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Watch Out for These Three Cyberthreats in 2021

Avaddon ransomware, Microsoft and Fortinet flaws, apt

The unexpected crisis in 2020 impacted almost every business globally. The turmoil resulted in several changes in the traditional business operation models. Even cybercriminals changed their attack vectors with innovative hacking tools and techniques. Threat actors launched creative social engineering scams and phishing attacks by leveraging the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Rudra Srinivas, Feature Writer, CISO MAG

Many organizations experienced security incidents in 2020. Here is a glimpse of threat areas that could change in the year ahead and become troublesome for businesses in the coming years.

1. Weaponized AI/ML for Advanced Cyberattacks

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) becoming more prevalent in organizations, cybercriminals are also considering advanced AI tools to launch sophisticated cyberattacks. Threat actors often misuse advanced technologies to create new kinds of malicious operations. According to a research from the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Europol, and cybersecurity firm Trend Micro, cybercriminals are rampantly leveraging AI to spread a wide range of digital threats for ill purposes.  It is said that AI systems are being developed to enhance the effectiveness of malware and disrupt anti-malware and facial recognition systems.

2. Evolving Social Media Attacks

Threat actors are not limiting their social media-based attacks just for the sake of user credentials. Compromised social media accounts are used to tamper with elections, disinformation campaigns, and to spread fake news. Social media attacks could become more prevalent in 2021 if users continue their poor authentication practices. According to a report, nearly 48% of the U.K.’s CEOs deleted their social media accounts and erased their personal information online. It is also found that four-in-five CEOs (around 80%) have changed their online behavior fearing cyber risks.

3. Illicit Trading of Human Identities

Cybercriminals are known to pilfer users’ personal data and trade it on various hacking forums. According to an investigation, stolen users’ personal information like credit card details, online banking credentials, social media logins, and malware codes are put up for sale on several darknet forums at really low prices ranging from $12 and $70.

A Silver Lining

As cyberthreats emerge, so does our collective responsibility to safeguard the digital space.  To alleviate disastrous losses, most organizations across the globe are looking forward to enhancing their security measures to build malware defense mechanisms. After the pandemic forced businesses to go virtual, it became a challenge for organizations to protect their distributed work environment.

Recently, a security research highlighted that COVID-19 boosted security investments in the industry. Amid growing cybersecurity risks during the pandemic and the fear of compliance audit failure, most of the CISOs stated that boards are in plan to step up their cybersecurity budgets. Nearly, 90% of organizations are increasing their digital transformation budgets amid the pandemic.

At a time when every organization is thinking of improved cybersecurity, we wish the coming year witnesses even stronger security standards, making it near difficult for cybercriminals to survive.

About the Author


Rudra Srinivas is a Feature Writer and part of the editorial team at CISO MAG. He writes news and feature stories on cybersecurity trends.