Astounding growth of Cybercrime in 2021

As organizations around the world continue to trudge through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cybercriminals keep coming up with even more menacing ways of dragging them down. According to research conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures, cybersecurity experts have predicted that cybercrimes will cost the global economy $6.1 trillion annually by 2021. With the pandemic serving as a catalyst, cybercrime is expected to soon become the world’s third-largest economy.While the ongoing pandemic has forced an unprecedented number of people to work from home and forgo the security of a well-developed IT infrastructure, cybercriminals have marked the unwary employees as the target of choice. Organizations were compelled to innovate and adapt so swiftly that the security didn’t get enough time to catch up, leaving businesses vulnerable to the cyber threats looming across the horizon.

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Statistics on Current Cyber Threat Landscape

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden transformation to remote work culture, cybercrimes have risen like never before and are expected to rise even more as we move towards 2021. Following are some outrageous statistics showing just how severely these cyber attacks are affecting the global economy:


  • As per the research conducted by Cybersecurity Ventures, within months of the first lockdown due to the pandemic, more than 4,000 malicious COVID-related sites popped up across the internet.
  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, a cyber attack incident will occur every 11 seconds in 2021. This is nearly twice the rate in 2019 (every 19 seconds), and four times what it was in 2016 (every 40 seconds).
  • As per Cybersecurity Ventures, Cybercrime is expected to cost the global economy $6 trillion annually by 2021, as compared to $3 trillion in 2015. This will soon make it the world’s third-largest economy, after the United States and China.
  • Cybersecurity Ventures predicted that ransomware damages will cost the world $20 billion by 2021which is 57 times more than what it was in 2015 ($325 million). This makes ransomware the most rapidly growing kind of cybercrime.
  • According to Cybersecurity Ventures, 91% of cyberattacks are launched through spear-phishing emails, which infect the organizations with ransomware.

What can Organizations do to Stay Secure?

As the rise in cybercrime is showing no signs of slowing down, it is essential for organizations to take the necessary precautions to avoid suffering any losses. The three most critical aspects of any organization include its people, processes and data. By focusing their resources on protecting these three elements, organizations can arm themselves against all kinds of prevalent and emerging cyber threats.

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Protecting People:

The best way of protecting your employees against cyber attacks is by educating them about the prevalent cybersecurity threats. Owing to cybersecurity unawareness, employees can unintentionally cause data breaches, leaving your company at risk. A report has revealed that implementing cybersecurity awareness training amongst employees significantly reduces human error, mitigating up to 90% of cyber risks.


With the dramatic increase in cyber risks due to the transformation to remote work culture, providing your employees with cybersecurity awareness training has become more important than ever. An organization cannot protect its finances, assets and reputation from cybercriminals without spreading awareness amongst its employees.


Protecting Processes:

It is essential for an organization’s IT department to continually monitor, review and update all organizational processes. Employees should be made aware of the consequences of installing applications or software in their systems without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.


Any known vulnerabilities should be constantly monitored by the organization. Companies can provide protected and locked systems to the employees working remotely. This can be an effective way of restricting them from installing any malicious software.


Protecting Data:

An organization must have a firm grasp on the data that it holds, processes and passes on. As per a recent study, companies share sensitive and confidential information with more than 500 third parties. The first and foremost step an organization should take is to conduct an inventory and ensure any information is shared strictly on a need-to-know basis.

Secondly, make sure to encrypt all sensitive data including employee information, all business data and customer information. This ensures that the data becomes useless in case it falls into wrong hands. Also, always create regular backups of all your data and store it securely outside your network.


As the rise in cybercrime is showing no signs of slowing down, individuals and organizations alike are equally at risk. Therefore, it has become extremely important to take the necessary precautions and keep essential cybersecurity tips in mind for defending yourselves and your organizations against these threats.

Ransomware attacks: 40% surge in Q3 2020

This year cyber attacks have increased many folds as compared to previous years due to new security challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The third quarter of the year has seen a huge surge in ransomware attacks. Globally, a total of 199.7 million ransomware attacks have been reported in the third quarter of 2020. 

According to cyber security experts, ransomware attacks have increased 40% to 199.7 million cases globally in Q3 of this year. Below we have mentioned some staggering statistics which will give you an insight into the present situation:

  1. The US observed 145.2 million ransomware hits in Q3, which is a 139% year-over-year increase.
  2. The cyber security researchers have detected new ransomware, Ryuk, with 5,123 attacks in just Q3 2019.
  3. Ryuk ransomware attacks have increased to 67.3 million in Q3 2020, which is 33.7% of all ransomware attacks this year.
  4. Though ransomware attacks have gained pace this year, malware attacks have fallen significantly. Cyber security researchers have recorded 4.4 billion malware attacks in a year-over-year comparison through Q3 – a 39% drop worldwide.
  5. The experts have detected a 30% rise in IoT (Internet of Things) malware attacks with a total figure of 32.4 billion attacks globally.


The above data shows a considerable decrease in malware attacks but that does not imply the disappearance of malware attacks. Because, this is just a recurring downturn that can easily adjust itself in a short amount of time, as per a cyber security report.

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The Strategy Behind Ransomware Attacks


Ransomware is a form of malware that is installed into victims’ computers through malicious emails. It encrypts the victims’ data for which victims need the decryption key. The cyber attackers demand ransom, which can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, payable in Bitcoin, for the decryption key.


There are a number of attack vectors through which ransomware can gain unauthorized access into victims’ databases. One of the most prominent ways used to access victims’ computers is phishing emails and email attachments. Cyber criminals make these emails look trustable and trick the users to open them. Once these emails are opened and attachments are downloaded, the attackers take over the victims’ computers.

Five Protective Actions Against Ransomware Attacks

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By following essential preventive measures, you can easily keep the ransomware attacks at bay. All you need to do is to be careful about what you perform on your computer. Let’s walk through some “must follow” cybersecurity practices:

  1. Avoid clicking untrustable links: Never click on suspicious or untrustable links, attached in unsolicited emails.
  2. Build your data-backup: Create a separate data-backup in an external hard drive that is not connected to your computer, so that you don’t have to pay the ransom if a ransomware attack happens.
  3. Don’t disclose your personal information: Never disclose your personal information if you receive any call, text, or email which is asking for your personal details like banking information or any account information. Always verify the source of those contacts as cybercriminals steal personal data first to misuse it for malicious campaigns or financial frauds.
  4. Use content scanning and filtering software: It is advisable to use content scanning and filtering software on your mail server to prevent a ransomware attack. The software helps in reducing the likelihood of a malicious email reaching your inbox.
  5. Security awareness program for employees: As an organization, you would always want to secure your confidential data from all types of cyberattacks. Therefore, it is important to conduct a cyber security awareness program among employees that will disseminate detailed knowledge of attack vectors and how to reduce the chances of ransomware attacks.

Employee Attraction towards Cyber Attacks

With the rapid development in technology and ever-increasing internet users, cyber security plays a critical role in every industry. Securing the IT infrastructure in an enterprise helps in maintaining smooth workflow and consistent business operations.

In recent times, cyber crimes have become extremely sophisticated and threat actors have come up with new ways to obtain access to an organization’s systems and sensitive information. All throughout 2020, everyone was battling to overcome the onslaught of challenges brought by the pandemic.


However, cyber criminals saw an opportunity and wholeheartedly exploited the panic and chaos caused by the pandemic to fill their own pockets. And these criminals took no time to launch back to back cyber attacks during the pandemic.

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These threat actors left no stone unturned to target the vulnerable companies that weren’t prepared to support a remote workforce securely. As a number of well-established companies became victims to various cyber attacks, 2020 witnessed several security incidents making the headlines.


Since companies are not willing to compromise with the health of their employees, remote working is expected to continue in 2021 and beyond. But the question is, how do companies survive the fight against cyber crime and secure their employees while overcoming the challenges posed by COVID-19?


Cyber Risks and Lack of Security Awareness Among Employees

Often organizations focus on upgrading the hardware and technologies to stay protected against cyber threats. In doing so, organizations spend millions of dollars on the latest security patches and upgrades. But just like our computers, humans store, process, and transfer information too.


Yet, if you compare the amount of time and money an organization spends on securing its computers and other electronic devices to the resources it focuses on securing its employees, you’ll see how huge the difference is!


Organizations typically invest a lot in installing antivirus and spyware software as well as upgrading the operating systems, applications, and browsers. Additionally, every company has help desks, support teams, and security technical teams to maintain all this software and hardware. But how much does an organization spend on securing employees? Very less.


Cyber security has become a massive issue in both private and government institutions. Looking into the core of the issue, it is not really about the technology or the systems. Technology and systems have become increasingly secure over the years.


Employees are the actual issue. Even though it is unintentional, most cyber attacks are caused by human error, whether it is a careless click on an unsolicited link or an innocent downloading of a corrupted file.


How to Fix these Cyber Security Loopholes? 

hacker attack every 39 seconds-min - Cybint

It may sound controversial, but the security teams are the last line of defense within an organization. Even though these teams face many cyber security challenges, it is the employees who form the first line of defense.


According to a report by IBM Security, human error is the main cause of 24% of all data breaches.


Therefore, it is imperative for every organization to train the employees to be aware of the prevalent cyber threats. This does not mean that organizations should implement such heavy security measures that will just create chaos and difficulties for the employees.


Rather, every organization should come up with a solution that makes the day jobs as easy as possible for the employees while making their IT infrastructure as secure as possible.


Here are some effective measures you can take to secure your organization:


  • Discover:  Start looking from a risk management perspective. Find out if there are any flaws in the organization’s cyber security framework. Conduct services like VAPT to discover and identify the loopholes within your organization’s network and IT infrastructure.


  • Practice healthy cyber hygiene: Implement basic cyber security protocols. Enforce a strong password policy, enabling multi-factor authentication for verification, using secure Wi-Fi, encrypting sensitive data, and regularly updating the systems with the latest security patches.


  • Lookout for malicious links: Think carefully before clicking on a link or downloading an attachment from an unknown source. An email can sometimes be from a threat actor impersonating a trusted individual. To protect yourself against malicious actors impersonating your email domain, set up tools like KDMARC and defend your domain against forgery.
  • Set up a firewall: As the name suggests, a firewall is a wall between the computer and the internet. It acts as the gatekeeper for all incoming and outgoing network traffic. Setting up a firewall protects the internal networks of your business against cyber threats.
  • Update on the latest risks: Keep up with the latest cyber hacks and threats news. It helps your organization stay up-to-date with the latest cyber security-related news. It also provides you with the cyber security preventive measures that your organization can adopt to avoid becoming a victim.
  • Train Employees: Educate employees to recognize social engineering attacks such as phishing, vishing, smishing, etc. To be more aware of the cyber threats evolving around the world and how to react when needs arise.


The Ultimate Solution to Make Employees Cyber Secure

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There are several steps an organization can take to protect itself against cyber threats. However, it all comes down to how strong is your organization’s first line of defense – the employees. It has become essential for organizations to provide cyber security awareness training to their employees.


You can opt to educate your employees with tools that offers the most effective security awareness training materials. The tool generates awareness amongst employees about the common cyber threats wreaking havoc around the world.


The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

Cybersecurity has continued to be a major issue throughout 2019 and as organisations begin to rely even more on IT, it remains a serious concern. While most companies are by now aware of how important cybersecurity is, many have yet to implement the necessary measures needed to adequately protect them. In this post, we’ll look at what security threats 2020 is likely to put in their way.

1. Lack of cybersecurity education

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

Perhaps the biggest cyber threat to any business is the lack of knowledge and understanding within a company about cybersecurity. Today, the digital revolution is affecting the working practices of employees throughout companies big and small. With more and more employees using connected technologies as part of their everyday jobs, it is more important than ever to ensure all staff are aware of what cybersecurity risks they face and how they can work in a way that will enhance security.

In 2020, expect to see more organisations putting cybersecurity strategies into place that include ongoing training for staff on the latest technologies and threats and, importantly, letting them know how to work responsibly and respond to incidents.

2. The threat of data breaches

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The enormous value of personal data to the criminal underworld means that data is a principal target for hackers. As a result, the threat of a data breach will continue to be one of the biggest issues that businesses will face in the coming years. This means companies will need to ensure personal data is secure end to end, from the moment it is sent to them to its safe disposal. The use of SSL certificates, encrypted data storage, logical access, password management and the rapid patching and updating of web applications is vital in this area.

For those who succumb to a data breach, tough fines, reputational damage and even lawsuits await.

3. Skills shortages

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats for 2020

The complex nature of cybersecurity means that increasing numbers of organisations are employing the services of highly-skilled, security experts. Unfortunately, as these professionals are in short supply, there is a considerable skills gap in many companies just at the time when the need is the greatest.

In response, many companies are now implementing the use of intelligent, automated security tools that use advanced technologies to scan and block attempted intrusions, infections or other forms of attack like DDoS. These services can often be delivered by your service provider.

4. Leaky clouds

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The majority of enterprises use the cloud for at least part of their IT solution and it is increasingly becoming popular as the place to store data and run operational processes. However, its popularity has not been kept a secret from cybercriminals and the number of cloud-based threats has continued to rise.

In 2020, companies will need to maintain the security of critical data and make sure they have real-time threat intelligence in place, to minimise the risk of data breaches or critical operations being taken offline.

5. Mobile device risk  

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For many employees, the smartphone is now an essential work tool used not only to access the company system but to store important data. This puts organisations at risk from poorly secured connections, mobile malware and device theft. It is critical, therefore, that all mobile devices that can be used to access the organisation’s systems are secured. One solution is to ensure access is carried out via a secure web app.

6. IoT vulnerability

Top 10 IoT vulnerabilities | Network World

Mobiles aren’t the only remote devices that are vulnerable to attack; perhaps even more at risk are the IoT devices which have proliferated in use over the last few years and on which many organisations increasingly rely. They present a plethora of potential vulnerabilities that organisations need to protect themselves from, such as insecure wi-fi connections, hard-coded credentials, unverified firmware and unencrypted data. In addition, a compromised router or network attached storage server gives an attacker access to data and can serve as a platform to launch more attacks. In 2020, organisations which use the IoT will need to look carefully at how to ensure these vulnerabilities are protected against.

7. Rogue states

Rogue state | Military Wiki | Fandom

It is not just cybercriminals that are out to steal data and cause chaos, unfortunately, some governments are at it too – and these rogue states will have more advanced technologies, IT expertise and financial backing than the average hacker.

While cybercriminals are usually financially motivated, state-sponsored attacks can have a number of purposes, such as causing major security breaches to undermine companies, taking critical services offline using a DDoS attack, industrial or political espionage, spreading fake news to influence elections and even taking those who oppose them offline.

State-sponsored cybercrime is the new cold war and while major companies, public utilities, defence and political organisations are particularly at risk, all organisations need to be aware of their risk of attack and how to protect themselves.

8. Intelligent malware

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The war between cybercriminals and cybersecurity teams isn’t being carried out simply by the human brain anymore. Both camps are now using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning as tools in their armoury. Unfortunately, this means that cybercriminals are now able to create extremely sophisticated malware and methods of attack and at a pace that cybersecurity companies are finding challenging to deal with. It may only be a matter of time before one of these stealthy attacks strikes with devastating effect.


In 2020, cybersecurity will continue to challenge organisations big and small. We’ll see persistent risks like data breaches remaining high on everyone’s agenda, while the development of new technologies brings new threats, such as intelligent malware and IoT vulnerabilities. As companies expand their use of IT, we’ll also see a need to protect the cloud and mobile devices while ensuring that there are highly skilled IT experts driving security strategies and educating everyone else how to stay secure.

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