According to credit bureau firm Experian, there were more than 1,200 data breaches through early December, up 17% from 2020. Ransomware attacks took place twice as often last year.
In its annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, Experian outlined several potential threats for 2022. First, Experian predicts the pandemic will continue to wreak havoc for cybersecurity, as attackers exploit remote work and fraudsters forge digital certificates of vaccination. Natural disasters will give rise to phishing attacks posing as charitable outreach, the firm forecasts.
The spread of gambling and fantasy sports represents another threat vector, according to Experian’s report. Hackers are also expected to spy opportunities in the popularization of cryptocurrency and related digital assets. Finally, physical infrastructure including electrical grids, dams, and transportation networks will be in the crosshairs, the firm warns.
“While society still grapples with the pandemic, organizations are also trying to get a handle on cybersecurity against new vulnerabilities and different types of attacks,” said Michael Bruemmer, global vice president of Experian Data Breach Resolution, said in a statement. “Businesses must increase their focus and move past simply catching up to the ‘new normal’ in how they operate. “
Data loss prevention was the top goal for 2022 as cited by cybersecurity professionals interviewed by Tripwire. Managing employees and ransomware were also among leading worries, while remote work obviously isn’t making IT departments’ jobs any easier.
Last year began with the cybersecurity community responding to news of the Solarwinds hack. According to Mandiant, which uncovered the breach, the Russian state hackers believed to be behind the Solarwinds attack have still been highly active, as the Associated Press reports
The IT and communications sectors were the areas most targeted by hackers in 2021, according to Darktrace data, as Security Magazine reports. Phishing was the hackers’ most common method.
Also among the most significant cybersecurity incidents of 2021 were ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA Holdings, as CNET reports. Apple and Facebook faced cybersecurity threats, and according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, publicly known data breaches in the first nine months of the year alone surpassed the total for 2020 as a whole.
Axios sums up, “2021 was the year cybersecurity became everyone’s problem.”