Check Point has grouped into three large blocks the ten cybersecurity trends that its experts believe will mark 2021. According to their predictions, organizations will have to deal with threats linked to the coronavirus crisis and the proliferation of attacks through malware and botnets, as well as addressing the challenges of protecting 5G networks and connected devices.
The efforts of security teams in 2021 will have to focus on the evolution of threats linked to the coronavirus crisis, which has changed the way cybercriminals work and attack tactics; the proliferation of attacks via malware and botnets, as well as the need to address the challenges of protecting 5G networks and connected devices. Within each of these categories, Check Point lists the top cybersecurity risks for next year in ten:
Threats Related To The Pandemic
- Protect the “new normal”: COVID-19 will remain very present in 2021, although its impact will vary as the year progresses. However, companies will need to remain prepared for a number of ‘next normals’, for which protecting networks, cloud environments, applications, and information is crucial. The key to this is to strengthen threat prevention across the network to prevent advanced attacks from rapidly spreading across corporate infrastructures and exploiting security weaknesses. Automation of prevention will be critical, as 78% of companies state they lack knowledge and resources in these areas.
- No cure for the threats linked to the coronavirus crisis: news about vaccine development, new mobility restrictions, etc. they will continue to make headlines and will be the hooks used by cybercriminals to launch massive phishing campaigns. Likewise, those pharmaceutical companies involved in the development of vaccines will remain one of the main targets of attacks by cybercriminals or even malicious groups related to certain countries.
- Distance training, in the spotlight: Like companies, the educational system has had to migrate in order to continue working remotely through the use of online platforms. As a consequence, this sector has experienced a 30% increase in weekly attacks during the month of August, coinciding with the period prior to the start of the course and we will continue to see high levels of threats during the next twelve months.
Also Read: The Main Cyber Risks Of 5G
Malware, Privacy And Cyber-warfare
- Increasingly double extortion ransomware: during the third quarter of the year there has been an increase in the use of this type of virus. When launching these types of attacks, cybercriminals first extract large amounts of sensitive data before encrypting the infected computer. After this, they threaten their victim with publishing this information unless the ransom is paid. To prove that their threat is true, they publish a small amount of data on the dark web, thus increasing the level of pressure.
- Botnets, on the rise: Cybercriminals are betting on turning many malware families into botnets with the aim of creating a network that allows mass attacks to be launched. Emotet, which is the most widely used malware in 2020, started out as a banking Trojan but has evolved into one of the most persistent and versatile botnets, capable of launching harmful exploits, from ransomware to data theft.
- Cyber attacks between countries: Cyberattacks between countries in virtual environments, either to spy or to influence certain events, will continue to rise. In fact, according to Microsoft data, groups of cyber criminals of 3 nationalities account for 89% of all hacks between states throughout the past year. In recent years, attention has focused on the security of critical infrastructures, although they are increasingly diversifying and attacking other sectors such as health or various government departments, as was seen with the Vicious Panda campaign against Mongolia that Check Point discovered in March.
- Deepfakes as a weapon: digital techniques for falsifying video or audio are advanced enough to be weaponized and used to create malicious content aimed at influencing public opinion or overpricing company stocks, to name just two examples. At the beginning of the year, a Belgian political group released a fake video of the Prime Minister of Belgium talking about the environmental impact of COVID-19 and calling for action against climate change.
- Privacy: mobile devices contain a large amount of personal information that is in applications that ask permission to access contacts, messages, and other services. One step further, COVID-19 contact tracing apps have people’s privacy concerns. And this does not happen only in / with legitimate applications: mobile adware to steal users’ bank credentials is a major threat on the rise.
5G And IoT Platforms
- Challenges around the new generation of mobile networks: the arrival of the new generation of telecommunications networks brings with it a new environment of high speed and hyperconnectivity, but, on the contrary, it also represents the opportunity to launch attacks with the aim of blocking connections between devices. Equipment with wellness functions will collect information about the user (heart rate, etc.), cars will include functions to control the movement of other vehicles or pedestrians, and smart cities will be able to collect information on the habits of their citizens. This massive volume of data needs high levels of security to prevent theft or leaks
- IoT: the acronym IoT, in addition to the Internet of Things, also refers to the threats that we can find in the virtual world. As 5G networks are implemented, the number of interconnected devices grows exponentially, thus increasing the risks of vulnerability to large-scale multi-vector cyberattacks. IoT equipment and cloud environments remain a weak link in cybersecurity since it is difficult to obtain complete visibility of these elements.