Top Cybersecurity Threats to Guard Against in 2021

cybersecurity threats

About 90% of cybersecurity experts have seen an increase in attacks over the past year. The attacks have become more sophisticated as cybercriminals are using the fear and uncertainty regarding covid-19 to trick victims into compromising systems.

The pandemic forced many organizations to reorganize their work processes in order to accommodate the new normal. This gives hackers more opportunities to perpetrate cyber attacks against businesses and employees.

The lockdown and work-from-home options instituted for safety reasons have caused an unprecedented rise in the use of cloud services and remote networking tools.

From distance learning to social connection with loved ones, and seeking online entertainment, all these activities increase the chance of being exploited online.

We have compiled a list of cybersecurity threats that organizations and employees should expect in 2021 so they can be better prepared for it.

1. Business Compromise

A successful hack is not just about discovering vulnerabilities in applications or software. Cybercriminals can also find loopholes in business processes to steal company funds. This form of attack is expected to increase in this new year.

Operational weakness in an organization’s processes such as procurement could allow an unauthorized party to inject themselves into the system to divert a company’s resources.

They do this by tricking employees or high-ranking officials to include an attacker-controlled account in the company’s automatic invoice book.

This exploit requires deep knowledge of the business control process to pull off and attackers are motivated by the potential reward.

2. More Cloud Attacks

Cloud adoption has been boosted by the covid-19 pandemic. This change in business IT infrastructure has not gone unnoticed by cybercriminals. Small businesses usually lack the resources to have a dedicated cloud security team for monitoring and securing their cloud resources. This may result in misconfiguration which is the major cause of cloud security breaches.

Cybercriminals will continue to target cloud-based services and storage to find vulnerable targets. A hijacked cloud system may be used to deploy system-wide exploits to steal data and cause disruption.

3. Phishing With Pandemic

Cybercriminals use the latest incidents for phishing campaign themes. Major events are often used to trick victims who are trying to respond to an uncertain situation.

While employees scramble to adopt new technologies and devices for work, hackers are designing phishing schemes to infect businesses and hijack servers. The stress associated with lockdown, the relaxed environment of a home also make it more likely for employees to fall for malicious phishing links related to covid-19 or to deploy ransomware on victims’ PCs.

4. Mobile Payment Apps

Mobile payment apps offer convenience for paying for goods and services and receiving funds. Attacks against mobile payment systems are expected to increase as hackers take advantage of increased mobile payment adoption and the ease of successful scams against victims.

Scammers would also exploit rising technologies such as QR codes. With the aid of social engineering to gain access to a business’ data by distributing malicious QR code apps. This attack can result in stealing business owners’ data as well as customers’ information databases for further attacks.

5. More Fileless Attacks

Cyberattacks that don’t generate new files will become more popular in 2021. This form of exploit uses existing system tools such as Windows PowerShell as backdoors to gain system privileges. Malicious payloads are downloaded and run directly in the hijacked computer’s memory.

Since no files are saved on the target system, traditional security software is ill-equipped in tackling this kind of threat. This attack will increase against businesses as it lets cybercriminals operate undetected on target machines.

6. Increase Targeted Attacks

It is common for hackers to engage in indiscriminate mass campaigns in hopes of scoring a few successes. However, this approach is riddled with uncertainty. For this reason, a custom approach where attackers carefully select their victims is gaining momentum.

Even though this method requires more time to research victims, the payoff is enough to offset cybercriminals’ time investment.

A bad actor can discover a lot about your organization and management from the company’s website, social media, and employee posts on forums. This information makes customizing attacks in spear-phishing campaigns easier. A target may easily be tricked into installing malware because the attackers sound familiar and know their online routines.

7. User Devices Target

Even with the security policies in place in many organizations, hackers still exploit vulnerabilities in user’s devices and connected networks. In an informal setting such as the home, cybercriminals can find more attack opportunities to compromise employees and business devices.

Employees working outside an organization premise may use devices that aren’t probably updated and secured. They may also be less concerned about cyber threats. These factors increase the risk of being compromised and sensitive business data stolen from them.


Organizations must continue to monitor the ever-changing threat landscape driven by the sophistication of cybercriminals. A holistic IT strategy that combines elements of firewalls, antivirus, backups, device management, and employee education is needed to counter cyber attacks.

Get in touch with us at SDTEK to discuss cybersecurity options to protect your business against cyber threats in 2021.

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