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Security threats in 2021 and what you can do about them

Published: January 4th, 2021 By: Steve Proctor

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The past year has been an unpleasant rollercoaster ride that has forced businesses to adapt quickly to new, and in many cases, strict rules and limitations. Amid this global “readjustment,” there have been many developments in cybersecurity that demand close scrutiny. Fortinet has provided a clear view of these developments in its Cyber Threat Predictions for 2021.

One rising threat coming into sharp focus in  2021 involves cyber-criminals leveraging the current uncertainty and the shift to a distributed workforce to launch attacks on an unprecedented scale.

Security specialists are unanimous in their belief that cyber-criminals who have been very busy in 2020 taking advantage of the shift to remote work, will continue to launch phishing, vishing and ransomware attacks focused on the habits and common behaviours of employees working out-of-office.

Download: FortiGuard Cyber Threat Predictions for 2021

The groundwork for the current round of incidents was laid before the pandemic with the introduction to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs for staff. While workers have been happy and perhaps more productive using their own familiar devices, a high percentage of BYOD devices in 2020 are not protected against malware.

The pandemic has exacerbated the situation as most of these workers are now outside the “walls” of the company network. There can now be thousands of endpoints that IT staff must consider as vulnerable.

Following the rush to remote work, too many companies have failed to acknowledge this weakness and adequately support remote workers while protecting critical business data at the same time,” said ITWC CIO Jim Love. “It won’t get any easier in 2021. Criminal efforts are getting more sophisticated, and they’re zeroing in on remote workers as entry points into corporate networks.”

it’s not too late to make changes in the closing days of 2020. Every year Fortinet provides leaders with the intel they need to put together a security gameplan for the coming year. Fortinet’s recently released Cyber Threat Predictions offers a picture of the strategies bad actors will be likely employing in 2021.

Learn more: Exclusive Networks “Security Without Compromise”

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find in the latest report:

  • New and improved enemy – Cyber-criminals will be leveraging edge computing, 5G-enabled devices, and advances in computing power over the coming year to carry out new and highly sophisticated attacks at unprecedented speed and scale.
  • Threats at the edge – Adversaries will continue to target and exploit emerging network edge environments such as remote workers, and will be paying more attention to new OT edge environments rather than targeting only core networks.
  • AI as a critical defence – Innovations in computing performance will also be targeted and AI-driven technology will be critical to defend against future attacks.

FortiGuard Labs is the threat intelligence and research organization at Fortinet. Its mission is to provide the industry’s best threat intelligence designed to protect organizations from malicious activity and sophisticated cyberattacks. FortiGuard Labs, which gathers together some of the industry’s most knowledgeable threat hunters, researchers, analysts, engineers and data scientists, continuously monitors the global attack surface using millions of network sensors and hundreds of intelligence-sharing partners. It analyzes and processes this information using artificial intelligence (AI) and other innovative technologies to mine that data for new threats.

Download FortiGuard Cyber Threat Predictions for 2021

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