What’s the Greatest Cybersecurity Threat for 2021?
By The Fullstack Academy Team
Fullstack reveals its top five cybersecurity predictions for 2021. Featuring CEO and Co-Founder David Yang and Lead Instructor Veer Dedhia.
The number of cybersecurity threats continues to grow. As one example, Forbes reports a 600% increase in attacks on cloud servers from January to April 2020. At Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp, we believe one way to make the world safer is by raising awareness. Because of this, during Cybersecurity Month, we’re asking our community to join our discussion on cyber threats for 2021 through the #2021CyberCrimeChallenge.
Challenge: What do you think is the greatest cybersecurity threat in 2021?
We’re asking experts and those within our cyber community to contribute. For those unfamiliar with cyber threats, we aim to introduce the risks of cyber crime and the ways one can protect themselves and get training. The more participants the better, as it will provide more opportunities for emerging cyber professionals to add their own points of view and network.
What is the greatest cybersecurity threat of 2021? #cybersecuritymonth
— Fullstack Academy (@fullstack) October 21, 2020
We’ve tweeted out this question—add your own to the conversation!
For students, we’ve found that emerging cyber professionals can increase their odds of career success by getting involved in cyber and infosec conversations on social media. Why? Especially in the cyber sphere, thoughtful conversation leads to networking which can lead to jobs.
Potential Cyber Risks in 2021
Are you a beginner who needs more insight into the cyber landscape before making your prediction? We’ve got you covered. Read below for five cybersecurity threats we anticipate in 2021. Feel free to pull from these to make your own prediction, or use them as a launch pad to research other risks.
Five Risks in 2021
There’s an endless list of cyber threats out there and cyber crimes always evolve. In 2020 at the corporate level, Forbes reports a 238% rise in cyber attacks on banks. At the individual level, crimes from serious threats like ID theft to smaller but surprising threats like pet scams are rampant—for example, the Better Business Bureau reports that currently up to 85% of “breeders” posting pictures of puppies for sale on sites like Craigslist are scammers.
Of the many threats that may affect the world in 2021, we’ve nailed down five that we think will be especially impactful in the upcoming year.
- Evolution of Ransomware Strategies
- IoT Attacks
- Physical Attacks on Autonomous Vehicles
- Evolution of Deep Fakes
- Shortage of Cyber Professionals
Evolution of Ransomware Strategies
According to Michelle Moore, PhD, at University of San Diego, “Ransomware attacks are believed to cost victims billions of dollars every year, as hackers deploy technologies that enable them to literally kidnap an individual or organization’s databases and hold all of the information for ransom. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is credited with helping to fuel ransomware attacks by allowing ransom demands to be paid anonymously. As companies continue to focus on building stronger defenses to guard against ransomware breaches, some experts believe hackers will increasingly target other potentially profitable ransomware victims.”
In an October 2020 article, The Wall Street Journal reported this is already happening in a new sphere: K-12 schools. “Many K-12 schools that recently returned to virtual instruction handed out devices to students and teachers while trying to prevent computer networks from crumpling under a surge in use. Now, as this unique school year unfolds, attackers are circling.” The article reports that at least 289 districts across the U.S. have been affected by cyber crimes this year.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is another top threat according to Michelle, as more and more devices are becoming connected. “Connected devices are handy for consumers and many companies now use them to save money by gathering immense amounts of insightful data and streamlining businesses processes. However, more connected devices means greater risk, making IoT networks more vulnerable to cyber invasions and infections. Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can be used to create havoc, overload networks or lock down essential equipment for financial gain.”
Hacking home security systems and baby monitors has been documented for years, but threats are extending to newer devices like pet cams. You can learn more about these scams as well as other IoT cybercrime in this recent episode of Breaking into Cybersecurity.
Evolution of Deep Fakes
What are deep fakes? Norton gives the following definition: “Deepfake is a combination of the words "deep learning" and "fake." Deepfakes happen when artificial intelligence technology creates fake images and sounds that appear real. A deepfake might create a video in which a politician's words are manipulated, making it appear that political leader said something they never did. Other deepfakes superimpose the face of popular actors or other celebrities onto other people's bodies.”
Deep fakes could cause endless mayhem as they’re becoming more and more advanced and thus more difficult to identify. An example of the recent evolution was shared by Fullstack Cyber Managing Director Mark Davis. You can see for yourself—are you able to distinguish the deepfake from reality?
Physical Attacks on Autonomous Vehicles
According to a recent article in PhysicsWorld, although self-driving cars may improve safety and save lives, “the same technology exposes human passengers to new and untested varieties of cyber-threats and risks. Recent studies have shown, not surprisingly, that hacking increases the likelihood of collisions and life-threatening hazards….Any car built with devices that connect to the Internet is vulnerable to a hack, but the threat to autonomous cars is particularly high because computers control so many functions.”
In addition to physical safety concerns, experts are worried cybercriminals will hack into the vehicle’s computer systems to steal personal data and track the location or the driving history of these vehicles. Examples of potentially hackable surfaces on autonomous vehicles are shown below.
Shortage of Cyber Professionals
Mark wrote about the severe cyber shortage in a recent blog post He quotes Jeanette Manfra of the Department of Homeland Security who says that the lack of cybersecurity talent is a national threat. According to Jeanette, “It’s a national security risk that we don’t have the talent regardless of whether it’s in the government or the private sector. We have a massive shortage that is expected to grow larger.”
This is a fact that’s well-documented. For example, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, there will be an estimated 3.5 million cyber jobs by 2021. The best way to fight this is to train a new generation of cyber professionals quickly.
Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp developed its condensed, immersive programs to meet that need. If you’re interested in starting your own journey in this lucrative career, check out our full-time and part-time options.
A little about Fullstack Cyber Bootcamp: we’re part of New York City’s CyberNYC initiative, we’ve provided our free beginner workshops to over 500 individuals through our Intro to Hacking and Cyber OnRamp programs, and graduated 116 students from our Cyber Bootcamp into professional cybersecurity roles at Accenture, The New York Times, the IRS, and more.