Hackers can expose your personal information or even shut down your entire business operations for any number of hours or days. The growing sophistication of these attacks has led various organizations to clamp down on cyber criminals—the back and forth affair defining the cybersecurity trends we’re experiencing today.
Security deficiencies are costing for-profit and nonprofit organizations billions of dollars in losses. Plus, with companies shifting to remote work since the pandemic began, they have become more vulnerable to attacks from hackers. If you are one of them, it follows that you should keep a close watch on the emerging trends in cybersecurity. In this article, we’ll be presenting the top cybersecurity trends and how they have been reshaping Internet privacy and IT security.
Cyberattacks are now the fastest growing crime on a global scale. Financial losses from cybercrime exceed the total losses incurred from the global trade of all illegal drugs. Hence, it comes as no surprise that individuals and organizations operating on the web live in fear of potential hacking scenarios and data breaches. Aside from financial losses, such forms of cyber attacks can lead to reputation damage as well. Consumer data, when compromised, can subject businesses to strict regulations and costly settlements.
Half of these cyberattacks are targeting small businesses that usually don’t have sufficient cybersecurity measures to protect themselves from such threats. Based on a 2020 survey, the most common cyber attacks experienced by US companies are phishing (38%), network intrusion (32%), inadvertent disclosure (12%), stolen/lost device or records (8%), and system misconfiguration (5%) (BakerHostetler, 2020).
Stolen/lost device or records%
Source: BakerHostetler, 2020Designed by
That being the case, companies are actively spending their IT budgets on any of the IT security available. As we see exponential advancements in technology, cybersecurity also evolves and matures in its ability to take down cyber threats and attacks. In the following sections, we’ll delve into the latest trends in cybersecurity and how they are affecting businesses and other organizations.
As cyber threats become more aggressive each day, businesses and organizations take major steps to strengthen their security measures. For many establishments, cybersecurity awareness is essential to prevent costly identity theft and network hacks that can destroy any company or individual’s reputation. Apart from implementing firewalls and sophisticated IT protocols, companies now deem it important to augment the capabilities of their IT personnel via seminars and the like. After all, 80% of data breaches can easily be prevented by practicing cyber hygiene (Cyber Observer, 2020).
What drives cybersecurity awareness forward is the growing number of people unaware of most cyberattack methods. A report by Infosec indicates that about 97% of the people in the world cannot identify a phishing email, while 1 in 25 people click such emails, thus, falling prey to cyberattacks (Infosec). Aside from this, cybercriminals now resort to more advanced and high-tech forms of phishing and malware infections.
In turn, cybersecurity awareness could help prevent the onslaught of threats and attacks. Some organizations have started to implement the combined use of web- and classroom-based methods and visual aids for cybersecurity awareness training and promotions. On top of this, companies now create policies focusing on how employees handle and share confidential corporate data.
Phishing attacks are currently the most pervasive security threat to the IT sector, with many still falling victim to phishing emails. Since cybercriminals use more advanced methods to create well-executed business email compromise attacks (BEC), phishing emails and malicious URLs remain prevalent on the web, except that they are now highly localized, more personalized, and are geo-targeted.
According to the 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report of Verizon, 32% of the data breaches last year involved phishing activities (NIST 2019). Thus, experts see targeted phishing to become more prevalent in the coming years. It is also important to note that 2020 alone saw more than 60,000 phishing websites and 1 in every 8 employees shares information on a phishing site (Security Boulevard, 2020). That being the case, businesses are starting to adopt and invest in comprehensive security awareness programs. Also, organizations are implementing simulators that can explain and recognize emerging phishing patterns and the modus-operandi of these cyber attackers.
Source: Payments Source
Failing to combat cyber threats in the healthcare sector exposes many individuals and organizations to all sorts of liability and security issues. This led to hospitals and health organizations investing more in cybersecurity. In 2019, the value of the healthcare cybersecurity market was 9.78 billion and this is projected to rise to $33.65 billion by 2027 (GlobeNewswire, 2020). Taking into account the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare sector, experts predict that the market might reach $125 billion as early as 2025 (Cybersecurity Ventures, 2020).
Data breaches are among the leading cybersecurity trends in healthcare. From 2015 to 2019, 157.40 million of healthcare records were exposed (Healthcare, 2020). According to IBM, data breaches like this in the healthcare industry can cost organizations an average of $7.13 million in 2020 (IBM, 2020). As a result, healthcare organizations now pay more considerable attention to their digital security requirements. In turn, this drives considerable growth for the cybersecurity market in the healthcare sector.
However, amid the Coronavirus outbreak, some healthcare organizations temporarily relaxed their firewall rules to make it easier for staff to work from home. Many also needed to expand telehealth services and erect temporary medical facilities that bypassed some of the security diligence protocols of vendors or lacked the usual security infrastructure present in established hospitals.
These figures show that cyberattacks in the healthcare sector are far from being stopped. Data breaches present a continuing threat to health organizations as sensitive information about businesses, employees, and patients remains the top target of cybercriminals. According to a survey by the law firm BakerHostetler, US health systems and hospitals account for about a quarter of cyberattacks in the country.
In cybersecurity, the role of machine learning (ML) is growing and has now become more proactive. With ML, cybersecurity becomes simpler, more effective, and, at the same time, less expensive. From a rich dataset, ML develops patterns and manipulates them with algorithms. This way, it can anticipate and respond to active attacks in real-time.
This technology heavily relies on rich and sophisticated data to produce effective algorithms. The data must come from everywhere and represent as many potential scenarios as possible. Implementing ML, thus, allows cybersecurity systems to analyze threat patterns and learn cybercriminals’ behaviors. These help to prevent similar attacks in the future and also reduces the amount of time needed for cybersecurity experts to perform routine tasks.
With the help of the best cloud management software solutions, more and more businesses and organizations are migrating to the cloud. However, most cloud services right now do not offer secure encryption, authentication, and audit logging. Some also fail to isolate user data from other tenants sharing space in the cloud. Therefore, IT security professionals see the need to tighten cloud security.
Poor configuration of cloud security can lead to cybercriminals bypassing internal policies that protect sensitive information in the cloud database. Accordingly, security in the cloud is progressing into predictive and innovative security to combat cyber attackers.
Predictive security is becoming useful in identifying threats before attackers begin their move. It can pinpoint attacks that pass through other endpoint security. As a result, businesses are implementing predictive security cloud, with the market gaining a 261% ROI for over three years now (VMWare Carbon Black, 2019). Meanwhile, some sectors have also resorted to leveraging multi-factor authentication to reinforce security.
Technology and software37%
Banking & finance32%
nsurance and legal20%
Source: Techrepublic, 2019Designed by
The general data protection regulation, or GDPR, is one of the most significant developments in data privacy regulation across the European Union (EU) nations. But while the law has EU origins, any company that is marketing goods or services to EU residents need to comply with the new regulation regardless of their location. Consequently, GDPR is having an immense impact on global data protection requirements.
GDPR imposes a uniform and consistent data security law on all EU nations. This eliminates the need for each member state to write their data protection law. GDPR, thus, provides more consistent protection of consumer and personal data of EU residents. Although it protects only EU citizens, the law affects all businesses and organizations targeting the European market.
As the law is fairly new, some are still not ready to become GDPR-compliant. As of June 2019, only 28% of companies are able to achieve compliance—a far cry from the 78% of organizations that were hoping to be compliant by 2018 (Help Net Security, 2019). Nonetheless, organizations around the world are gradually applying changes and restructuring to comply with the new law.
Up to 10% decrease in email list size41.5%
More than 25% decrease in email list size23.8%
No effect on email list size19.1%
10% to 25% decrease in email list size15.6%
Source: LitmusDesigned by
Cybersecurity is now among the top priorities of those in the higher education sector, especially with the rise of online learning and remote work in pandemic times. Cybersecurity trends in higher education primarily involve compromised student data. Just this year, three private universities fell victim to a cyberattack that involved the hacking of student admission data (Inside Higher Ed, 2019). This called the attention of those in the higher education sector to actively promote tighter security for the protection of student, faculty, and research data in the institution.
Security Scorecard’s 2018 Education Cybersecurity Report pointed out that in terms of cybersecurity, education comes in last out of the 17 industries in the US (Security Scorecard). Furthermore, the report indicates that the higher education sector is performing poorly in patching cadence, network security, and application security. This is even more alarming as 11% of attacks on US educational institutions are motivated by espionage (Verizon, 2019).
Fortunately, as the number of cyberattacks targeting higher education grows, institutions are now moving towards a new security architecture that includes post-perimeter security on endpoint protection, access to the cloud, and identity information.
Security issues keep plaguing most IoT devices dominating the market today. Computing devices embedded in IoT products allow for sending and receiving data over the Internet. This poses significant security threats to users, exposing them to cyberattacks like DoS or hijacked devices. As IoT connects the virtual space and the physical world, home intrusions are adding to the list of the scariest possible threats that IoT brings. In fact, a report by Symantec reveals that infected routers accounted for 75% of all IoT attacks that occurred in 2018, whereas connected cameras accounted for 15% of them (Symantec, 2019).
As such, IoT devices are presenting vast opportunities for businesses and cybercriminals alike. Despite the ongoing threats, the Boston Consulting Group’s marketing analysis indicates that enterprises are still on their way to invest more than $267 billion in IoT tools in 2020 (Forbes). This is in line with a more recent report that showed the education industry spent 11.9% more on IoT in 2020 than in the previous year (Help Net Security, 2020).
Source: Help Net Security, 2020
These days, nearly everyone uses smart mobile devices—66.6% of the world population as of 2021, to be specific (DataReportal, 2021). Most leading ecommerce software and platforms are accessible through mobile platforms. Cybercriminals, however, see this as an opportunity to target mobile users and use mobile devices as attack vectors.
Mobile devices are becoming a great channel of opportunity for cybercriminals as users continue to use their mobile devices for personal and business communications, as well as banking, shopping, flight, or hotel bookings. These devices became targets of cyberattacks. According to the RSA’s 2019 Current State of Cybercrime whitepaper, about 70% of fraudulent transactions originated from mobile platforms, with popular mobile attack vectors including malware, data tampering, and data loss (RSA, 2019).
The financial services sector is another industry facing cyber threats daily. It also doesn’t help that some financial organizations are still struggling to keep pace with cloud migration and the increasing number of regulations. Phishing attacks remain prevalent in the financial services sector, but it’s no longer just via emails. Phishing through social media and other messaging platforms is now among the cybersecurity trends in financial services.
Aside from phishing attacks, the most common threats faced by insurance companies, banks, and asset managers include malware attacks and data breaches. A report by Boston Consulting Group revealed that financial services firms are 300 times more prone to cybersecurity attacks than businesses in other industries (BCG, 2019). Moreover, cyber attacks on financial institutions spiked by a massive 238% from the beginning of February to the end of April 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic (Infosecurity Magazine, 2020). Attacks now cost the banking industry $18.3 million per enterprise (Security Boulevard, 2020).
Source: CB Insights
No one exactly knows what the future holds for the cybersecurity arena and many sectors are still figuring out how to fortify their networks in the middle of the chaos and uncertainties of the pandemic. But these latest trends provide us with insights into what we can expect in the years to come. What’s clear is that IT security software developers and admins would be busy for years to come.
Sure, popular ecommerce platforms make it easy for businesses to establish their shops online. However, they expose many people to security threats too. Attacks like phishing, malware, and data breaches will not end soon. It gets harder to keep cybercriminals down. When it happens, they usually display resilience, getting back with a vengeance using more advanced types of attacks.
With most businesses establishing their operations in cyberspace, a tight security system is not just an option—it is a must-have if you want to ensure fool-proof protection for your company and your consumers. Identifying critical attack areas and anticipating possible attack scenarios can help you avoid becoming a victim of such attacks. And in case you’re looking for the perfect security software for your company, we compiled the best IT security software companies currently available.
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