In the first half of 2021, data breaches that hit 292 firms made cybersecurity news headlines. The victims lost some $45 million after they ended up paying ransom to get their stolen data back. What’s even more shocking is that only six ransomware groups initiated the crimes.
While $45 million is nothing to laugh at, it’s but a small fraction of the estimated damages of cybercrime. Experts believe that such unlawful activities could cost the world $6 trillion by the end of 2021.
Considering that everyone is at risk, it’s imperative to enhance your cybersecurity awareness. By knowing the threats that you may be at risk of, you can take steps to minimize them.
To that end, we compiled this list of cybersecurity facts and news you should be aware of, so read on.
- Close to Half a Million New Malware and PUAs Created Each Day
Malware is a portmanteau of malicious and software. PUAs stand for potentially unwanted applications.
According to experts, 450,000 new types of malware and PUAs get created each day. This translates to approximately five malicious programs or PUAs every second.
So, in the 25 seconds it took you to read the intro above, criminals have already created 125 new malware and PUAs.
- School Networks Are Easy to Hack
It’s so easy that even a 17-year old student was able to shut down internet access in 145 US schools with a single attack. This felony computer crime took place just this May 2021. Worse, it led to the educational institutions suffering downtime for two days.
If such a feat is a breeze for a teen, imagine what professional hackers can accomplish.
- Even Institutions for Higher Education Are Highly Vulnerable
A September 2021 report revealed how university Wi-Fi users could be at risk of data breaches. However, the researchers pointed out a specific name: Eduroam.
Eduroam is a network connectivity provider operating in over 100 countries. Around 3,000 universities and hundreds of thousands of users rely on its services.
Unfortunately, the researchers found flaws in the company’s authentication protocols. As a result, its users are at risk of having their sensitive information exposed.
Now, keep in mind that anyone whose credentials get stolen can lose money. However, most folks in universities, including students, are already earners. As such, hackers can make more profits out of them than if they targeted younger students.
So, if you’re in uni yourself, think many times before you connect to your school’s free Wi-Fi. If possible, avoid using public Wi-Fi at all. If you really need to, then be sure to use a virtual private network (VPN) before you connect to the free Wi-Fi.
Otherwise, your data could end up for sale on the black market.
- Prices of Black Market Web Goods On the Rise
Speaking of the black market, a single cloned Mastercard with PIN is now worth $25 underground. A hacked Gmail account, on the other hand, costs $80 in the shadow market. However, one of the priciest goods is a PayPal transfer from a stolen account: a staggering $340.
The dark web market is booming not only because of hackers but also because of stolen data buyers. What’s even worse is that some of those who buy stolen data spend their days in business attires.
After all, some of the customers of the underground web are marketing firms.
- More New Threats Topple the Apple Myth
For the longest time, a lot of people believed that Apple devices were impervious to malware. Unfortunately, Apple’s Mac/PC ad likely fueled, if not caused, this common misconception.
It’s true, however, that Apple’s devices had fewer run-ins with malware in the past. One reason is that there were fewer people who used Mac computers back then. As fewer users meant fewer victims to cybercriminals, they made fewer viruses for Mac, too.
Things have changed significantly over the last few years, though. For instance, in September 2021, Apple had to roll out zero-day emergency patches for iOS and macOS. Unfortunately, though, hackers were already able to exploit even these new security patches.
So, if you use iOS or macOS yourself, beef up your security and install crucial patches and updates ASAP. In addition, it may be wise to use one of the best cybersecurity programs to protect your devices further.
- Love Can Really Hurt
Online romance scams aren’t new, but they’re certainly on the rise, especially in 2021. For starters, the FBI said they received at least 1,800 complaints about these from January to July 2021. What’s even worse is that the victims lost about $133.4 million.
There’s nothing wrong with online dating, but it’s never a good idea to send money to someone you’ve never met. Besides, splitting the bill during dates may be more empowering for both sides, anyway.
- Small Businesses Are Prime Targets
If individuals are at risk, then small businesses can definitely be victims, too. Indeed, more than four in 10 data breaches in 2019 targeted small enterprises. Yet, despite that, only 28% of surveyed businesses said they had a response plan in the third quarter of 2021.
If you’re part of that last group, there’s no other better time than now to tighten your defenses. If you don’t want to hire an in-house expert, consider IT security staffing services. This may be more cost-effective as you can hire them only for specific services or on a part-time basis.
However, either is definitely cheaper than going bankrupt due to a data breach. So you know, as many as 60% of small businesses that suffered a data breach closed their doors permanently.
Keep Yourself in the Loop on the Latest Cybersecurity News
With so many new malware and PUAs to deal with each day, it’s best to stay updated on the latest cybersecurity news. This way, you can immediately determine if your devices or networks could be at risk. More than that, up-to-date information can provide tips on how to stay safe against the dark side of the web.
Having said that, feel free to browse our other informative tech-related guides. You might want to bookmark our site, too, so that you can stay abreast of the hottest cyber and IT news.