EP 07: The Twenty-One Biggest Cybersecurity Threats, Trends, Predictions for 2021 – #4. Cybercrime Expands

EP 07: The Twenty-One Biggest Cybersecurity Threats, Trends, Predictions for 2021 – #4. Cybercrime Expands

What technically is cybercrime? Well, not to get all wrapped up in a long-winded definition, cybercrime is essentially criminal activity that either targets or uses a computer, a computer network or a networked device. The vast majority, but not all, of cybercrime is committed by cybercriminals or hackers seeking to make a financial profit. And cybercrime can be carried out by both individuals and/or organizations.

Some cybercriminals are very well-organized and sophisticated, use advanced techniques and are highly technically skilled. Others are novice hackers that probably barely know how to connect to the Internet (now that’s a scary thought!).

There’s no end in sight with cybercrime. It’s simply going to expand – rapidly and aggressively – costing the global economy a staggering $6 Trillion annually by 2021. “DDoS attacks, ransomware, and an increase in zero-day exploits are contributing to last year’s prediction becoming a reality,” according to IT businessman and celebrity Robert Herjavec, more commonly known as a Shark on ABC’s Shark Tank. Furthermore, according to Herjavec, “It’s concerning that all of the hype around cybercrime – the headlines, the breach notices etc. – makes us complacent. The risk is very real and we can’t allow ourselves to be lulled into a sense of inevitability. We all have a role to play in how we protect our businesses from the accelerating threat of cybercrime.”

And here are some of the most common forms of cybercrime:

  • Email and internet fraud.
  • Identity fraud (where personal information is stolen and used).
  • Theft of financial or credit card payment information.
  • Theft and sale of corporate data.
  • Cyberextortion (demanding money or an attack will be undertaken).
  • Ransomware attacks (which is essentially a type of cyberextortion).
  • Cryptojacking (where hackers mine cryptocurrency using resources they do not own).
  • Cyberespionage (where hackers access government or company data).

So, let’s take a look at very disturbing statistics on cybercrime:

An attack happens every 39 seconds. That, according to a study conducted by at the University of Maryland. The study is one of the first to actually quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks of computers with Internet access.

Cyber Attacks are common. How common? According to a recent study, approximately 78 percent of organization throughout the U.S. have experienced a cyber-attack in the past year.

Cybercrime is Rampant for Individuals. Roughly in in four Americans say that they or someone in their household has been a victim of cybercrime in the past year.

Phishing Scams are Everywhere. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, close to $2 Billion was lost in a recent year for consumers. That number actually seems low – and it is – because not everyone reports fraud, and that’s for a number of reasons. Perhaps they just ignore it. Perhaps they’re too embarrassed to report it. Who knows, but what we do know is that fraud reports are vastly understated in terms of occurrences and money lost.

So, what really is phishing? Phishing is a form of social engineering — phishers essentially pose as a trusted organization, then hope to trick you into providing valuable information. Phishing attacks are showing no signs of slowing down, but, if you’re careful, you can avoid falling victim to them. Remember something very important, your bank or credit card provider will never ask you to provide account information online. When emails ask for this information, that’s the first sign that this is probably a scam.

The vast majority of phishing scams are sent by email – after all, email is one of society’s main forms of communication Additionally, these scams are rampant, and cybercriminals are getting very good in terms of phishing scams looking authentic. Email phishing scams are essentially designed to look like they originate from a legitimate source, such as your bank, PayPal, Amazon customer support, you name it. I won’t bore you with the details of all the technical jargon regarding the different types and classifications of email phishing scams, but what’s you do need to be aware of are some of the most common examples of these scams, such as the following:

  • Your account is about to be suspended or deactivated for any number of reasons.
  • We need your bank account credentials to confirm a recent transaction.
  • We need your social security number and date of birth to confirm your identity

Remember this, if it sounds suspicious, it probably is. To be on the look for phishing campaigns, ask yourself these following questions when an email comes your way that you’re not sure of:

1. Does the URL, the actual web address (if it is provided in the email), look correct?
2. Are there any grammatical errors and typos in the message?
3. Does the message seem overly aggressive and urgent?
4. Have you ever had a message from this organization before in terms of the subject matter and request?

If it looks suspicious, don’t click on any link or download any attachment!

Predators are on the Prowl Online: Here is a scenario that plays out tens of millions of times each day in the United States; Your child comes home from school and goes up to his/her bedroom, closes the door and goes online. Who is he or she engaging with online? It’s one of the biggest concerns that parents have when their children go online. The biggest fear of all? Are they unknowingly engaging with sexual predators? According to FBI, “online predators are everywhere online,” and are working hard to engage children online. Predators aren’t scary looking and don’t stand out. They look like you or me or anyone down the street. They are “mostly male, although we are seeing an alarming trend of female predators. Male predators are often married with children. A professional, upstanding in the community but leading a deviant lifestyle through the Internet.”

The costs are enormous: How much is cybercrime costing the global economy? It’s hard to put an exact number on it, but it’s in the hundreds of billions, according to most experts. According to a recent estimate published by the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the U.S. economy is losing roughly $100 billion a year to malicious cyber activity – yes, I said BILLIONS!

The stark reality about cybercrime in 2021 – and for the foreseeable future – is clear; it’s here to stay, will only increase over time, and the hackers – and their attack methods – will become more brazen and sophisticated at every click of the mouse. Your best defense? Begin implementing a rock-solid cybersecurity program, and now! According to most security experts, adopting a comprehensive, well though-out cybersecurity program yields benefits that far exceed such costs. And to be clear, such a program simply can’t be developed overnight, but when complete, organizations should see a true change in terms of overall security posture. You’ve got to start somewhere, so start developing your every own customized cybersecurity program today.

To learn more about cybersecurity and how to protect your organization, visit charlesdenyer.com today and get access to a wide range of world-class resources on all things cyber. Additionally, my companies offer comprehensive cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance services & solutions for businesses all across the globe. Book a call with me today at charlesdenyer.com/contact and let’s discuss your needs.

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