Like the virus responsible for the worldwide pandemic, email-based cyber threats continued to mutate in 2021, causing global havoc. Businesses around the world continued to find themselves in the crosshairs not just of a novel coronavirus, but also a torrent of new cyberattacks. Any hope that this onslaught would abate once the world had adjusted to the pandemic was short lived.
In 2021, the cyber threat landscape in country after country became more treacherous, not less.
With the number of publicly reported data breaches soaring past last year’s total, 2021 appears to be the worst year on record for cybersecurity. Phishing was the biggest culprit, with 36% of data breaches due, at least in part, to employee credentials stolen through a phishing attack, 96% of which occur through email.
Ransomware is also running amok. According to recent reports, a staggering 84% of U.S. organizations have reported phishing or ransomware attacks in the past 12 months and the average ransomware payment climbed to $570,000 during the first half of 2021, up from $312,000 in 2020.
Hackers experienced considerable success by taking advantage of the widespread fear and chaos that characterized the early days of the pandemic. They soon realized, however, that increased dependency on digital messaging was fast becoming a fixture of the post-COVID world and responded by refining their tactics and stepping up their attacks.
These threats are also increasingly sophisticated. The most prevalent form of attacks are phishing attempts. Business email compromise attacks and data leaks due to careless, negligent or compromised employees were also extremely widespread.
Yet while all these types of attacks have become more pernicious and are taking place more frequently than they did before, the most troubling variant and the one that’s proliferating the fastest is ransomware.
No bank would ever dream of storing its cash and other valuables outside a timed vault with four-inch-thick steel walls, and no big box store would ever operate
without security cameras. Yet today, even as we continue our gallop toward a digital economy, there are still companies that leave their digital assets unguarded.
This reflects the old mentality that only things with tangible physical value need protection. But we live in a time when, every day, the digital intangibles count
for more. Bitcoins, account numbers, customer contact info and transaction data are the real wealth of today’s society. Data, after all, is now called “the new oil,” which explains why ransomware is such a big threat. And just like we recognize that an unlocked door or window is an open invitation to a thief, we need to realize
that unmonitored email, unencrypted data and untrained employees are just as big an invitation to a cybercriminal who is after assets that are much more valuable.
Don’t allow yourself to be another statistic of cyber crime! Let us evaluate your security risk and give you the best advise on what to implement to keep your investments safe.