Losses From Cyber Crime Exceed $1Trillion

All organisations are having problems with cyber crime and with the impact the Coronavirus hacking crime in particular is increasing. The FBI has seen a four times increase in cyber security questions and complaints since the pandemic began and the endpoint security experts at McAfee  say that the worldwide losses from cyber crime have exceeded $1 trillion in 2020 for the first time

Now a new report from Interpol says cyber criminals are targeting larger businesses. Interpol’s assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on cyber crime has shown a significant target shift from individuals and small businesses to major corporations, governments and critical infrastructure.

Furthermore, 2020 was also a year of significant change for working practices and lifestyles. In the UK, the population spent a significant portion of the year either under lockdown or being recommended to work from home where possible. In 2021, there are many cyber security threats that have either emerged as a result of the pandemic or have been exacerbated by it. Here are some of the cyber security threats facing businesses and organisations in 2021.

Increase in Home and Remote Working

The seismic shift in remote working and online shopping has opened up new concerns over cyber security threats, which means investors need to be aware of the growing opportunities now. Over 50% of the UK population now work from home which raises the cyber security problems considerably. 

Pandemic Phishing

Cyber criminals have of course used the fear surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic as a part of their tactics and virus related phishing became a major problem over 2020 and this looks like it will only get worse in 2021. Criminals use phishing emails to encourage people into clicking a malicious attachment often currently using the concept of Covid-19 and the worries around public health.  

Cloud Breaches

It is also true that the Covid-19 pandemic caused many businesses to alter the way they work and switch to cloud-based solutions. Just as with remote working, moving to the cloud can actually be a major positive, however, doing it too quickly and not taking the time to get the details right can leave your business vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Many organisations simply did not have the kind of IT expertise to manage this kind of migration effectively, and this leads to misconfigurations and other issues that can leave systems with security weaknesses.

Surveillance & Coronavirus

There have been  a lot of discussions on how surveillance technology has been used to contain or combat the virus. 
Initially most prevalent in China, where mass surveillance is already used, stories included facial recognition software and CCTV integrated with AI to track people’s movements from areas that there were known to be outbreaks from, therefore measuring the risk of the potential spread of contamination.

These reports have since seen other nations adopting similar measures, with the additional usage of thermal imaging technology which raises questions about privacy. If mass surveillance measures are introduced with the initial goal of public safety in mind, would it lead to more ‘intrusive’ measures? 

Attacks on the IoT

A growing number of businesses and organisations are implementing Internet of Things (IoT) applications and devices in order to enhance customer service, capture data and manage internal infrastructure. The problem here is that many IoT devices are not designed with security in mind, and may have flaws and vulnerabilities that are both easy to exploit and difficult to fix. If hackers are able to gain control of the IoT devices in an organisation they can potentially use them for access into the rest of the IT system.

Not all vulnerabilities that businesses need to be aware of relate to applications, in fact, in 2021, cyber criminals are increasingly finding weaknesses in the process flow of business operations. By observing the system, criminals find weak links in the processes. For example, a company might be using an automated invoicing tool, which could itself be vulnerable. 

Interpol:           IFSECGlobal:         IFSECGlobal:      City Wire Selector:       McAfee

Your organisation should be doing everything possible to mitigate these risks and find ways to prevent weaknesses and vulnerabilities in your IT systems and at Cyber Security Intelligence we recommend employee and management cyber training. For more information and advice please contact Cyber Security Intelligence.

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