Let’s face it: 2020 isn’t the best of years. Not only were we hit by a once-in-a-century pandemic, but scoundrels thought nothing of turning a bad situation worse by using COVID-19 for their phishing scams.
This just goes to show that cyberthreats will always be with us, be it during good times or ill. Still, fortune favors the bold, and luck favors the prepared. This means that we must look into recent developments and discern trends that may carry over into the future.
With our feet on the ground and hope in our hearts, let’s look at cybersecurity threat predictions for 2021.
Increase in cybercrime
The ubiquity of mobile devices, rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and shift to remote work have all greatly enlarged the space that organizations need to protect against data breaches. What’s worse, low-level hackers can purchase malware kits from the dark web to launch ransomware attacks, while high-level ones use bots to automate their assaults. In other words, if cybercrime is a business, there is plenty of opportunity, and the barrier to entry is getting lower and lower.
Back in 2016, Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that the world economy would lose up to $6 trillion to cybercrime annually by 2021 — and current analyses indicate that this prediction remains accurate.
What can be done about this trend? Since the barrier to entry into cybercrime is a function of technological advancement, there’s nothing we can do about it. However, what we can control is how much of an opportunity we present to cybercriminals. According to Accenture, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses, but only 14% of these businesses have taken the necessary defensive measures. In short, when it comes to launching and growing a company, greater priority must now be given to cybersecurity as opposed to treating it as an afterthought.
The cybersecurity skills gap is growing in the US and around the world
The sudden shift to work from home setups meant that cybersecurity specialists gained the additional responsibility of ensuring that remote workers can fulfill their tasks securely. Additionally, the pandemic provided a rare opportunity for cybercriminals to scam even more people. All in all, the demand for cybersecurity professionals increased, but supply lagged behind.
To compensate for this shortage, companies are turning to AI-powered solutions. AI makes managing the broad scope of cybersecurity more feasible via automation, and machine learning empowers AI to become proactive with its defense strategies. An excellent example of an AI-powered cybersecurity solution is Graphus’s automated phishing defense. As soon as it is deployed, Graphus does the following:
- Identifies valid business relationships of your employees
- Creates trusted profiles as a baseline for distinguishing suspicious email content and attachments
- Learns more about what constitutes normal behavior around email to better recognize new threats as they emerge
Cybersecurity personnel will become more diverse
Even with AI becoming more viable for cybersecurity functions, the need for human cybersecurity workers remains great. As mentioned above, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is increasing. This pulls up salaries for cybersecurity jobs, making it very attractive to all demographics. And thanks to efforts that promote STEM education to girls and underrepresented minorities, more women and persons of color are filling up cybersecurity positions.
Diverse cultural backgrounds and lived experiences provide unique perspectives that bolster problem-solving capabilities and foster innovation. With cybersecurity being a field of one-upmanship between defenders and offenders, having better problem-solving skills and being more innovative are exactly what companies need to stay ahead of cybercriminals.
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