Cybersecurity threats increase daily with the advancement of technology and the extensive use of digital media. Cybercriminals have evolved and have come up with more sophisticated cyberattacks over the years. This puts businesses and individuals at risk of losing crucial personal information. Furthermore, cybercriminals siphon funds from small businesses affecting their growth. Some of the most common cybersecurity threats in 2020 include:
- Phishing Attacks
Phishing attacks are social engineering attacks that target online service providers and financial service companies. These digital fraud messages are carefully created to trick people into clicking the links that expose sensitive data or install malware into their computers. Most cybercriminals use phishing attacks since they are easy to pull off and inexpensive. Some examples of phishing attacks are:
- Email phishing
shingEmail phishing is the most common type of phishing attack. The attackers design phishing messages that resemble actual emails from a genuine organization. They legitimize this by using the same logos, signatures, and phrasing. Usually, the crooks create a sense of urgency to the victims by threatening the account expiration. Such pressure makes the users panic and gives out their information to cyber attackers.
- Spear phishing
Spear phishing is more precise and uses email. Criminals who use spear-phishing have access to personal details of their victims, such as their name, job title, email address, and their place of employment. Cybercriminals access the victim’s data by tricking them into clicking malicious email attachments or URLs.
- Angler phishing
Criminals create cloned posts, tweets, and websites on social media to convince people to download malware or give sensitive personal information. Additionally, attackers come up with highly targeted attacks using data posted by people willingly on social media.
- Vishing and smishing
The difference between vishing and smishing is that vishing involves a telephone call while smishing involves sending text messages to the victims. A criminal pretends to be an investigator and informs their targeted victim that their accounts have been breached. They then ask for verifications from their victims, such as payment card details.
These attacks are more targeted as attackers mimic senior executives. A typical example of whaling is when scams use counterfeit tax returns. Criminals value tax forms as they contain crucial information such as bank account information, Social Security numbers, and addresses.
- IoT-Based Attacks
Criminals use IoT attacks by targeting internet-connected smart devices such as laptops, alarm clocks, and Wi-Fi-enabled speakers. These devices are more vulnerable since they are frequently overlooked when applying cybersecurity measures. Additionally, IoT devices are readily available to users who may not take the necessary precautions against cybercriminals.
Crytojacking involves cybercriminals using another person’s computer to mine cryptocurrency without their consent. The criminals send their victims a link in their email, which on clicking loads a crypto mining code on the computer. Cryptojacked systems can significantly slow down business performance since IT workers spend a lot of time resolving the problem.
Cybercriminals send malware to a victim’s systems, which encodes all their data. The criminals then demand a ransom from their victim, failure to which they threaten to destroy their data. This type of cybersecurity threat targets businesses more as they have more money to pay ransoms.
Ransomware attacks have persisted in 2020 since ransomware kits are readily available in the black market. Additionally, the kits are cheap, and hence cybercriminals can easily purchase them.
Deepfakes involves manipulating a video or image of a person through artificial intelligence to show activity that did not actually happen. The use of artificial intelligence for malicious purposes poses a major security threat in 2020, for instance, synthetic identities to commit fraud and major phishing scams. Deepfakes have adverse effects on businesses as they end up losing a lot of money and time in identifying and fixing the cybersecurity threat.
Cybersecurity threats have escalated due to a shortage of cybersecurity professionals who identify loopholes in cybersecurity and rectify them. However, some of the measures that can be taken to combat cybersecurity threats include: using strong perimeter security, using custom anti-phishing solutions to identify malicious emails, and updating the firmware of IoT devices.