As the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world, it brought about many changes to how people worked, lived, and spent their free time. With millions of people stuck at home with nothing but the internet to entertain them, the cybersecurity industry has needed to work overtime to keep individuals, corporations, and governments safe from cyber attacks.
Malicious third parties have long been programming malware and viruses to take advantage of just about any entity that uses the internet, but their productivity rates seemed to spike in 2020. If you conduct your business online, it’s more important than ever to have a robust cybersecurity strategy in 2021.
The Threat of Ransomware and Phishing
Ransomware was incredibly disruptive in 2020, and you should constantly be watching over your shoulder in 2021. This is the preferred tool for hackers and cybercriminals, with cybersecurity experts estimating that ransomware attacks occur every 11 seconds.
In previous years, ransomware was just used to steal sensitive data. In 2020, the use of ransomware evolved, and it is now being used to disrupt large-scale operations in different institutions, from commercial establishments to essential services. With the worldwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, cybercriminals have focused their efforts on deploying ransomware against pharmaceutical laboratories, hospitals, and cold storage facilities. The more disruption they cause, the bigger their payday, so there are thousands of hackers and cybercriminals who have made ransomware their focus full time.
More than 60% of organisations worldwide experienced a damaging ransomware incident in 2020, and the average ransomware payment was $233,817. The most common entry vector for ransomware is phishing. Phishing attempts have grown exponentially in recent years (600% in 2020 alone).
All kinds of businesses and organisations need to be aware of these cybersecurity threats and be on the lookout for potential attacks. A recurring security risk for the workplace of today are employees working from home. This is because they are much more likely to click an innocuous link sent to them by email, text, or online message. One way to build cyber resilience in your business is to dedicate time and resources to security awareness training and protection against phishing. When everyone in your team is vigilant, it lowers the risk of phishing and ransomware attacks.
The Rise of Multi-Factor Authentication
Strong passwords are standard for cybersecurity, but more and more companies and organisations are turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA) as a next-level defense strategy against data breaches. MFA confirms a person’s identity by deploying a passcode to a device or email address. When the correct passcode is entered, the user will have access to their secure data.
Cybersecurity experts urge individuals and corporations alike to move away from SMS-based MFA. Text messages are not encrypted and could easily be accessed. Application-based MFA software such as Google Authenticator is a much more secure option.
The Need for Cybersecurity Personnel
Besides MFAs, there is a critical need for well-trained and highly experienced cybersecurity professionals in 2021. They are notoriously difficult to find, but you need to invest time and resources in bringing in experts to help protect your business data and assets.
Cyber attacks grew exponentially and became more sophisticated in 2020, and this trend will only continue in the years to come. It’s past time to prioritise cybersecurity in your business’s overall agenda—this includes training your employees and bringing in professionals to hold ransomware and phishing attacks at bay.
CelebProtect provides brand protection services to businesses and organisations worldwide. We offer security against phishing and malware attacks, online brand management, and other solutions to protect your business and your customers. Contact our brand protection experts today!