The COVID-19 epidemic appears to be the cause of the Great Resignation. As more individuals in the United States receive the COVID-19 vaccination, waves of employees are abandoning their employment. Others are thinking about changing occupations in the future. In April 2021 alone, 4 million individuals left their employment

This large departure of employees will have long-term implications for data security in 2022, especially for smaller organizations. These groups are less likely to offer cybersecurity training because they lack the manpower and resources needed to support these types of initiatives. As a result, they will be particularly impacted by the Great Resignation. The Great Resignation has created a large personnel vacuum, which was already a problem for cybersecurity before the outbreak. According to CyberSeek statistics, there are roughly half a million total cybersecurity job vacancies right now across all disciplines. 

As a result, malicious attacks are mounting to take advantage of this crucial gap in security coverage. The second quarter of 2021 saw a 61% increase in data exposure events compared to the same period the previous year, according to Tech HQ. Not surprisingly, insider threats are a bigger concern than they have been in the past. 

Looking forward to 2022, the labor shortage in IT security is just one factor that we anticipate to impact our field… 

Why Cybercrime Is on the Rise? 

The onslaught of cyberattacks has become relentless over the past two years. Many wonder why cybercrime is increasing so rapidly and with so much variation. The simplest answer may be the truest, which comes down to opportunity with less risk. 

Today’s criminals don’t need to break down the door to invade your business operations. They are getting very good at infiltrating businesses in a far more insidious way—stealing valuable customer, financial and intellectual data. Here, the payoff can be much bigger. Following are just four ways that cybercriminals can benefit from stolen data, containing only a name and address: 

  • Fraudulently apply for loans and credit cards, 
  • Transfer money illegally, 
  • File fraudulent tax returns, 
  • Blackmail and extortion. 

With easier access to valuable data and myriad ways to abuse that data, it is no surprise that hackers will not fade away anytime soon. 

Be on the Alert for these Top 4 Cybersecurity Attack Strategies 

A good strategy to fighting your enemy is getting to know his or her work and methods of attack better. Let’s take a look at the top five cybersecurity attacks, the effects that they have on organizations and what you can do to prevent each type of attack, keeping your data and system secure. 

1. Malware Attacks 

Nearly everyone has probably experienced malware, to some degree, since it is one of the most common types of cybercrime. You will know that you have wandered into malware territory if you see an antivirus alert pop up on your computer screen, usually just after you have clicked a malicious email attachment or visited a questionable website. 

This type of hack is popular among attackers because it gives them a foothold into a user’s computer or worse, a company’s system. The term “malware” covers a range of attacks that include viruses, harmful software and ransomware. 

A few ways to protect your organization’s system from malware attacks is to instruct staff, management and executives to avoid downloading or clicking on any links from unknown sources. You may also technically reinforce your system with a deployment of robust and fully updated firewalls, which will prevent the transfer of large data files over your network. This move can help weed out attachments containing malware. 

2. Phishing and Other Social Engineering Attacks 

Phishing is the cornerstone of social engineering attacks. This type of attack has been around for a long time, and there is little chance of it disappearing from the hacking landscape. Like other social engineering attacks, phishing relies on tapping into and betraying an email recipient’s sense of trust and confidence in their colleagues, industry peers, and friends and family. 

A phishing expedition usually comes in the form of a request for data from what seems like a trusted third party. Sent via email, phishing attacks request that users click on a link and enter personal or organizational information. 

Known as a type of social engineering, phishing attacks prey on a trust-based relationship where the recipient sees a familiar name and instantly clicks. While phishing emails technically fall into the category of spam, they are far more deceptive and, without proper attention, can be very problematic. 

3. Password Attacks 

A password attack involves a third party seeking to gain access to your organization’s system by tapping into a user’s password. Hackers often use a special software that helps them crack passwords, but it is usually their own creation and run on their own system. 

The best way to fend off password attacks is by encouraging your team to create strong passwords that use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Additionally, the password should contain at least eight characters, but in this case, more is better. 

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4. Denial-of-Service (DoS) Attacks 

A DoS attack’s primary goal is to disrupt the service to a network. With a DoS attack, hackers send high volumes of traffic or data across a network until the network can no longer function due the effect of overloading. 

The most common means of using a DoS attack is via a distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which involves using multiple computers to send the heavy volume of traffic or data meant to overload the system. In many cases, the victim does not realize that his or her computer is under attack and contributing to the DDoS attack

A DoS attack is one of the more serious types of hacking events, and it can have serious consequences for the hacker since it involves security and online access for the user and is often a means of protest toward government bodies or individuals. Another reason that these attacks are taken seriously is because hackers often demand a ransom for the return of access to the user’s system. Attackers have been known to receive a sentence for jail time. 

One of the best strategies to prevent these types of attacks is to keep your system secure with regular software updates and online security monitoring. 

What Other Cyberthreats Are Expected in 2022? 

The past two years have presented some of the biggest challenges for security specialists to date. And these challenges were largely unpredictable. But this is what we expect to be on all of our radars for the coming year. 

  • Climate Change and Natural Disasters – One of the growing global risks IT leaders and CIOs face in 2022 and beyond is extreme weather and related fallout to an event like a hurricane, earthquake, or widespread power outage. While not traditionally considered a cybersecurity risk, the accelerating frequency and severity of extreme weather events connected to climate change have taken a devastating toll on businesses and critical IT infrastructure. When disasters occur, staff are forced to work in reduced capacity, readiness procedures and security controls are impaired. This leaves hackers with a larger attack surface and more vulnerabilities to target. Developing a strong information technology disaster recovery program and business continuity plan is essential to avoiding the loss of data if a natural disaster occurs.  
  • New Technology – Tech professionals announced to all of us mind-bogglingly outstanding strides in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Cyberthreats are evolving and AI is as likely to be used to launch attacks, creating a high need for professionals with tech security skills. 
  • IoT – The internet of things presents new challenges, according to Forrester, due to the sheer number of additional data-gathering devices, which are actually more accurately described as sensors in the form of wrist bands or smart meters, available to hackers as potential exploitation portals. 

While each of the recent and emerging advances in technology are generally seen as “social goods,” you may have to deal with one or more of them on some level, in terms of cybersecurity. Each one is likely to come with its own vulnerabilities that you will need to attend to in some way and at some point. 

As you can see, 2022 will be anything but dull. Much of your work will involve coming to understand any impending implications of these innovations, alongside your fellow CIOs and IT leaders across all business sectors. 

How Can You Prepare for the Cybersecurity Threats of 2022? 

  1. Adopt the Skills and Organizational Tools to Meet New Cybersecurity Challenges – As cybersecurity increasingly evolves to include areas like data governance, data science and data analytics, it is important that you have the skills needed to keep up. Data governance can become a powerful tool in that it ensures that you and your team always understand the data for which you are responsible. By analyzing the data, you will have a better idea of where it is stored and its various uses. 
  1. Schedule a Cybersecurity Assessment – Managing a computing system, regardless of the size of a business, has never been more complicated since everyone has become so heavily reliant on the Internet and the cloud. Cybercriminals are aware of this reality, and they never stop working to find new ways to infiltrate your system to hijack your data. Performing a cybersecurity assessment can help you take on the risk-heavy cybersecurity landscape head-on and with confidence. When you hire a professional auditing team to perform your cybersecurity assessment, using the NIST CSF model, you can take a more thorough look at your computing system. You can get all the benefits of the CSF without having to work double-time to learn and deploy it. 

Are You Ready to Defend Your System and Data Against Cybersecurity Attacks? 

Unfortunately, tech-savvy opportunists are not going away anytime soon, so you have to prepare your organization’s system for every potential cybersecurity attack. Our cybersecurity team at I.S. Partners, LLC. can get you up to speed on the attacks here and many others. More importantly, we can help you develop a multi-pronged strategy to streamline your cybersecurity efforts. 

Call us at 215-631-3452 or request a quote to speak directly with a consultant. We can work together to give your computing system a clean bill of health all throughout the new year. 

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