In the wake of the pandemic, 2020 and 2021 have seen a mass pivot into digitization and expansion into the online space. Unfortunately, this has also created a growing breeding ground for malicious threats to cybersecurity, from target attacks to the wide-cast nets of malware and phishing scams.
Most such threats to data privacy are financially motivated, making large corporations a tempting target. However, we have also witnessed a significant increase in breaches targeting organizations in government, education, and healthcare. These agencies came under fire from a number of different attacks and attempted breaches, often in great quantities.
Cybersecurity Threats by the Numbers
The brutal truth is that in Q2 2021 alone:
- There were nearly four million malware events, with more than 1,000 variants. These stark numbers represent a 42% rise in malware activity compared to Q1 2021 — essentially, within the span of three months.
- There were almost 20 million exploit or brute force attacks, with 390 unique variants, only dropping off after Week 8 of the quarter.
- There were more than 500,000 botnet events, with nearly 50 variants. While these numbers represent a decline in total botnet activity compared to Q1 2021, that is due in large part to the shutting down of the Emotet botnet. As such, this actually serves as an essential lesson in how damaging one particular botnet variant can be and why agencies must remain vigilant against digital threats of all kinds.
Overall, 2021 will likely clock in a staggering 714m attempted ransomware attacks by the end of the year—a number representing more than a 130% rise since 2020. As Nasdaq has suggested, “security experts are already warning that cybercriminals will be adjusting their tactics next year to better take advantage of the pandemic’s impact and to become even more sophisticated in their incursions.”
Clearly, digital threats are on the rise, rather than the decline. Security efforts must meet and overcome this tide. As technology continues to advance and certain industries struggle to keep up, trends in cybersecurity, too, are ever shifting and evolving. Looking forward to 2022, we can extrapolate some ongoing developments and predictions for the coming year and beyond.
1. Remote Vulnerabilities
We can learn a number of lessons from recent cybersecurity statistics. For one, we saw system vulnerabilities increase drastically across all sectors during 2021. Much of this had to do with the rise in remote work following COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions. The move to remote models means more employees at home, and less agency over their handling of company assets, data, and digital information concerns. This, in turn, means far more opportunities for external threats to infiltrate and compromise data security.
2. Zero Trust Security Models
Along with the rapidly-changing parameters of the very society around us, cybersecurity threats are ever-changing as well. Cybercriminals and hostile operatives are continually coming up with novel means to breach your digital systems and confidential data repositories. This includes the fact that with more remote workers, there are more chances that insiders within your own company can be more easily privately contacted, manipulated, and even bribed into permitting such breaches from outside forces.
It’s no wonder, then, that we are seeing a monumental move toward zero trust models for data security. Zero trust dictates that all users — even those “trusted” within your organization — must be continuously authenticated, authorized, and validated to access sensitive data and systems. Zero trust frameworks can be implemented for both local and cloud networks to demand such authentications from workers in any location and keep infrastructures protected.
As remote and hybrid work schedules continue to grow in popularity, the necessary implementation of zero trust security measures places high on our list of trends to watch in 2022.
3. Threats to Cryptocurrency
Digital currencies are growing in mainstream popularity and versatility, but many are also very vulnerable to attack, manipulation, and other threats. In 2022, it is likely that we will witness increased hacker activity in this space, especially with the proliferation of NFTs. As such, we can also anticipate movement into new data security measures tailored to the unique needs and threats surrounding cryptocurrency exchanges.
4. Supply Chain Attacks
Since the advent of the pandemic, we have all become aware of growing problems in the global supply chain. However, not everyone realizes that cyberattacks present one of the clearest and most present dangers to the tenuous continuity of these chains. In October of 2021, a former member of the NSA cited supply chain attacks as a pressing issue, saying, “The thing that personally keeps me up at night as a cybersecurity professional are these supply chain attacks … you’re talking about impacting tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of companies and organizations around the world from a single hack.”
Now, experts are also anticipating up to a four-fold increase in supply chain attacks as 2021 draws to a close. With some supply chains already buckling under the weight of labor and material shortages, it’s no stretch to consider supply chain attacks an ongoing possibility to watch as we move into 2022.
Defend Yourself with Sertainty
With each new year, so too come new threats in the digital arena. While some strategies focus on the neverending scramble to maintain external partitions and firewalls, we at Sertainty are taking a different approach — acknowledging that breaches are to some extent inevitable, and preparing your data to defend itself regardless.
Sertainty is redefining data privacy with our cutting-edge protocols for “self-protecting data.” By embedding intelligence directly into your datasets, our proprietary approach enables your data to defend, govern, and track itself anywhere and anytime it’s accessed. So even if your systems are breached, your data remains secure.
At Sertainty, we understand that data is the most valuable asset of any organization. Our proprietary Data Privacy Platform is a pioneering force to help companies move forward with a bolder, more robust, and sustainable means to take control of their cybersecurity needs. Even as cyber threats grow and evolve, Sertainty-empowered data learns and reacts to keep itself safe.
In 2022, we’re predicting both advancements and challenges. A new year — and a new era — is dawning. Get protection that’s certain with Sertainty.