Cyber Crime In 2021: How Hackers Are Evolving

As technology constantly evolves, so does cyber crime develop to survive. Cybersecurity experts also have to continually work to keep up with these upcoming technologies to prevent the day-to-day hacking loopholes. This means that cyber criminals have to constantly develop sophisticated attacks to fit new trends while upgrading existing attacks to avoid detection.  
 
It's no doubt that the recent global pandemic has created a new playground for hackers. This is because most businesses digitized their companies and shifted to remote working.
 
The digital forensics experts at ITAcceleration have produced a statistical report showing a tremendous increase in hacking and data breach, mostly in workplaces with mobile and IoT devices. What cyber crime trends, patterns, and hacks can we watch out for in 2021 and beyond? 
 
Cryptojacking:   With the popularity of the antivirus amongst most computer owners, cyber criminals have had to get innovative once again. Cryptojacking involves the unauthorized use of someone's computer to steal cryptocurrency by installing software. Hackers do this by getting the user to click on malicious links, mostly sent via email or on an online ad.
 
Once the link is clicked, it immediately loads a crypto mining code that runs in the background and is very difficult to detect.
 
It's important to note that crypto mining and cryptocurrency are not illegal. However, cyber criminals make crypto mining dangerous by draining the computer's processing power without the owner's knowledge to mine for cryptocurrency into their digital wallet.
 
Phishing:  This cyber threat continues to be more sophisticated over the years, especially in this social media era. This style doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon. Phishing ideally involves tricking the user into providing account logins for bank accounts or other confidential information willingly. Phishing attacks are made mainly by email. The phishing emails mostly resemble a trusted source like a phone or internet service provider service. They also include official-looking graphics, email addresses, and fake websites to trick the user into sharing their details.
 
Ransomware:   In the history of cybersecurity, cyber crime would be incomplete without the examination of ransomware. Ransomware is another sophisticated type of effective malware that prevents user access to their data by encrypting critical databases and applications. The perpetrators go ahead and harass the victim by threatening to permanently delete their data or expose them to the public with embarrassing information. Newly recruited cyber criminals get paid per infected device or with a percentage of the extorted ransom. 
 
Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is also primarily available for people capable of buying digital currencies such as Bitcoin. When cyber criminals perform large-scale attacks, they facilitate their payment with a ransom in the form of Bitcoin. Unfortunately, the global pandemic has slowly pushed young impoverished IT professionals into performing these cyber crimes. The dark side of this is that it provides a stable livelihood source while virtually offering absolute impunity. 
 
Worse still, payment of these ransoms doesn't guarantee non-exposure on the Dark Web. Apart from these cyber criminals just encrypting the data, they may also steal it and delete backups, thereby imposing even more compelling incentives to pay.
 
Business Insiders:  Historically, insiders have always posed a business risk. Some insiders may knowingly harm the business, while others are just accidental negligent workers who disregard existing protocol. Due to the pandemic still looming at large, most workers have become stressed and distracted, thus breeding more of these negligent insiders.  Some of these negligent workers are mostly tired, under stress, or operating in an unfamiliar environment cannot make sober decisions. Studies conducted by a digital forensics investigator have shown that stressed workers cause at least 4 out of 10 data breaches.  
 
Eavesdropping Technique:   This is sometimes referred to as the man-in-the-middle. In this situation, a hacker can easily steal data by coming in between the user and the action being done, such as logging in to their email or completing a payment without the victim's knowledge. 
 
Edge Computing Loopholes:  Edge computing is becoming an attractive value proposition to most businesses due to the widespread adoption of remote work due to COVID 19. The idea of Edge Computing controls how data is collected and transmitted to an increased number of connected devices. Edge computing is transforming how data is processed and delivered from millions of devices around the world. 
 
Edge computing systems continue to draw interest due to IoT devices' growth (motor vehicles, thermostats) and new applications that require good computing power. The adoption of edge computing has expanded the attack surface for hackers as some of them even have entry points into the architecture. Therefore, businesses should be alert about the extended network connected to every device as this can pose grievous cybersecurity risks. 
 
Cyber crime not only poses a potential damage risk to your firm but also to your client's data. However, you can bypass these potential risks with proper training. 
 
About the Author:  Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer and her clients include IT Acceleration Inc.       
 
Image: Unsplash
 
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