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Industry roundup: 27 December

Cybercriminals likely to attack more businesses in 2022

Cyberattacks are simply too lucrative for cybercriminals and are expected to accelerate in 2022.

The frightening world of cyberattacks costs companies billions of dollars every year when cyber saboteurs find backdoors in the data of major corporations that enable them to access huge amounts of sensitive data. Millions of bank accounts, private and health records stand to be exposed.

After years of data breaches exposing individuals' personal information, cyberthieves will increasingly use that information to attack businesses in 2022, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center's (ITRC) predictions for the upcoming year.

"We also tracked a record number of data breaches and a steady flow of new victims of unemployment benefits identity fraud long after the enhanced benefits ended," said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of Identity Theft Resource Center.

With cryptocurrency becoming increasingly popular, cyberthieves will find new ways to steal from consumers, according to the resource center, which is a non-profit organization that tracks data compromises to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise.

Velasquez anticipates that cyber saboteurs will exploit alternative digital payment methods, such as payment apps, digital wallets and peer-to-peer services to perpetuate cybercrimes.

ITRC’s predictions for 2022

  • Supply chain attacks will become more common. These occur when malware infects a single organization that is linked to multiple others.
  • Ransomware may surpass phishing as the leading cause of data breaches. Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to infect and lock a computer network and demand money to restore access.
  • An accelerated shift is expected from identity theft to use of already stolen personal information and credentials to commit identity fraud and attack companies.
  • The effects of pandemic-induced crime will continue into 2024, with some fraud cases taking years to resolve and unemployment compensation fraud efforts likely becoming permanent.
  • Consumers may shift away from some online transactions and email communications due to the increasing problem of phishing, which is when cybercriminals use a fraudulent email or website to masquerade as a legitimate business or person.
  • Single incident attacks will impact greater numbers of individuals, including social media account takeovers that victimize followers and networks.

“All of these trends point toward increases in identity fraud that will change consumer behaviors, revictimization rates and pandemic-related identity crimes for years to come,” observed Velasquez. “We expect to see these types of cyberattacks and who they target continue to evolve as they did in 2021.”

The number of publicly reported data compromises is already higher this year than in all of 2020. ITRC’s third quarter report shows that as of September 30, data compromises rose by nearly 17% over all of 2020. The report found that almost 281.5 million people were victims this year. There were 1,291 data compromise events so far this year, compared to 1,108 in all of 2020.

Corporations need to be vigilant against cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can break almost any corporate infrastructure 93% of the time and trigger 71% of dangerous outcomes deemed “unacceptable” for businesses, according to a report by Positive Technologies.

The report reveals an external attacker can breach the organization’s network perimeter and gain access to local network resources within an average of two days.

ITRC has called for wider consumer education efforts and improved data protection.

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