The world is becoming more connected and cyberattacks are becoming more sophisticated, resulting in more victims. By the fourth quarter of 2021, the number of reported data thefts had already surpassed the 2020 total, which was already an all-time high. Specifically, that's 281.5 million people affected by a data breach (Forbes).
What explains this exponential increase in cyberattacks?
One of the big drivers of this trend is covid-19.
With the pandemic, organizations had to adapt by working remotely and turning to the internet to create transactional websites to try to survive. However, they were not prepared for the cyber threats this posed, with individuals working from their unsecured home computers, easily accessible websites, etc. Cybercriminals were also in quarantine and took great advantage of this to target these new vulnerabilities.
The second biggest factor is the biased view of Virtual Small Enterprises (VSE’s) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s).
Small businesses often think that cyberattacks do not concern them, because they are too small to interest hackers. And yet, the figures prove the contrary, 43% of cyberattacks target small businesses, and only 14% of them are ready to defend themselves (according to a study by Accenture's Cost of Cybercrime). Why are there so many cyberattacks targeting small organizations? Because it's much easier to break into their systems and steal their data; 45% of companies surveyed said their security system is inadequate against potential cyber attacks.
What are the things to watch out for throughout the rest of 2022?
Ransomware - Increasingly used, ransomware earned hackers more than $590M between January and June 2021, according to a U.S. Treasury Department report, which is $170M more than in 2020. We therefore expect an increase in the use of this technique.
Cryptocurrencies - Convenient because they are difficult to trace and entirely digital, cryptocurrencies are a favorite target of hackers.
Mobile devices and applications - Mobile devices hold more of our personal and professional data, we use them for everything: accessing our bank account, our social networks, our emails, and even turning on the TV, locking/unlocking our home or locking/turning on our car. We download more and more applications and yet we are not careful to secure our devices. This makes it easy to break into our precious smartphones through corrupted applications, fake wifi, or by finding simplistic passwords.
The Cloud - The answer to all the words for some organizations, the cloud is still a prime target for cybercriminals, as it must be secured and used well.
Supply Chain - You can have an ironclad defense and a well-informed team on cyber threats, but you can still encounter security breaches through your suppliers.
Cyberattacks are becoming more and more virulent and pose a great threat to individuals, organizations and governments. It is important to secure your devices and to train your employees to adopt the right actions in the face of growing cyber threats.