After a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic upended the way we live, work and socialize, we are likely to see an increased threat from ransomware and fileless malware in 2021, according to the latest trends report from ESET. Cybersecurity Trends 2021: Staying secure in uncertain times explores the predictions of experts from the global cybersecurity firm, revealing the key challenges expected to impact consumers and businesses in 2021.
Trend #1: The future of work – embracing a new reality
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in mass implementation of remote working, which has seen a heavier reliance on technology than ever before. This shift away from the office has brought benefits for employees, but it has also left companies’ networks vulnerable to attack.
Trend #2: Ransomware with a twist – pay up or your data gets leaked
With ransomware attackers seeking greater leverage to coerce victims into paying, as well as upping the ante in ransom demands, the stakes are increasing for victims. Exfiltration and extortion may not be new techniques, but they are certainly growing trends.
Tony Anscombe, ESET Chief Security Evangelist, commented, “Companies are becoming smarter, deploying technologies that thwart attacks and creating resilient backup and restore processes, so the bad actors need a ‘Plan B’ to be able to monetize their effort and build resilience into the attack, rather than being reliant on a single form of threat.
“Thwarted attacks or diligent backup and restore processes may no longer be enough to fend off a committed cybercriminal who’s demanding a ransom payment. The success in monetizing due to a change of technique offers cybercriminals an increased chance of a return on investment. This is a trend that, unfortunately, I am sure we will witness more of in 2021.”
Trend #3: Beyond prevention – keeping up with the shifting sands of cyberthreats
In recent years, cybercriminal groups have turned to using increasingly complex techniques to deploy highly targeted attacks. Some time ago, the security community began to talk about “fileless malware” attacks, which piggyback on the operating system’s own tools and processes and leverage them for malicious purposes. These techniques have gained more traction recently, having been employed in various cyberespionage campaigns and by various malicious actors, mainly to hit high-profile targets such as government entities.
Trend #4: Bad vibes – security flaws in smart sex toys
With new models of smart toys for adults entering the market all the time, research has shown that we are a long way from being able to use smart sex toys without exposing ourselves to the risk of a cyberattack. Now these findings are more relevant than ever, as we are seeing a rapid rise in sex toy sales as a reflection of a global health crisis and the social distancing measures related to COVID-19.