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Organizations and security teams face a barrage of potential security risks. Despite the best efforts of developers to create mitigations to thwart attacks, threat actors remain one step ahead. Even with a long list of existing threats, the future inevitably holds many more cyberattack surprises. With that in mind, what are the cyber risks on the horizon in 2021?

ThreatPost decided to look in a recent post. Picking up on emerging trends and how bad actors are leveraging methods to breach systems, there is plenty to look for next year.

As you may expect, ransomware will continue to play a major role in the threatscape. Despite evolving attack methodology, ransomware remains a relatively simple and effective way to breach systems.

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Threat actors are continuing to streamline ransomware to make it more efficient, ThreatPost points out. In fact, the report suggests major ransomware attacks in 2021 could even cost human lives… something that is not often associated with cybercrime:

“Sadly, continued attacks against healthcare and medical infrastructure will probably lead to serious consequences going into 2021. Someone will likely die as the direct result of a cyberattack.  The only positive outcomes here are that the tragic wakeup call will be the impetus needed to beef up defenses in the healthcare space and make law enforcement more aggressive pursuing cybercriminals.”

Zero-Days Attacks Continue

Another here-to-stay cyberattack classic are zero-days. These are brand new bugs and flaws in existing software that can be exploited by bad actors to start attacks. Zero-day vulnerabilities bring most of Microsoft’s security issues across Windows 10.

Bug bounty programs task researchers with rooting out these potential bugs, but still many happen. For example, the ongoing Zerologon problem is a profound example of how problematic zero-day flaws can be.

Connectivity Breeds Risk

In the report, ThreatPost predicts 2021 will see an uptick in attacks on connected devices. As more people embrace IoT technology, threat actors will place more focus on creating exploits. Smart connected devices, such as smart home tech could arguably be easier to attack that more locked down devices like laptops and phones.

“Malicious actors will find new and more creative uses for these devices, possibly finding ways to use them to compromise the cloud-based controllers they frequently rely on.”

One area of future technology that could become a target for cybercriminals in 2021 is connected vehicles. Increasingly, the cars we drive are connected and will become more so in coming years. Not just the potential of autonomous vehicles, but the growing symbiotic relationship between car functionality and technology.

So far, in-car infotainment systems have been ignored by cybercriminals. Clearly, that ignorance will only go so far and eventually attack methods will be found to breach these systems. As vehicles move into an autonomous era, the potential for attacks to cause serious harm is obvious.

It’s Not All Bad News

ThreatPost points out that while threat actors are increasingly finding ways to targeting hardware and software, developers also continue to evolve their defenses.

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