The 5 Biggest Cybersecurity Threats of 2022

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest issues of our time. Organizations are gradually investing more and more into cybersecurity. Microsoft expects to be investing upwards of $1 billion a year on cybersecurity for the foreseeable future and they certainly won’t be the only organization to increase their spending. In 2019, organizations began considering cybersecurity as one of the biggest threats to the world economy, an issue that many will be just as pressing for at least another decade. 

With that in mind, let’s break down cybersecurity, what cybersecurity attacks can look like, and what the biggest cybersecurity threats for the year 2022 are. 

Cybersecurity Definition 

Cybersecurity is the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this. Organizations are working to implement robust cybersecurity measures to protect their data. Before going all in, it’s important to know the cybersecurity definition. If you have strong solutions and policies within your organization to protect data, you have strong cybersecurity. The goal is always to be as secure as possible and push cybersecurity to the next level each time the opportunity arises. 

Of course, cybersecurity measures are also employed to avoid attacks. Now that we have the cybersecurity definition, the question is: what is a cybersecurity attack and what does it look like? 

What are Cybersecurity Attacks? 

Cybersecurity attacks are malicious activities that target IT systems, or the people using them to gain unauthorized access to the systems and the data they contain. Usually, cybercriminals conduct these attacks with the expressed intention of utilizing data for financial gain or to disrupt operations. There are many distinct types of cybersecurity attacks. Common cyberattack methods include: 

  • Phishing: These attacks target people to steal login or other confidential information by tricking users into clicking malicious links found in emails, messaging apps, or on the web. 

  • Malware: Software designed to infect IT systems and compromise data within those systems. Sub-forms of this method include viruses, worms, trojans, adware, spyware, and ransomware. 

  • Ransomware: This malware subtype encrypts data on infected IT systems and demands a ransom in exchange for access to or decryption of that data. The ransom is usually requested in cybercurrencies, including BitCoin. 

  • Man in the Middle Attack: These attacks occur when criminals intercept and alter network traffic flowing between IT systems. Cybercriminals achieve this by impersonating both senders and receivers on the network. 

  • Denial of Service Attack: These attacks aim to disrupt a service being provided on the network by flooding targeted systems with requests to the point where servers are unable to respond at all. 

Now that we know what cybersecurity attacks are and what they look like, let’s break down some of the most pressing cybersecurity issues organizations will face in 2022. 

Avoiding a Cybersecurity Attack Tomorrow: What’s in Store in 2022 

Each year cybersecurity threats grow in both quantity and intensity. Throughout 2021, there have been many serious cybersecurity attacks. Some of those threats will continue to be an issue for organizations moving forward into 2022. 

Related Reading: Strengthening Your Data Privacy in Five Easy Steps 

In the year 2022, there are just as many cybersecurity threats as in previous years. Let’s break down what to look out for so that organizations can best prepare themselves for the future and avoid a cybersecurity attack tomorrow. 

1. Remote Workforce 

Remote working is a part of life now. With Covid still in our lives for the foreseeable future, it’s safe to say that all the challenges associated with keeping a remote workforce going will also still exist. For one, Covid-related spam will still be a cybersecurity threat that organizations will deal with and need to work around. BYOD policies will be important to think about. Allowing employees to bring their own devices for work can certainly save money but it introduces unnecessary risk for company data. 

2. Phishing 

Phishing attacks are a pervasive issue regarding an organization’s cybersecurity. Many employees still fall prey to phishing emails, which is why it’s so important for organizations to take phishing attacks seriously, especially as this type of attack becomes more sophisticated over time. Highly personalized and geo-targeted emails have a much higher chance of putting organizations’ data at risk. To combat this, organizations should utilize awareness programs for employees. Empowering employees to maintain an awareness of these threats can help organizations get around avoidable data breaches. 

Related Reading: Three Mistakes IT Makes that Could Cost Your Organization Millions

3. Ransomware 

Ransomware has affected many businesses around the world this year and it’s sure to be an issue in the upcoming year and beyond. Hospitals, schools, and small businesses have proven to be the most susceptible to these threats, but no organization is exempt from ransomware vulnerabilities. Most ransomware attacks use a double extortion strategy. Because organizations can opt to use backups to access data that has been encrypted by ill-intentioned cybercriminals, these attacks will also threaten to leak sensitive data or sell this data on the dark web. This would obviously result in a massive reputation loss that would affect the organization and their customers. 

Related Reading: Ransomware Attacks Government Entities

4. Cloud Vulnerabilities 

Cloud services have become a way of life for many employees. Many of the programs and tools they use every day utilize the cloud. But not all cloud services offer the proper authentication and encryption necessary to keep data secure. Before transitioning to the cloud, it’s important to make sure that the chosen cloud service has robust security measures within its framework. Creating strict policies for data retention is another way to avoid cloud vulnerabilities. Secure cloud file transfer can be a powerful tool for anyone, but only if the right precautions are taken. 

Related Reading: The Top 3 Cloud MFT Misconceptions

5. IoT Vulnerabilities Across Devices 

The Internet of Things (IoT), most simply put, is the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors and software with the express purpose of exchanging data with other devices and systems. IoT attacks have increased in frequency. Infected routers were responsible for about 75 percent of IoT attacks in 2019. Each IoT device added to a home or workspace introduces another opportunity for an attacker to exploit that device. The issue with many of these devices is that they don’t normally have the capability to employ the security measures needed to avoid attacks. 

Overall, many of the issues that organizations will need to pay attention to for this year will be the same for next year. The difference will be that these threats will present themselves more often. Moving forward, implementing prevention and mitigation solutions will be important. However, it will be important to implement robust security policies for employees in addition to solutions for prevention and mitigation. Ultimately, ensure that the tools you’re using offer maximum data protection. 

Globalscape EFT Can Help Organizations with Data Security 

With an ever-increasing number of threats to organizations’ data, it’s important to have a robust data protection tool for file transfer. Help your organization avoid a cybersecurity attack tomorrow.