As experts continue to discover sophisticated technologies daily, their consumers, mainly organizations, are prone to cyber threats. Occurrences of such threats can be attributed to two significant factors; Threat attackers are continuing to be more innovative and external factors such as COVID-19.
During the pandemic, according to recent stats, 70% of Americans have adopted working from home. This trend is likely to continue as the pandemic seems to move even further. Although working from home offers immense benefits, they also put organizations’ data at risk.
In this article, we’ll walk you through five existing security threats that you’re likely to confront in 2022. Then the ways to mitigate them.
Let’s get going!
WHAT ARE THE MOST PROMINENT SECURITY THREATS?
Unfortunately, in 2020, phishing will continue to be a concern for Business Organizations. It is a technique that uses email, text messages, or hyperlinks in websites that entice the potential victim to provide confidential information such as usernames, passwords, and social security numbers.
Threat attackers then use this information to gain access to a corporate network to launch a Cyberattack. In most instances, the email appears to be from a legitimate user that lures the victim with a clickbait subject line, including legitimate-looking links, download attachments, business names, and logos.
In the pandemic, phishing attacks have also escalated by 51%, based on a survey conducted among IT professionals. Therefore, opening an illegitimate email could cost an organization a hefty sum.
Like phishing, ransomware attacks have been rising in the past year, up to 75%. In ransomware attacks, a threat actor locks the victim’s computer by encryption methods. Then block its access until the victim pays a ransom fee to the attacker in virtual currency.
The victim must either pay the ransom by a deadline or risk losing data associated with the device. In recent years, ransomware too has seen various advancements.
On such prominent advancements is the rise of “double extortion”. In this scenario, ransomware groups steal sensitive information instead of merely encrypting files and demanding ransom. If the victimized organization fails to pay, the attacker posts the data online and sells it to the highest bidder.
As more organizations attempt to shield their internal systems with advanced security measures, attackers respond by focusing their efforts on less-protected potential vulnerabilities.
At present, since more workers have shifted to working remotely sans proper protection mechanisms, it has created a broader atmosphere for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in such environments.
Additionally, the channels that connect to IoT devices are less protective than devices in a controlled IT environment. Protocols used in IoT devices could also lead to security issues compared to protocols in a typical computer network.
On the other hand, web apps used by IoT systems, for example, may be used to steal user passwords or to distribute malicious firmware upgrades.
SMS BASED PHISHING (SMISHING)
To the naked eye, smishing may fall under the broad phishing category. Well, it isn’t the case, and there are critical differences. The first and foremost notable difference is that phishing occurs via online emails, while smishing occurs through SMS text messages.
It is initiated when a user opens a text message sent by a threat attacker and click on a link or an attachment in that message. Some prominent examples of smishing attacks include :
- A message claimed to be a form of a reputed organization requesting you to click on a link or provide confidential information.
- A message claiming to be from your bank insisting you provide social security number or any other confidential information such as passwords
- A delivery courier requests that you plan a package delivery.
WHY ARE THE ATTACKERS DIVERTING AWAY FROM PHISHING AND TURNING TO SMISHING?
This really is the case because most email programs, such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook have robust algorithms for identifying phishing emails and forwarding them to the spam folder.
As a result, most ordinary users do not appear to detect phishing emails.
On the other hand, anybody can open a text message.
Since most organizations use databases hosted in servers to store information, Database exposure is and continues to will be a huge risk in 2022 as well. Organizations’ databases usually host confidential information such as social security numbers, financial information, and password details.
Database exposure can occur in several ways. Two main ways are attackers using social engineering methods to rob login credentials to a database. Another method is the use of malware to gain such access.
Then, using this personal information, an attacker can mask like a sales representative for a company and send you with email contacting what appears to be a legitimate link or an attachment. Users are likely to open this email as it contains their personal information, which would ultimately cause a disaster.
HOW TO MITIGATE THESE CYBERSECURITY THREATS?
No one solution fits all the above security threats that could be overwhelming. Your organization needs to create a Cybersecurity policy that outlines guidelines for protecting your devices, including Operating Systems, firewalls, browsers, strong passwords, and data protection. One strategy could be, if your database is hosted in the cloud, you could make it private rather than public.
You can also mitigate most of these threats using the purple team framework, which could detect the majority of the dangers. Another viable option would be to assess your situation with the MITRE attack framework.
Moving on to 2022, we hope you have a thorough awareness of the security dangers you are likely to face in 2022. As attackers get more sophisticated by the day, it is always worthwhile to educate oneself on such security threats.
Furthermore, attackers often take advantage of the most advanced technological breakthroughs, such as IoT, where defenses appear to be minimal. However, if you educate your employees, develop security standards, and take other precautions, hackers will find it difficult to target you.