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2020: The Rise of Cybercrime

COVID and the Compromise of Cybersecurity

Covid-19 forced almost all businesses and corporations to operate solely online. In the rush to continue with business as usual, many businesses had to take some shortcuts with security. This allowed cybercriminals easier access to their systems.

Mile2 Cyber Security Certification

Why Cybercrime increased in 2020

2020 was the year of Covid-19, but it was also the year of cybercrime. Covid-19 affected the entire world. It affected businesses, individuals, and people alike. It also had a large effect on the digital world. The total number of cyber-attacks each day in 2019 was up to 1,473. This number increased dramatically in 2020 and 2021. According to a recent report, there were over 2,200 cyber attacks each day in 2020 and cyber-attacks are again on the rise in 2021. The main reason for this rise in attacks was the coronavirus. Covid-19 forced almost all businesses and corporations to operate solely online. In the rush to continue with business as usual, many businesses had to take some shortcuts with security. This allowed cybercriminals easier access to their systems. Cybercriminals thrive in the times of upheaval or change. The confusion and uncertainty allows them the opportunity to perform and perfect their craft.

 

The most common types of cyber attacks in 2020 and 2021 are ransomware, Phishing, DDoS attacks, and computer viruses. Each of these attacks in different and they all operate in different way. They also can all be prevented with the right security plan in place.

Cybercriminals thrive in the times of upheaval or change.

Cybercrime: Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malicious software meant to deny the victim access to their files until a ransom is paid. However, there is no guarantee that access will be restored even if the ransom is paid in full. According to a cybercrime report, a business would fall victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds in 2019 and every 11 seconds in 2020 and 2021.

 

There are steps that can be taken to reduce an organization’s exposure to ransomware attacks.And in the case of ransomware, prevention is much less expensive than response.

Cybercrime: DDoS Attacks

DDoS attacks usually serve one of two purposes, an act of revenge against an organization or a distraction that allows cybercriminals to break into the system while it focuses on restoring its website. These attacks consist of a cybercriminal disrupting regular web traffic to take a site offline by overwhelming the system, server, or network. Often, these attacks are used as a distraction for a much bigger disaster yet to come. Regularly testing your IT infrastructure and keeping your systems secure can help prevent these attacks from infiltrating your networks.

These attacks consist of a cybercriminal disrupting regular web traffic to take a site offline by overwhelming the system, server, or network. Often, these attacks are used as a distraction for a much bigger disaster yet to come.  

Cybercrime: Phishing

The most common type of cyber attacks in 2020 and 2021 is phishing. Phishing involves a cybercriminal tricking the user into clicking a malicious link, downloading an infected attachment, or leaking confidential information. With companies having to make the switch to digital so quickly, many employees and employers were uneducated about being aware of these scams. Untrained people end up accidentally clicking on links that include malicious software. Before business operated solely online, the need for cyber training was not as extensive. However, with the rise in employees having to work from home, came the rise in phishing attacks.

Notable 2020 Cyberattacks

The rise in cyber attacks due to the pandemic is truly astonishing. Here are some of the largest cyberattacks in 2020 and 2021:

Toll Group 

Toll Group is an Australia-based logistics company. They announced on twitter that they suffered ransomware attacks twice over the course of three months. According to a spokesperson, the two incidents were not connected and were based on different forms of ransomware. Several customers of this company as well as the company itself were negatively affected by these attacks.

Marriott International 

Marriott international, a popular hotel chain, suffered a massive data breach for the second time in two years. In 2020, they released a statement disclosing the information of 5.2 million guests was accessed. They were accessed by using the login credentials of two employees at a franchise property. According to a notice, there was no belief that personal information such as passwords, PINs, or payment information was compromised, however the data breach costed the company thousands of dollars to fix and secure.

 

Twitter 

In 2020, Twitter, the popular social media platform was breached by three cybercriminals. Several high-profile Twitter accounts were hijacked including those belonging to former President Barack Obama, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon musk. The threat actors used these accounts to tweet several bitcoin scams that earned them over $100,00. Two weeks after the break, the three suspects were arraigned. One of these suspects included 17-year-old Graham Ivan Clark who masterminded the attack.

 

Clark County School District 

On Aug. 27 of 2020, this school district was hit with a ransomware attack. This attack resulted in the theft of student data. The district refused to pay the ransom and caused a large amount of student data to be exposed on the internet as retribution. While it is unclear what the information was, it opened a whole new arena for cybercriminals who are now stealing identity from schools in addition to the internet

 

Colonial Pipeline 

In 2021, hackers breached the Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline in the U.S, and it let to shortages across the East Coast. The hackers gained entry into the networks of the pipeline through a compromised password. They demanded a ransom be paid in order for them to allow access to the data again. Instead of paying the ransom, the pipeline was completely shut down for the first time in its 57-year history.

With increases in online learning, online business, online communication, and online corporations, comes an increase in cybercrime. The increase in cybercrime also calls for an increase in cybersecurity. While some attacks cannot be fully avoided, there are several measures that can be taken in order to prevent the attacks from occurring or to mitigate their effects. 

 

A Certified Vulnerability Assessor will inspect and analyze a system or network in an attempt to find vulnerabilities. Once these vulnerabilities are discovered, action is taken to remove them. As more and more business is conducted online, the need for cybersecurity professionals will increase. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for cybersecurity professionals will increase by 31% through 2029. Statistics show that the need for the cybersecurity work force is going to continue to increase well through the end of covid as more and more of our businesses are conducted online. As hackers grow in intelligence, the cybersecurity arena will grow in numbers. Covid-19 was the start of a new digital age.

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