Top 7 Cybersecurity Lessons Learned In 2021
Let’s face it; 2021 has been one of the roughest years in almost all facets of life and business. We’re talking economy, healthcare, climate, education, safety & security, trust in government, and more. And amidst all these challenges and uncertainties, cybercriminals have somehow found an opportunity to target vulnerable citizens and organizations, robbing them of valuable data and money.
The question is: How do we prepare for this new reality moving forward, ensuring that we don’t repeat the same cyber mistakes and we bolster our security posture in 2022 and beyond? This article takes a deeper dive into the top seven cybersecurity lessons we can learn in 2021 and what they mean to us moving forward. So let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
1. The Internet of Things is here to stay
In 2020, IoT devices became mainstream with the release of Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, Amazon Echo Dot, Google Nest Hub Max, Samsung Galaxy S10, and others. According to IoT analytics, we will likely have more than 30 billion IoT connections by 2025. That means an average person will own almost four different IoT devices.
But here’s the catch; the rise of IoT will consequently lead to a rise in cyber incidents. In fact, we’ve already begun feeling the heat, as IoT cyberattacks more than doubled year-on-year in the first half of 2021. There were 1.51 billion breaches on IoT devices from January to June 2021, rising from 639 million in 2020. So what’s the key takeaway? With tons of devices connected to the internet, we need to ensure that they’re optimally secure and protected from threats.
2. The Supply Chain Network is Vulnerable to Cyberattacks
If there’s one sector we can’t afford to ignore, it’s the supply chain network, especially for pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers. Cyber threat actors are constantly masquerading these entities to fish out confidential access credentials to aid them in launching attacks against the Coronavirus vaccine supply chain.
These malicious groups leverage tactics, including phishing emails, malware distribution, ransomware, impersonification of legit domain names, remote access attacks, and other malicious activities to target the supply chain. As such, it’s critical that we strengthen our defenses and implement robust risk management strategies, such as privileged access management (PAM), to protect our sensitive information.
3. There’s No Such Thing as ‘Zero Day’ Malware
Malicious software is now a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow rapidly. It’s no surprise that the number of new malware samples detected each day increases exponentially. However, the bad news is that most of these samples are zero-day exploits that haven’t yet been patched or mitigated.
That means if you don’t patch your systems regularly, you’re leaving yourself open to attack. Zero-day exploits are stealthy and highly targeted because they allow hackers to bypass traditional antivirus solutions. They also pose a serious threat because they can be used to compromise your system without any prior knowledge about the vulnerability. So moving forward, it’s critical to ensure that all of your systems are up-to-date and running the latest patches.
4. Building and Sustaining Cybersecurity Awareness has never been more Important
Most organizations believe that security awareness training is a sure-fire strategy for mitigating security risks, but only a small percentage take advantage of it. That explains why many organizations still struggle to build and sustain an influential cybersecurity culture within their workforce.
To address this issue, we must make sure that everyone understands the importance of cybersecurity. And to do so, we should focus on building a solid foundation of cybersecurity education across various levels of employees. For example, we should teach employees how to recognize suspicious behavior, identify (and respond to) potential risks, and understand basic concepts behind cybersecurity.
5. Social Engineering Can Compromise Social Media Platforms
We all witnessed it last year; high-profile Twitter accounts for political figures and celebrities were hacked to promote cryptocurrency scams. But how did these threat actors manage to hijack such a reputable social media platform? Well, they leveraged several tactics to access these accounts, including bribing Twitter employees to access confidential administrative tools and login credentials. But the Twitter hijack isn’t the only incident that raised eyebrows. Facebook also suffered a significant blow when hackers sold 267 million user profiles to criminal forums for $540.
If there’s any lesson to learn from these two high-profile social engineering incidents, it’s the value of multi-factor authentication and privileged access management. It’s high time social media companies added a layer of security by introducing the need for MFA when creating or accessing your account. Don’t you agree?
6. The Future of Cybersecurity Will Be More About AI Than Humans
There’s no denying that artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in the future of cybersecurity. In fact, it already contributes to the rot in our cybersecurity infrastructure today. How so? AI helps cybercriminals detect anomalies in network traffic, automatically analyze data, and even help them create malicious code. Hence, AI is becoming one of the biggest threats to our digital infrastructure.
So what does this mean for us, IT professionals and IT-dependent organizations? It means that we must start thinking like AI experts. We have to adopt a proactive approach and design our networks with AI in mind. If we fail to do so, we’ll end up getting blindsided by AI-powered attacks.
7. Your Data Is Still at Risk Even After You’ve Secured Your Network
The truth is, securing your network doesn’t guarantee that your sensitive information remains safe. As long as your organization continues to store data on unsecured devices, it’s vulnerable to theft, more so those instigated by insider attacks.
To mitigate this risk, we should implement a comprehensive data loss prevention solution. These solutions are designed to monitor employee activities and block unauthorized access to sensitive files. They also provide real-time alerts whenever an employee tries to access a file outside their assigned workstation.
BC Networks is Your Go-To Cybersecurity Solutions Provider!
The sad truth is, cybersecurity threats will continue to exist if not get more sophisticated. So, we must take action now to protect ourselves against potential attacks. And for this, we need a trusted partner who understands our needs and provides reliable services.
That’s why BC Networks has been providing optimum cybersecurity solutions and support that your organization needs to mitigate everyday technology risks. Our team of highly skilled security experts and consultants is always ready to support you 24/7. So if you’re looking for a dependable provider of cybersecurity solutions in San Jose and the Bay Area, look no further. Our mission is to reduce our clients’ risk to threats while achieving increased productivity at the same time.
So hurry now! Schedule a FREE cybersecurity assessment today, and let us help you eliminate real-world cyber threats through customized solutions.
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