Technology

2022 Cyber Security Predictions – 5 Years to Plan!

In 2022, protecting your organization from cybercrime should be your number one priority. You’d be astonished to know that supply chain attacks increased by 420% just twelve months into the pandemic. Also, the number of phishing websites reported by Google in 2021 increased from 1.7 million in January 2020 to over 2 million in January 2021.

 As we begin yet another year influenced by the post-pandemic changes such as remote work culture and online shopping, combating cybercrime is inevitable. But, unfortunately, technology is a two-edged sword, and although it simplifies business operations, it also opens the floodgates for data breaching and other forms of cybercrime.

 So, in 2022, businesses must start by ramping up their cybersecurity posture to take on future challenges. Besides that, businesses must also protect third-party data belonging to customers, suppliers, contractors, and other third parties to remain compliant. For example, it is now mandatory in many parts of the world to buy and install at least a cost-efficient cheap SSL certificate to turn on the HTTPS protocol when financial data is being exchanged.

Why is Data Security a concern in 2022?

We live in times of digitization and emerging technologies, bringing together an ocean of opportunities for businesses worldwide. If implemented the right way, these can be highly profitable or just the other way round. However, since these technologies are connected to the internet and work on data-based triggers, hackers attack them to disrupt daily operations or to make a quick buck by selling data that rightfully belongs to someone else. This makes the promotional spending less profitable for genuine businesses and can translate to millions of dollars being lost.

Also, the fact that consumers now shop online more than ever before has led to an increased inflow of sensitive data. Hackers are well aware of this shift in consumer behaviour and look at it as an opportunity to attack vulnerable websites and applications. Furthermore, the remote work culture also added to the troubles, which is evident by the increase in the number of RDP attacks, data security issues, and other data breach incidents. Therefore, it would not be wrong to assume that this trend is likely to continue in the days to come.

Financial Cybercrime

Over 86% of all data breaching is financially motivated and a profit-driven venture, with only 14% being committed as espionage or other nefarious purposes. This explains why the banks and financial services sector is one of the worst-hit, but that’s not it. In the times of the e-commerce boom, customer databases are the treasure trove every hacker is after. Particularly for businesses that accept online payments, which now covers almost every industry — from apparel to wineries.

In the next five years, the popularity of e-commerce and online payments is bound to increase due to its flexibility. This makes it necessary to protect personal and financial customer data transmitted over the internet, which is a public network. As both customers and criminals have access to this network, it is essential to encrypt the in-transit data and keep it accessible only to the intended recipient. 

That is only possible when the data exchanged between the server and the client is transmitted over the secure HTTPS protocol. This is why HTTPS (HTTP+SSL = HTTPS) is mandatory under the GDPR and the PCI DSS guidelines. Businesses of all sizes can purchase SSL certificates to implement the HTTPS protocol. However, it is essential to choose the right type based on the website’s architecture.

Ransomware Attacks Likely to Increase

In the first half of 2021, over a thousand organizations were hit by ransomware attacks, which is bound to increase in the years to come. It is estimated that by the end of 2021, the total losses arising out of ransomware attacks would exceed six trillion US dollars each year. 

Sounds huge? These are pretty acceptable considering that the ransom fee paid per cyber attack has gone up from $5,000 in 2018 to $200,000 in 2020. Ransomware is a data breaching attack that involves the introduction of malware into an ecosystem to infect and control the victim’s IT infrastructure.

This is done with the two-fold intention of stealing data and blocking the rightful owner from accessing it. This feat is achieved by encrypting the databases with malware and charging a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. As losing access to critical data means disrupted operations, the victim usually pays the ransom to regain access.

To create a sense of urgency, threat actors also threaten to leak third-party data, which can create numerous impediments for the business such as regulatory non-compliance, contractual breaches, loss of reputation, etc. Thus, making it one of the most successful types of cyberattacks. The best way to fortify your organization in the years to come is by creating a solid first line of defence, which is possible with a robust AI-based threat detection and response mechanism.

Supply Chain Attacks are going to be a Concern.

The recent Solarwinds attack left the government agencies and even the large corporations baffled. But, unfortunately, this is just one of the many supply chain attacks — a type of cybercrime that involves infiltrating the target’s IT infrastructure through a third party. In 2021 itself, there is likely to be a four-fold increase in the number of supply chain attacks in the European Union region. 

Globally, this type of cybercrime has increased by 650%, and this trend is bound to continue in the coming years. Therefore, a long-term solution would be to implement robust cybersecurity policies and checks to keep the ecosystem and everyone connected to it under control. 

Phishing Attacks could get a little too much.

Phishing refers to the practice of collecting data or compelling the target to do something else under fraudulent pretexts. It could be as simple as collecting highly sensitive personal and financial data or tricking the target into downloading malware into a protected ecosystem. This type of cybercrime is common among corporates and government agencies across the globe.

60% of the attacked organizations have lost data because of this type of cybercrime. This high success rate can be attributed to the calibrated approach adopted by hackers when it comes to launching this form of attack. The key motivator is the financial aspect of it, which has been the key driver in 86% of all data breaches, which have resulted in massive losses.

Over 54 million have been reported as losses in the US alone, and that figure comes from the 241,342 complaints lodged in 2020. Now that’s just one country, and the total annual losses caused by this type of cybercrime is much higher. The reason for its success also lies in the fact that most of these attacks are launched through emails, and almost 97% of recipients are unable to identify the malicious intentions of the sender. So, organizations need to provide regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs to keep their employees and contractors safe.

Final Takeaway

Data breaching will undoubtedly worsen in 2022 and the years to come, which means organizations of all sizes need to focus on data security measures. The only viable solution is a comprehensive cybersecurity infrastructure and policies to complement the same. We have discussed some of the most dreaded forms of cybercrime and how they can be prevented in the years to come. With that in mind, business leaders should have no trouble creating an infrastructure that can stay safe despite the challenging times ahead of us.  

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