The end of 2021 brought with it two high-impact events. One was the appearance of the Omicron variant that has led to a resurgence in the number of cases worldwide. Another was the Log4J vulnerability that reminded us of a similar cybersecurity event that occurred at the end of 2020 – the SolarWinds hack.
In spite of these grave situations, when I look back at 2021, I can only feel immense gratitude towards our employees, partners and customers. As we enter 2022, my team and I wish you a happy, healthy, and successful New Year.
I take this opportunity to present some highlights from 2021 and the top trends for 2022.
Significant milestones for the company:
- We acquired the PCI Forensic Investigator (PFI) License which authorizes us to conduct breach investigations which involve card numbers.
- We added clients in the US, Africa, and Middle East to our portfolio and expanded existing relationships.
- We established offices and local presence in Netherlands and Australia.
- We successfully launched our Online Learning Platform.
- Our Cybersecurity Training Programs saw more than 800 professionals attend and get certified.
Significant cybersecurity events:
- The rise in Ransomware Attacks: Throughout the pandemic, a notable 58% of U.S. companies reported a loss of revenue as the direct result of a ransomware attack.
- The exploitation of Zero-Day Vulnerability: At least 66 zero-days have been reported in 2021, almost double the total for 2020 and more than in any other year on record.
- Increasing risks from Supply-Chain Vulnerabilities: The Log4J incident coming nearly a year after the SolarWinds attack highlighted the risk from vulnerable components in use by major vendors.
- Growing cases of Malware Attacks: Over the last year, companies reported that 35% of the attacks used previously unseen malware.
- Compromised Passwords and Data Breaches: According to a data breach analysis from the Identity Theft Resource Centre (ITRC), publicly reported data breaches in the U.S. have climbed to 38% through the second quarter of 2021.
Now, as we move into a better tomorrow, here are five top trends to look out for in 2022.
- The Exponential Growth in Ransomware: Research by PwC indicates that 61% of technology executives predict the rise of ransomware in 2022.
- The Internet of Vulnerable Things: IoT is getting more sophisticated. The number of connected devices is forecast to reach 18 billion by 2022. One result is a hugely increased number of potential access points for cybercriminals looking to attack digital systems.
- Increase in Cloud Services, resulting in Cloud Security Threats: Cloud vulnerability continues to be one of the biggest cyber security industry trends. The rapid and widespread adoption of remote working following the pandemic increased the necessity for cloud-based services and infrastructure drastically, with security implications for organizations.
- Cybersecurity measures will be AI-Powered: AI is and will continue to increasingly counteract cybercrime by identifying patterns of behaviour that signify something out-of-the-ordinary. On the other hand, cybercriminals are also leveraging AI to launch more powerful attacks.
- Regulation starting to catch up with risk: With the cost of cybercrime to global economies set to top $6 trillion in 2021, it is expected that in 2022 regulators will pull out the stops to and release more comprehensive frameworks.
As we take a deep breath and get ready for the next set of challenges, I wish all of us all the very best in this never-ending battle to protect our financial, emotional, and physical well-being.
K. K. Mookhey (CISA, CISSP) is the Founder & CEO of Network Intelligence (www.niiconsulting.com) as well as the Founder of The Institute of Information Security (www.iisecurity.in). He is an internationally well-regarded expert in the field of cybersecurity and privacy. He has published numerous articles, co-authored two books, and presented at Blackhat USA, OWASP Asia, ISACA, Interop, Nullcon and others.