Man pressing on security icons for 2021 security predictions

At the end of each year, security firms discuss valuable information security lessons learned, as well as what they foresee happening in the year ahead. 2020 was an unprecedented year and was filled with uncertainty. However, the one thing we know for sure is bad actors will continue to test the limits of security. Below are six predicted cyber threats that are most likely to impact people and businesses in 2021.

  1. Security Concerns with Remote Work Will Continue– Sensitive data that was previously accessed onsite is now being accessed remotely. Cybercriminals have been working overtime during the pandemic to take advantage of any vulnerabilities they can find. In 2021, these are expected to escalate and will require IT professionals to keep networks and data protected.
  2. Cloud Security-Migrating data to the cloud was already in the works, with many companies slowly making the transition. However, due to COVID-19, this move has accelerated. Because of the rapid change, some security experts believe there may be gaps that can be exploited by cybercriminals. 2021 will bring a major emphasis on cloud security.
  3. Phishing as A Service Will Become More Lucrative– Phishing scams are not going away. It is the easiest scam to perpetrate and affects the most people. Hackers will continue to profit from these types of scams which will provide incentive for others to develop more phishing kits to sell on the Dark Web.
  4. COVID-19 Scams Will Not Stop– We are still in the pandemic, and cybercriminals are keenly aware of how to take advantage of this moment of insecurity to attack. They will continue to prey on human emotions, using fake information and websites to engage the most unsuspecting victims.
  5. VPNs Will Be Targeted– Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have allowed remote workers to have some sense of security, but hackers know if they can penetrate a VPN, they have an open door to a company’s network. With that type of access, they can steal credentials that perpetuate other types of forceful attacks including Ransomware attacks. Cybersecurity professionals believe the targeting of VPNs will ramp up in 2021.
  6. Ransomware Attacks Will Target the Most Critical Assets of an Organization– A recent Fireye report called, “A GLOBAL RESET Cyber Security Predictions 2021,” highlighted the ongoing concern of ransomware attacks and how these are now a national security concern. Ransomware attacks increased in 2020 and experts believe will only get worse. These types of attacks can have dire effects especially in the healthcare sector where not having access to hospital systems can have life or death consequences on patients.

Fortunately, many organizations have taken crucial steps to protect their networks, employees, and customers during this time of remote working. While threats continue to evolve, and cybercriminals employ new strategies, the work of IT security departments is never done. As we approach 2021, organizations need to remain prepared and ensure data backup and incident response plans are in place.