Cyber Security Trends for 2021: Aftershock of the Covid-era


We have seen 2020 as the most challenging year to date. From a personal level,  this is due to Covid, lockdown, working from home (WFH) or working from anywhere (WFA) set-up, closure of the borders or even no available flights to go home to your family abroad! But wait, there is more - from a Cyber Security point of view, there are challenges like increasing cyber attacks, not enough bandwidth capacity for WFH arrangements, no available policies for remote workers and even the debate if we are going to use Zoom video conference or not. All of these challenges may have a flow-on effect on the coming year 2021.

In our view, these are the Top 5 cyber security trends that could define the new year:

  • Hybrid-type of working (WFA + working on-site)

The hybrid-type of working will continue. This means we need to ensure security controls are consistently in-place in order to support this type of working. This will also see more targeted attacks against virtual private network (VPN) and remote desktop solutions. Use only the Wi-fi connection you trust, login to using a VPN, watch out for "shoulder surfers" , use two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) and watch-out for suspicious emails

"According to Gartner, 88% of global business organizations mandated or encouraged all their employees to work from home due to the pandemic."

  • Increase of Ransomware attacks

The business of ransomware is booming to a point that CyberSecurity Ventures predicts an attack every 11 seconds in 2021. What does this mean to you or your company? This means you need to check out your cyber hygiene and awareness program. When it comes to financial implications, it is a wrong assumption that you are going to worry about the ransom amount in bitcoins found in the ransom note, of course, you need to consider financial implications due to forensic investigations, additional controls, downtime, etc.

"Ransomware Predicted to Cost $20 Billion in Damages Globally by 2021" - Knowbe4

  • Cyber attacks will centre on Covid-19 research and health care

More targeted attacks will point at health care because of the amount of data that they can gather like patient's data and vaccine research. Not to mention outdated technologies and potential lack of security education. 

Kaspersky has predicted "threat actors to continue to target any pharma company that makes a significant breakthrough on coronavirus vaccines or therapeutics". They also believe that this will "spark diplomatic disputes around the world".

  • Legacy systems will act as a backdoor to your network

In the recent announcement, Microsoft has ended support on its most popular operating systems (OS) Windows 7 and Server 2008. This means these endpoints are more vulnerable to cyber attacks! For those companies that have not shifted to the most updated OS, attackers will take advantage of the vulnerabilities and can be a way for them to get inside not only to the system but to the whole infrastructure. 

  • The rise of 5G and cyber security challenges

5G is a term also known as fifth generation wireless cellular network. 5G is faster, more responsive, use less power and can carry more device that the existing 4G. This is why everyone is on the race to transform their network and support 5G. Despite the upside of moving to 5G, there are underlying downside of 5G like cyber security skills gap to protect a 5G network, the added speed and volume will challenge security teams to create new methods for stopping threats, unprotected smart devices will be connected which adds up to the exposure and lack of cyber security awareness of the consumers.

Year on year, there are different cyber security trends. In our opinion, basic cyber security hygiene is still relevant regardless of what new trends will come in the way. Learn how to consistently patch, harden your devices, use 2FA or MFA, close unused ports or services, test and back-up your data, implement least privilege, consistent cyber security awareness, get visibility of all your assets, secure internet facing applications, change default settings of your devices are just some of the few basic practices.

2021 is another big year for everyone. Better be ready or be left out.

Human Firewall | Tip # 27 Cyber Security Trends for 2021


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