Cybersecurity criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and cyber threats continue to grow in size and impact.
2021 saw a breathtakingly large number of high-profile cyberattacks, ranging from Microsoft Exchange, where the email accounts of 250,000 organizations were compromised globally, to Apple supplier Quanta, which fell prey to a $50 million ransomware attack. Other victims included Colonial Pipeline, which was shut down, and Kaseya, which was the target of a $70 million cyber ransom attack.
Cyber attacks threaten industries worldwide in 2022, with frequent targets including small businesses, healthcare systems, government agencies, financial institutions, and energy and utility companies.
Unfortunately, cybersecurity threats are not going away in 2022. This blog covers the top eight cybersecurity threats to be aware of this year.
What Is a Cyber Attack and What Happens When One Occurs?
A cyber attack is an attack launched by cybercriminals who use one or more computers to target single computers, multiple computers, or entire computer systems. Cyber attacks can be responsible for any number of crippling and potentially devastating scenarios, including disabled computers, stolen data, the inability to offer services or monitor activities, and even physical damage.
Many cyberattacks are crimes of opportunity, where criminals spot vulnerabilities in a computer system’s defenses and then exploit them. Those vulnerabilities could include flaws in website coding that allow criminals to input their own code and bypass security, and it could also include malware, which is software specifically designed to damage a system.
Other attacks take the form of “phishing,” which occurs when criminals obtain personal information through false pretenses. Meanwhile, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks use vast amounts of website traffic that are sent to a system in order to crash it. Finally, there are ransomware attacks, where cyber attackers gain access to a computer system, take it over, and demand ransom payments before handing access back to the original owners. Ransomware attacks in recent years have targeted companies large and small and even entire school districts.
Recovering from a cyber attack can be a long and difficult process, and this highlights the need for businesses and even individuals to have a disaster recovery plan in place that anticipates likely losses as well as having insurance in place and a dedicated IT team looking out for your best interests.
Understanding Cybersecurity Threats in 2022
With the methods of cybercriminals constantly evolving, it makes sense to be aware of the current cyber threats. Here are the top eight cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2022:
1. Phishing Is Becoming More Sophisticated
As organizations and employees become smarter at identifying phishing attacks, criminals are upping their game. Now they may use machine learning to more quickly create and send out convincing fake messages in the hopes that recipients will unwittingly enter sensitive data that allows criminals to access a computer system.
2. There are Fewer Cybersecurity Pros
The labor shortage has impacted nearly every aspect of our economy, including cybersecurity. Companies have struggled to hire enough qualified cybersecurity professionals to keep systems safe, with millions of job vacancies globally.
3. Ransomware Attacks are Evolving and Targeting New Victims
Ransomware attacks are hugely successful for many criminals, with the total loss in 2021 estimated in the billions of dollars. While larger organizations have been the primary victims so far, attackers are seen to move down the pecking order, targeting mid-sized companies and even individuals with high net worth.
4. Cryptojacking Is Surreptitiously Using Computers to Mine For Cryptocurrency
Cryptojacking is an emerging criminal trend where bad actors hijack home and work computers and put them to work mining for cryptocurrency. When this happens, it can cause severe computer performance issues and costly downtime, and while computer performance is obviously degraded, spotting the cause of the problem can be difficult.
5. Attacks Are Including Not Just Cyber Damage but Also Physical Damage
Cyberattacks that cripple physical infrastructure are growing in impact. These crimes include attacks on public infrastructure and even military systems.
6. IoT Attacks Are Exposing Vulnerable IoT systems
With more and more small systems working in larger Internet of Things networks, the opportunities for criminals to exploit the vulnerabilities of small tools then attack larger networks are growing.
7. Attacks Are Targeting Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records
Hospital and patient care systems are rapidly employing smart and connected new electronic health record (EHR) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems to speed and improve care. With so much sensitive patient data now stored on cloud-based or local internet systems, this presents a huge opportunity for cybercriminals and a threat vulnerability for healthcare providers.
8. Attacks On Connected Cars and Semi-autonomous Vehicles Can Disable Vehicles
Recent headline-grabbing events showed how criminals can hack into a new vehicle’s onboard computers and take control and wreak havoc. With so many new cars now connected to the internet, this presents more opportunities for hackers to find cracks in systems and steal sensitive data or even harm drivers and passengers
Cybersecurity Is a Growing Problem of Global Concern
Cybersecurity is topping the list of concerns for businesses in 2022 and with good reason. With so much at stake, and so many other threats to business operations and profitability, even small cyberattacks can have huge ramifications. Protecting critical infrastructure, IT, personal information, and more is not easy – smart companies will move into the year with a strong ally at their side.
Partner With Pros Who Are Looking Out for Your Best Interests
Symplicity Communications is your trusted expert in the new and quickly evolving world of business technology. Symplicity offers a range of services including cloud services, unified communications, security solutions, engineering and design managed services, and technology expense management, all designed to streamline your operations, help you scale easily, and watch your back so you can look ahead.
To learn more about how Symplicity Communications can help guard you against these emerging cyber threats, schedule a free consultation.