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In the Midst of COVID-19, We’re Seeing a Pandemic of Cyber Attacks

In the first quarter of 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is still wreaking havoc around the globe. The coronavirus is continuously evolving and presenting new challenges.

In addition to the direct effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also saw a sharp rise in cybercriminal activity. From simple phishing attacks to one of the largest DDoS attacks ever recorded, we saw the cyber threat landscape evolve and grow.

At the same time, we also saw a rapid growth in the tech and cyber security industry. From the roll out of 5G in many parts of the world to exponential growth in the SaaS industry, we saw the pandemic put many positive changes into full gear as well.

We believe that these challenges, and the changes that they brought about, will not stop. The effects of this pandemic on the tech industry will be long lasting. Moreover, some of the challenges introduced in 2020 will affect cybersecurity well into 2021, and even beyond. As we move deeper into 2021, here are some of the cyber security trends that we see:

Cybercrimes Will Experience a Surge

Last year was a busy year for both attackers and hackers as well as cybersecurity personnel defending against the plethora of attacks to which they were subjected. With an election year in the United States in 2020, we saw a rise in anti-government cyber activities, a prominent example of which was the attack on FireEye, allegedly by a foreign nation state sponsored entity, where multiple tools were stolen for use in attacks later on.

In 2021, such attacks will not just be more frequent, but they will also be very specific regarding who they target. International cyber espionage will be one of the main motivators for cyber attacks and we will see security vendors being attacked and compromised at an even greater pace. Even the attacks that happened in 2020, like the FireEye attack or the Sunburst attack, that targeted the SolarWinds supply chain,  will have long lasting effects. We have only seen the beginning of these attacks. Investigators suspect, for example, that up to 250 organisations may have been compromised in the SolarWinds attack. Actual results are yet to come.

Such attacks will not only create opportunities for newer attacks, or variants/branches of the existing ones, but will also drive cybersecurity innovation in 2021.

The Intelligent Edge will be Weaponised 

One of the major innovations driven by 5G is the implementation of multi-access edge computing (MEC). Building intelligence into the edge will boost the availability and efficiency of 5G networks. However, keeping the global cybersecurity trends in mind, we can see that the intelligent edge might be hijacked by attackers for launching different kinds of attacks, both on the mobile core networks as well as on victims outside of the realm of the service provider that has been compromised. If nothing else, MEC can be used for propagating malware into different networks for drone recruitment in IoT botnets. Read Full Article >

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