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The future of cybersecurity

NetworkTigers discusses the future of cybersecurity. Will it get worse before it gets better?

Cybersecurity is one of the most important investments any company or individual can make in today’s interconnected world. Ensuring that your home or business is appropriately protected can save more than money – it can also protect your privacy in an era where data privacy is becoming even more precious and important to preserve. However, today’s cybersecurity landscape is an ever-evolving field of threats and dangers. Will cybersecurity get worse before it gets better? Experts seem to believe that the risks will only continue to evolve. The question is, how can we best ensure we are prepared to meet them when they do?

With the rise of remote work and multiple supply chain shocks that overtook the international datasphere throughout the global pandemic, cybersecurity was paramount in 2020. The COVID-19 era saw multiple new threat actors arise in how companies conducted remote work. Zoom bombers, new kinds of ransomware, and a rise in phishing attacks on employees working from home all contributed to increased cybersecurity risks in the past year. However, a new report shows an alarming trend in how often businesses have been hacked throughout 2021. According to Check Point Research, businesses weathered up to 50% more cyberattacks per week in 2021 than in 2020. The analytical firm only counted detected and blocked threats in their assessment, meaning that the actual number may be even higher. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that businesses seem to have begun to accept cyberattacks as the new normal

Cyber threats on the rise

The data shows that cybersecurity seems to be getting worse before it gets better. Some of the latest cyber threats include: 

  • Social engineering: Even as technology becomes more difficult to breach, human error remains the main form of cybersecurity weakness. Social engineering is a kind of attack method that targets human interactions. Socially engineered attacks often rely on peoples’ urges to be helpful or fear of punishment if they make a mistake. Many data security experts advocate for increased employee IT training and open communication among company strata to address socially engineered cybersecurity threats. Employees are less likely to believe they risk letting down a CEO or senior officer from a phony phishing attack if they can contact management to report attempts to target them. 
  • Sophisticated phishing: Phishing is particularly dangerous for employees working from home. As more business communication occurs via email or messaging, phishing attempts have become more prevalent and successful. In a recent development, certain industries, often medical and insurance, report facing a one-two punch of phishing attacks. Employees in these fields have received emails from realistic addresses posing as clients or vendors for the company. The only request in these emails is that the targeted employee give them a call. Scammers use these sophisticated phishing approaches to build rapport and trust before asking the targets to share information or send money. Because multiple forms of communication are used, these phishing attempts appear more trustworthy. A San Francisco report shows a 10% increase in email-to-phone phishing attacks, with businesses in the medical and insurance fields up to 60% likely to become targets. 
  • Credential compromise: The reuse of passwords is a common threat to even the best cybersecurity networks. Even with constant verifications or multi-factor authentication, re-used or commonly used passwords can undermine otherwise effective barriers to keep hackers at bay. A Google study shows that up to 65% of people reuse their passwords for multiple accounts. Much of this password reuse is across streaming sites, but many report mingling personal and professional passwords. Some recycling is understandable when the average person has to remember around 90 different passwords. However, doing so can substantially jeopardize the safety and security of your company’s network privacy. 

Cybersecurity reports and assessments

Will cybersecurity get worse before it gets better? Even the most optimistic data privacy experts say things will get more complicated before anyone can be sure. And most cybersecurity professionals say the outcome is bleak. Cybersecurity has gone from being a small-scale concern to a full-blown national and international security risk. Destructive hacks such as SolarWinds show that the extent of data privacy breaches is still fully understood. 
Ongoing hacks threaten the safety of every Internet user, with new risks being discovered daily. By updating and investing in cybersecurity to the fullest extent of your ability, you can hope to surf the wave of new worries in the cybersecurity sector. However, no one can fully outrun the onslaught of cyber risks. It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better, but with the right focus and upgrades, we can weather the storm.

Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West
Gabrielle West is an experienced tech and travel writer currently based in New York City. Her work has appeared on Ladders, Ultrahuman, and more.

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