nearly 90 billion compromise attempts per day compared with an estimated 6 billion daily searches on Google.
These are new records that are constantly being broken as time goes on, which means that the scope of victims is getting broader.
Now, understanding what is coming towards us will help us to better prepare. And this means that some paradigms will need to shift.
The enormous spread of technologies and solutions will force all of us to think about how to consolidate.
In 2021 more than ever, cyberattacks are no longer a question of if, but of how and when. This is a concern that applies to us all.
If there’s any cyber security trend that I have left out in this list of the top cyber security trends to watch out for in 2021, please share in the comments below.
Lerma is our expert in online education with over a decade of experience. Specializing in e-learning and e-courses. She has reviewed several online training courses and enjoys reviewing e-learning platforms for individuals and organizations.