Cybersecurity Risks to Face in 2021 (How Safe is Working From Home?)

All businesses, regardless of their size, face cybersecurity risks that tend to evolve or “mutate” when a solution to them has been applied. For example, malware attacks such as worms, viruses, and Trojan Horses. They have been around for decades now, yet some computers today since encountering them. And when you open an infected file without a clue of its danger, all your files will be compromised, especially if you don’t have a firewall or any sort of cybersecurity software.

It seems that as cybersecurity advances, threats progress along with them. Businesses had a particularly tough time last year because of the new cybersecurity challenges the pandemic has bought. A “cyber pandemic” also occurred, involving ransomware, data breaches, healthcare attacks, and most notably, the SolarWinds data breach.

This year, experts still predict the usual threats, such as malware attacks, phishing scams, and weak passwords. But there are also more unique threats, which may put work-from-home employees, in particular, at risk.


Top Common Cybersecurity Risks

1. Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are the biggest and the most widespreadcybersecurity threat small businesses face. In 2019, they’ve grown to 65%, accounting for over$12 billion in business losses. Phishing scams occur when a hacker poses as a trustworthy contact, sending a link via email that will supposedly redirect you to a legitimate website, usually an online banking site. The hacker may claim that you need to change your password because you’re under threat – ironically – and if you follow their instructions, they’d now have your credentials, allowing them to use your online banking account without your knowledge.

Phishers may also send a malicious file attachment. If you open it, you’ll unknowingly grant them access to your network, where they can steal sensitive and confidential data.

2. Malware Attacks

Malware encompasses a variety of cybersecurity threats, including worms, viruses, Trojan Horses, spyware, spam, and also phishing. These threats usually come from malicious downloads, spam emails, and infected external devices, like USBs.

Once malware invades a computer, the device may become crippled and unreliable. And like phishing, malware may also grant access to hackers. Work-from-home employees or any employee using their personal device for work are more at risk for malware attacks since home Wi-Fi networks are usually weaker in security.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is also a type of malware. It encrypts company data, preventing organizations from accessing or using them. As the name states, the hacker will demand a ransom before they give back the data to the company.

Attackers know that small businesses are more likely to pay the ransom since their data is often not protected. Ransomware looms in the healthcare sector, locking patient data and concealing appointment schedules, forcing them to close down until they receive the ransom,

4. Weak Passwords

Even if your files are protected in the cloud, hackers can still access them if your passwords are easily guessed. The quickest solution is, needless to say, a stronger password, but companies may benefit more by using a business password management technology. This helps employees manage passwords in their different accounts, providing tips on whether their passwords are strong or weak. In addition, companies may also install a multi-factor authentication tool, which will send a code to an authorized user’s phone in order to prove that they’re the one accessing the cloud.

Predicted Threats for 2021

Security industry companies predicted 21 cybersecurity threats for this year.Among those are privacy issues, persistent phishing, worms affecting home networks, attackers warming VPNs and RDPs, ransomware, and supply chain attacks.

Simply put, they’re still the same common threats we face but adaptedfor the work-from-home setting and new protections employed by companies. We can trace all these threats to social engineering, on which 88% of all hacking attempts are based. Social engineering is the ability to hack a company or private network on the human level and steal sensitive information. It basically attacks the person instead of the computer, since it’s impossible to protect the human brain with a firewall or any other antivirus software.

So instead of breaching security from a computer, hackers may simply converse with humans through email or phone. They will capitalize on people’s natural desire to help and trust easily. This is exactly the approach hackers use to send phishing links and files.

Hence, aside from using strong passwords and installing impenetrable cybersecurity software, companies should also back up their files in the cloud, using fortifying tools such as Microsoft Office 365 OneDrive Backupor the like. Backing up files will prevent losses, accidental deletions, and corruption so that even if a threat looms or takes place, companies will not have much to lose. They can deal with the hacker fast, without losing their data and experiencing infected networks.

Companies should also advise their employees to strengthen the protocols of their home WiFi. And of course, they must implement a policy that all work-related files must be saved in secure cloud-based storage. Hackers wouldn’t stand a chance as a result, even if they managed to access a home Wi-Fi network.

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