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From a cybersecurity point of view, 2021 was not a very good year. It started with a big move to contain the SolarWinds cyberattack and is ending with record highs in ransomware attacks.
Organizations in all parts of the world have had to make unusual efforts with a hybrid workforce that presents continuous security problems stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, skills shortages, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and relevance. of cryptocurrencies for cybersecurity, among others.
What will be the challenges to overcome in the matter of cybersecurity in 2022?
The empire of ransomware
An analysis by SILIKN’s research unit noted that there were around 640 million attempted ransomware attacks as of the end of September 2021, so this number is forecast to approach 890 million attempts by the end of the year. In the banking and financial services sector in Mexico alone, attempted ransomware attacks increased by more than 2,500% in 2021.
What have been and will be the sectors most vulnerable to ransomware in 2022?
As we know, ransomware has become one of the fastest growing areas of cybercrime in recent history. It should be noted that in 2021, there has been a ransomware attack every 10.2 seconds.
The figure for ransomware damage in 2021 is estimated to be around $ 32 billion in losses. And unfortunately, the damage figure from ransomware attacks is forecast to reach 299 billion per year by 2030, with attacks every 1.8 seconds.
It is important to mention that the current reports have different data (in part because many of the companies victims of ransomware attacks did not report such incidents) so it is difficult to know the exact data of the affected organizations. But according to the SILIKN research unit, 57.8% of organizations in Mexico have suffered a ransomware attack and experienced an average of nine days of inactivity, during 2021. And although the general figures may have certain variations, It is true that ransomware is expected to explode next year.
The sectors most affected by ransomware in 2021 (and it is estimated that there will be no major changes by 2022) are:
- Government: 22.9%
- Financial services: 18.7%
- Health services: 15.3%
- Education: 12.4%
- Technology: 7.9%
- Manufacturing: 4.7%
- Retail – Retail Sales: 3.1%
- Other sectors: 15.0%
Usurpation of corporate identity
While much attention has been focused on ransomware this year, one of the trends we’ll see a lot more in 2022 is website cloning and online fraud issues. Consumers and brands are being defrauded by cyberattacks that are generated abroad. The scammers target well-known brands, be they banks, tech companies, or even cryptocurrency, in the hope that the consumer won’t realize that the link they are clicking takes them to a clone of the real website. Thinking they are in the right place, the consumer enters their login and other sensitive information, leading to credential theft, account acquisitions, and bigger problems.
Tackling website cloning requires an offensive attack. Organizations will need to use cybersecurity tools that can identify scams as soon as they materialize and shut them down before they reach consumers, employees, or other online users.
Insiders continue to be an alert for organizations
In 2020, employees stayed home to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19 . In 2021, many employees will be staying home because they want something more, something their jobs don’t offer.
Cybersecurity that was already dealing with the skills gap and millions of job vacancies is now affected by the Great Resignation , whereby people change jobs taking their knowledge with them. Whether it’s an early retirement or a change to less stressful jobs or careers, organizations will be tasked with filling a widening knowledge gap, and it should be a top priority.
Innovation and training of the dark side
A crucial point to consider for 2022 is the readiness and innovation of cybercriminal groups to develop, distribute and execute ransomware . Unfortunately, criminals are better trained and financially motivated to carry out these attacks.
Cybercriminal groups operate in a structured way. In addition to the fact that, unlike authorities and governments, there is no bureaucracy and they share information, methodologies, tools and tend to support those who know less about technical issues.
Since the FBI, NSA, Interpol, Europol among other agencies are on the hunt for cybercriminals who attack large corporations, governments or critical infrastructures of the most developed countries, criminals will take advantage of this to carry out larger, more frequent and more sophisticated attacks against organizations. in Mexico, where cybersecurity is still a slow-moving issue.
In 2022 we will see an exponential increase in ransomware attacks against small and medium-sized companies ( SMEs ), especially those located in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Also the RaaS model will allow more and more criminal gangs to operate and grow their operations in different parts of the world. It is estimated that Latin America will be one of the most attacked regions in 2022.
Both the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Development Bank have pointed out that cybercrime has managed to surpass drug trafficking at times – both in scope and in profits – for which it is forecast that 2022 will be a complex year for the authorities of around the world as we would be seeing more and more alliances between drug traffickers and cybercriminals.
The worst cyber threats, contrary to what appears in the media and social networks, are not ransomware , DDos attacks, social engineering or phishing. The worst cyber threat is the ability of cybercriminal groups to operate, organize, attack, learn, understand, share and be much better prepared than authorities and governments.
That’s the real threat: the ease with which cybercriminals operate from anonymity and apply all their expert knowledge to perform malicious acts. Understanding how these groups of cybercriminals work is critical to stopping them.