It should not surprise anyone if we say that 2021 was one of the most turbulent years ever for the cyber security industry. There were multiple high-profile cyber-attacks throughout the year. Many believe cyber-psychopaths committed the first death caused by a ransomware attack. Companies lost hundreds of billions of dollars to ransomware. The number of publicly reported data breaches exceeded the amount of 2020, and this year is on track to be crowned as the year with the record breaches ever. During the summer Wall Street Journal reported the first ransomware death caused in a hospital in Alabama. Data breaches kept making the headlines coming from organizations of all sizes – medium, small and large. And according to the experts at WatchGuard, 2022 will likely be as turbulent as 2021.
The 2021 showed us that cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure could affect the masses and have real-life implications. Cyber incidents caused gas panic-buying on the East Coast and caused temporary meat supply issues with the biggest meat producer in the world. State-sponsored hackers realize their potential and will likely look for ways to strike critical infrastructure in 2022. Such cyber-attacks are capable of causing a war without firing a single live bullet. Governments should keep an eye on their essential infrastructure facilities, not only in the USA but also in the whole world.
Space cyber attacks
Governments have been very active lately when it comes to space. Less than two years ago USA even founded the United States Space Force (USSF). With so much attention drawn to the outer world, WatchGuard says the likeliness of having a “hack in space” is very likely in 2022. Both private organizations and government agencies are in the space race, and one way or another, hackers may find their way in there too. Some of the satellites traveling around the world are relatively dated, and their ability to hold up to modern-day gear is questionable.
SMS phishing has been around for quite some time. Experts believe there won’t be an exception in 2022. Many believe that the attacks will start being even more sophisticated. Next year cybercriminals will continue to impersonate people to make unsuspecting users click on malicious links. More and more companies rely on messaging apps to communicate with employees. Many people share sensitive information in those messaging apps, so ensuring that mobile phones are well protected is a must. Don’t leave the door open for cyber intruders, and avoid clicking on links that look suspicious. This may cost you a lot, both personally and professionally.
Password-Less Authentication Fails
Many companies, including Microsoft, have started adopting password-less ways to let users interact with services and platforms. As with every new technology, the beginning will not be easy, and the more companies adopt similar ways, the higher the chances of us seeing such practices fail. Of course, pioneers are always to be admired, but sadly are also the ones to blame if things go sideways. It will not be a surprise if, in 2022, we see hackers who somehow find a way to cause damage by bypassing such authentication practices.
Cryptocurrencies and mobile wallets
It appears that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The adoption of mobile wallets will continue, and crypto may eventually even go mainstream. This would undoubtedly continue to attract the attention of cybercriminals. The attacks can come in different forms; users may be prompted to download malicious mobile applications or become infected after visiting an unsecured site. Hackers can be very creative and explore other routes, but the final goal is usually one – to get access to digital wallets. Cryptocurrencies are not easy to track, so stealing this type of funds is even a priority for cybercriminals. In 2022 we will likely see an increase in cyber incidents related to cryptocurrencies and digital wallets.
The upcoming 2022 will be indeed as turbulent as 2021. Will we see more high-profile hacks and attacks on everyday people? Probably yes. Especially with the Covid 19 pandemic continuing to ravage the world, humanity will continue to rely on the internet to conduct daily life. While this may be safer as everyone avoids getting infected by the novel virus, more people going digital would also mean more opportunities for troublemakers wanting to attack.