Sunday, October 17, 2021

2021 and Beyond: Dramatic Cybersecurity Incidents in the Offing

The wide-spread cybersecurity incidents of the past decade are reminders for decision-makers about the imminent threats and importance of cybersecurity. The concluding months of 2020 underscore the severity of nation-state cyberattacks, leaving the internet community and the world shocked.

The latest breaches were a direct attack on governments, their critical institutions, and large corporations. These attacks have sent shockwaves across government agencies and multiple industries. The events accentuate the manners in which the threat landscape is changing to become even more savage in the years ahead. 

As a matter of fact, the huge data breaches of the past 10 years provide a moment of reconsideration and reckoning for all of us. Looking at the evolving threats with clear eyes and committing to stronger collaborations between the technology sector and the government is the need of the time. 

While government and corporate leaders understand the importance of cybersecurity, the high-profile attacks and evolution of a sophisticated risk landscape indicate how much more has to be done in the years ahead. 

Given the following scary incidents in the cyber world, the government, technology, and cybersecurity sectors have to be on a war footing.

Equifax

One of the biggest credit reporting agencies, Equifax, experienced a shocking data breach in 2017. The attack lasted for 78 days. 

The breach happened due to Equifax’s failure to apply timely patching to its Apache Struts web application framework. The outcome: more than 163 million people’s personal information siphoned and $1.7 billion in financial damages for Equifax.

Yahoo

In 2014, Yahoo fell victim to the largest data breach in history. The threat actors stole personal data, including the email address, date of birth, and phone numbers, of 500 million users. The company revealed details about another attack from 2013 in which 3 billion users were affected. 

Marriott International

The world was shocked when hackers got access to 500 million Marriot customers’ personal data from 2014 to 2018. According to the NY Times, a Chinese state-sponsored group carried out the attack with the intention to collect US citizens’ data.  

The Threats are Bound to Evolve

According to the WEF’s Global Risks Report 2021, cyber risks continue to rank among the global risks. While the COVID-19 pandemic has catalyzed the adoption of new technologies, the failure to prepare for the risks and the security loopholes in technologies have paved the ground for more severe and large data breaches.

For 2021 and beyond, it is vital to elevate cybersecurity as a strategic business area and establish a close alliance between regulators, decision-makers, cybersecurity providers, the corporate sector, and critical industries to counter the imminent threats. 

Experts agree that cybersecurity risks are becoming more challenging and sophisticated. Below are some of the threats that cybersecurity experts want you to be prepared for in the years ahead:

  • Adopting new technologies, more digitalization, and excessive dependence on software and cloud infrastructure will invite more ransomware attacks and data breaches.
  • Disintegrated and sometimes conflicting regulations can weaken cybersecurity protection. Companies have to deal with sophisticated rules while safeguarding themselves against possible attacks.
  • Excessive dependence on third-party vendors will expose more organizations to severe cyber risks. Case in point: SolarWinds’ hack!
  • Rapid migration to the cloud will make organizations vulnerable to new and more complex security threats. 
  • Security risks emanating from the failure to monitor insider threats will witness a spike.
  • Mergers and acquisitions will result in network compatibility and integration issues, which threat actors can quickly exploit.
  • Many extensive Internet of Things (IoT) hacks will happen, some of which will make headlines.
  • Ransomware will become worse, and mobile devices will be attacked in complex ways.
  • Cybercriminals will continue to target large corporations to steal data using new, sophisticated methods.

Given how cyber threats are set to evolve and how the risk trends are changing, now is the time for organizations to transition to a more proactive cybersecurity posture. Companies and governments worldwide have to become more flexible, more adaptive, and more collaborative to save the world from the next wave of the most dangerous cyber attacks.

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