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Top 10 Cyber Threats World is Facing in 2021

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  • Last Updated : 10 Feb, 2022
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Individuals, businesses, and governments all are concerned about cybersecurity. Keeping our data safe in a world where everything is on the Internet, from cute kitten videos to our trip journals to our credit card information, is one of the most pressing problems of cybersecurity. Ransomware, phishing attacks, malware attacks, and other cybersecurity threats are some examples. One of the fastest-growing areas is cybersecurity nowadays. The need for data protection is being recognized by more individuals than ever before. Businesses, in particular, are paying attention, as data breaches cost billions of dollars each year and expose vast amounts of personal information.


Cybercrime is on the rise in today’s technologically connected society. As of August 2020, it was estimated that there have been over 445 million cyberattacks worldwide this year, more than double the total for the full year of 2019. While many of these attacks were thought to be driven by our increased use of the Internet as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns, the threat to businesses remains significant, with the cost of cybercrime expected to reach $10.5 trillion by 2025(According to Cybersecurity Ventures). The threats posed by cyber thieves will only increase as organizations become more dependent on the Internet and technology.

What is the definition of a Cyber Threat?

A cybersecurity threat is any hostile attack that attempts to gain unauthorized access to data, disrupt digital processes, or damaged data. Corporate spies, hacktivists, terrorist groups, hostile nation-states, criminal organizations, lone hackers, and disgruntled activists are all examples of cyber threats. 

Sensitive data has been exposed as a result of several high-profile cyberattacks in recent years. For example, the 2017 Equifax data breach exposed the personal information of more than 143 million people, including dates of birth, residence, and Social Security numbers. Marriott International revealed in 2018 that hackers gained access to its systems and stole the personal information of nearly 500 million customers. The inability to establish, test, and retest technical security measures, including encryption, authentication, and firewalls, allowed a cybersecurity threat in both situations.

Cyber attackers can exploit sensitive data to steal information or gain access to a person’s or company’s bank accounts, among other potentially destructive activities, which is why cybersecurity experts are so critical of keeping private data secure.

Today’s Top CyberSecurity Threats:

Many small business owners feel that their firm is too small or that their business is modest enough not to be targeted for attack, but this is far from the case. Small companies often take a careless approach to Internet security, resulting in inadequate security and leaving them vulnerable to attacks. Hackers are using increasingly sophisticated and automated tactics, allowing them to attack thousands of small company websites at once. Here are the most frequently reported cyber attacks, as well as what you should be aware of:

1. Ransomware

Ransomware has recently risen to prominence as one of the most visible threats among harmful programs. The ability of this malware to lock a computer and release it only after the owner has paid a ransom is worrying. The system-hijacking component of ransomware makes it extremely disruptive. Attackers spend time obtaining intelligence about their targets in order to maximize the disruption they cause and appropriately adjust the ransom. The Cryptolocker ransomware strain was responsible for the largest ransomware attack ever, which infected nearly 250,000 machines and netted malware developers $3 million. As you might expect, such attacks can effectively disable major infrastructure and systems.

2. Fileless Malware

The term “fileless malware” comes from the fact that it does not exist as files on a hard disk. Attackers use fileless malware to fill RAM. Since this type of malware does not leave any crumbs on the hard disk, it is difficult for threat researchers to identify traces of it. Fileless malware becomes apparent only when programmers instruct it to launch an attack. Fileless malware is often used by cybercriminals to attack banks by inserting them into ATMs. The cash machines are then taken over by hackers. Payload delivery is another successful use of fileless malware by hackers. Fileless malware can install ransomware on the machine, while the owner is completely unaware of what is going on.

3. Crypto-Malware

Cybercriminals have taken note of the growth of cryptocurrencies and the exponential growth of bitcoin in 2017. When an infected computer’s browser connects to the Internet, malware developers created software that can mine bitcoins. Crypto-malware, while not immediately destructive, has been disruptive because it uses the processing power of computers to mine bitcoins. The infected computer becomes sluggish and takes a longer time to load files and operate programs. Due to the drain generated by the crypto-malware, the machine will eventually fail.

4. Zero-Day Threats

Immediately, the software is not flawless. Every application you install has security flaws known as vulnerabilities that hackers and cybercriminals can take advantage of. This is referred to as a zero-day threat when a vulnerability is discovered and exploited by software developers before they can fix it. A zero-day attack occurs when hackers get the ball rolling and use a program’s vulnerability to transmit ransomware or insert malicious malware. Consider what happens if employees open a Word document that later installs ransomware on the system.

5. Meltdown and Spectre

Meltdown and Spectre are vulnerabilities that exist within the CPU processor. It is worth noting that because both vulnerabilities are caused by an internal vulnerability in the processor that resides at such a low level of the system, it is difficult to defend against hackers eager to attack them. Hackers and malware developers using Meltdown and Spectre will be able to easily obtain existing security protections. They will also be able to access restricted areas of the computer’s memory as well as sensitive data of the user.

6. IoT Malware

Homes and businesses will eventually host their own smart ecosystem. Sensors will be used to collect temperature data, applications will be used to regulate illumination, and energy-efficient cameras will be used to monitor security. The point is that even the firmware of these smart gadgets is full of flaws. Hackers can use these flaws to take control of these smart gadgets. Consider turning off the lights in hackers’ offices, interrupting the power supply via smart plugs, or simply spying on you through your smart surveillance system.

7. Banking Malware

Banking malware is designed to capture financial information from users and send it to hackers so that they may steal money from their victims. Since cellphones now allow individuals to conduct online transactions, some banking malware particularly targets mobile users. What’s so nefarious about this type of malware is that its creators disguise it as a battery program or game that you can download for Android. This type of malware works in the background, stealing your information when you are unaware. The banking malware variant Emotet is now one of the most dangerous malware strains in the market. The emote may change its appearance to avoid detection before repeating itself within the system. It will be migrated from one system to another by a forceful password. This virus is designed to steal user’s financial information, banking credentials, and even bitcoin wallet.

8. Stegware

Stegware increases the attack surface of malware. Hackers use steganography, which is hiding a harmful file within another file, picture, video, or communication. Only the most experienced and well-versed hackers can create their own Stegware at a time. However, hackers have improved their techniques and now sell Stegware kits on the dark web for the use of even the most inexperienced users. Companies will experience more infections in future years as a result of disguising harmful files as normal files.

9. Phishing Email

Phishing attacks use a forged communication, such as an email, to persuade the recipient to open it and follow the instructions contained therein, such as entering a credit card number. According to Cisco, it aims to steal sensitive data such as credit card and login information or install malware on the victim’s system. Phishing accounts for 90 percent of all breaches organizations face, a 65 percent increase in the past year and costing businesses more than $12 billion. Human error causes some data breaches, and one type of human error that results in a breach is when an employee clicks on a phishing email. A payload in a phishing email, such as ransomware or Trojan horse virus, wreaks havoc on the system as soon as it is opened.

10. Advanced Persistent Threats

Finally, persistent threats refined by businesses should be avoided. When it comes to cyberattacks, they are what you would call a “long con”. After successfully infiltrating a system, cybercriminals who use APT spend a lot of time pursuing their target. After getting enough data they will start recording and transferring the data to their servers. This type of attack is persistent in the sense that it can go on for years while the victim is completely unaware. APT participants are dedicated professionals who often work in groups to infiltrate their target company.

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