2020 was a tough year and cyber criminals tried to make it even worse. The Information Systems Security Association and ESG study of cybersecurity professionals reported a 63% rise in cyber-attacks during the disease outbreak.

While there has been a lot of confusion and rapid changes in 2020, there are likely to appear new risks in 2021, including those attempting to exploit the pandemic and the vaccine-induced potential.

Here are some of the main developments in infosecurity that are expected to affect businesses in 2021.

The rise of social engineering attacks

Social engineering refers to a variety of cyber-attacks that use psychological manipulation to trick victims into making security mistakes or giving away confidential information.

The most common types of social engineering attacks are phishing campaigns (attempting to obtain private information via email) and compromised websites (social engineers can gain access to the source code, plant malware and gain information this way).

There will be more advanced social engineering assaults in 2021, where cybercriminals try to rip sensitive data from victims by posing as a trusted individual or organization. In 2020, COVID-19 dominated the news and debates, but in 2021 cybercriminals will aim for new attacks that take full advantage of fears about COVID-19 as well as tax season and unemployment services.

Look out for threats on social engineering that are seeking to take advantage of the economic difficulties of citizens and health issues related to the pandemic. Through several strategies, including malicious software that falsely claims to check temperatures and free COVID-19 test deals, they would try to get people’s credit card details and other confidential information.

As a result, it is critical to inform the employees with clear risk mitigation expertise and to seek the assistance of a managed service provider that provides IT support services.

Telehealth businesses are at risk!

Telehealth represents the delivery of health care, health education, and health information services via remote technologies.

Telehealth, for instance, changes the point of care via video, audio, patient portals, and beyond by facilitating electronic communications and telemetry between patients and healthcare professionals. It also changes components such as medical instruments, electronic health records, and devices for services such as integrated robotic surgery within the healthcare ecosystem.

The adoption of virtual healthcare grew during 2020, as a result of the epidemic and the partial relaxation of healthcare data protection laws in some countries. Telehealth can be the biggest threat to healthcare cybersecurity. Telehealth has experienced a considerable increase in targeted attacks as providers depend on remote consultations to provide treatment.

Cyber-attacks can produce all forms of destruction for healthcare organizations. To bring networks offline, cybercriminals may use malware or exploit hardware vulnerabilities, restricting critical information exchanges and delaying critical treatment. It is possible to hack health devices, resulting in patient injury, even death. And patient data loss can lead to significant legal concerns, ruined reputations, and fines.

When introducing telehealth, the one term that providers must concentrate on is encryption. As data is sensitive at all stages of its life cycle, including during storage, transmission, and access, it is important to integrate encryption into every step of this process.

It is important that the healthcare professionals that are protecting physical health by using telehealth services, also ensure they are not putting data health at risk instead.

Employees are targeted both at home & at the office

As we recover from this global crisis, we expect that office work and leisure travel will gradually resume. Social engineering strategies will increase in response. Malicious hackers will push fake travel offers to individuals planning vacations online and via email.

To try to get personal information from their potential targets, they will use phishing and other attacks.

When employees return to the office, they will probably divide the work week between some days in the office and some at home.

For cybercriminals, appealing attack vectors will include house appliances, including smart speakers, that are used for both leisure and work. In order to protect them against attackers, such devices frequently do not have enterprise-level protection, which is particularly problematic since they may operate in a home office but move into the business setting.

Many organizations have made substantial new investments in their IT processes and technology as a result of the shift to remote work. Although the change has already occurred for many, not many places have addressed the security burden generated in the process. It takes a different mentality to protect a remote workforce and provides an increased perimeter for an attack.

At the same time, in order to protect remote employees, the need for more intensive cybersecurity suggests that organizations will start searching for more cutting-edge techniques, to provide a more robust solution to these regular attacks.

With enterprises shifting to a virtual and remote workforce, organizations had to quickly shift business applications and data to the cloud.

Strategies to be safe online. Cybersecurity grows in importance

The pandemic can act as a wake-up call that cybersecurity is what helps enterprises to remain alive and successful. Companies that consider cybersecurity as a result of the disease outbreak are likely to emerge as pioneers in the next technological revolution and adopt the best practices in the cybersecurity process.

Leading businesses will adopt approaches to adapt to the current threat environment, such as:

  • Prioritizing identity and consumer accountability of permissions and controls over data to keep employees and data safer
  • Simplifying operations and saving money by reducing its security vendors to creative technology-based global businesses
  • Embracing automation technologies

A great strategy can bring many benefits such as:

  • Protect the data of your workers, customers, and projects
  • Keep a professional B2B corporate status
  • Better staff data management methods and working culture
  • Enhanced internal business communication and data distribution
  • Proactive response and action in case of a real cyberattack

The strategy for 2021

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the pandemic’s transformations on how people live and work. Remote workers, smart devices, and telehealth appointments are all enticing to threat actors.

In 2021, it will be necessary for companies to know today’s cybersecurity warnings and not undervalue the potential of cybersecurity strategies and solutions to prevent these threats. The hurdles of this new normal won’t magically vanish but companies can get ahead of dangers and march confidently into 2021. Make sure this year is a great one for your company and not for cyber criminals.

You can read more about some other cybersecurity trends to keep track of in 2021 here: Cybersecurity in 2021 – What You Need to Know

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