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A Look At 2021 Hacking Trends Inherited From 2020

Published: November 26, 2021 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

With the price tag for cybercrime set to hit $6 trillion globally this year, 2020 provided a massive and historic spike in cybercrime that continues today. The pandemic alone provided the environment for a cybercrime explosion. What we’re now seeing are improvements to the cybercrimes of last year, making them more effective and devastating than ever. Cybersecurity experts find last year’s attacks exposed weaknesses in our systems that continue to provide criminal opportunities today. They also believe those attacks having to do with remote work, cloud breaches, lack of cyber education, and the advent of 5G will combine to make 2021 a year of cybercrimes we won’t soon forget.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Gathered through various studies, the statistics below provide insight into what we’re up against in the fight against cybercrime.

  • 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error

  • 64% of Americans have never checked to see if they were affected by a data breach

  • Personal data was involved in 58% of breaches in 2020

  • Data breaches exposed 36 billion records in the first half alone of 2020

  • 86% of breaches were financially motivated

Hacking Trends for 2021

Email phishing continues to grow year over year, with these attacks providing over 80% of reported security incidents and an incredible $17,700 lost every minute. Email phishing in general relies on a recipient to believe and trust the message and sender, and then act on it. The tricks they use are many, so be vigilant about verifying they are trustworthy before acting on them.

Ransomware and malware attacks will increase to $20 billion this year, with an organization falling victim to a ransomware attack every 11 seconds in 2021. Ransomware enters a system and encrypts, or locks, all of the data it holds. A ransom is demanded to unlock and return the data to its owner. Malware attacks come in a wide variety of forms, including banking trojans, spyware, worms, bots and botnets, adware and much more. It’s important to remember that 94% of malware is delivered by email, making being on the lookout for phishing critical.

Other attacks like those targeting the internet of things (IoT), that includes the devices, services, supply chains, and more that are connected via the internet. Virtually every second, the amount of interconnectivity increases, and these connections can be attacked and exploited in a variety of ways.

Improve Your Online Security

  • There are steps to take toward a more secure online environment. Improved cybersecurity is crucial to help thwart potential attacks and these basic tips are an important start in that direction.

  • Use a change-password policy whenever possible since passwords are the start of many attacks

  • Use multi-factor authentication to bolster identity security

  • Apply security patches as soon as they are available

  • Keep systems updated with the latest software versions

  • Backup system data on a regular basis

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