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Rapid7 2021 Predictions: From Bitcoin to phishing to IoT - What's in store for cybersecurity in the coming year

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

From Bitcoin to phishing to IoT - What's in store for cybersecurity in the coming year

By Bob Rudis, Chief Data Scientist at Rapid7

The global pandemic turned our lives upside and impacted every industry - cybersecurity being no exception. It forced the sector to rethink its overall approach and it will have a lasting effect as we enter the new year. Whether it's remote access attacks or campaigns against connected devices, here are my cybersecurity predictions for 2021:

COVID-19's lasting impact

It's pretty clear that a tumultuous political climate, combined with economic and physical uncertainty and change caused by the SARS-CoV-2 global pandemic, will continue to be the "new normal" for the vast majority of 2021. Given that, 2021 is going to look a great deal like 2020 when it comes to the milieu attackers will be operating within.

Remote work continues to be a security problem

2021 will also see a dramatic increase in "cure"-related phishing attacks as we all desperately hope for a true end to this current global malady. However, as 25 percent of us are still working sheltered in-place, we can expect to see even more vulnerabilities discovered in remote access technologies with more exploit campaigns taking advantage of them.

Beware of the connected device

I foresee a real possibility of "The Alexa Ecosystem" being compromised and put to nefarious use. An increasing number of consumers are bringing "smart" devices into their homes, which are also now their places of work complete with state-of-the-art, "always on" surveillance technologies. Attackers (whether it be nation states, unaffiliated terrorist/paramilitary groups, or just clever organized criminal gangs) will not be able to pass up such a target with so much potential malicious gain.

Bitcoin is here to stay

Bitcoin is climbing - albeit, erratically - past its high point back at the cusp of 2018, and neither local municipalities, school districts, health care providers, nor many other industries have learned the lessons from 24-months of nigh-continuous ransomware assaults. As such, we can be fairly certain ransomware tactics and techniques will continue to be commoditized and industrialized, and criminals will continue to exploit organizations who are strapped for resources and distracted by attempting to survive in these chaotic times.

It is safe to say that this has been a year unlike any other. What does 2021 have in store for cybersecurity? Only time will tell.


About the Author

bob rudis 

Bob Rudis has over 20 years of experience using data to help defend global Fortune 100 companies and is currently Chief Data Scientist at Rapid7, where he specializes in research on internet-scale exposure. He was formerly a Security Data Scientist & Managing Principal at Verizon, overseeing the team that produces the annual Data Breach Investigations Report. Bob is an avid blogger, author (Data-Driven Security), speaker, and regular contributor to the open source community.

Published Monday, December 28, 2020 6:44 AM by David Marshall
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