How is COVID-19’s Second Wave Impacting Cybersecurity? | Hacker Noon


Sundus Noor, a tech geek who loves sharing aspiring stories.

2020 is more like a nightmare. The start of the year was horrific, and now when the year is coming to its close, it’s still looking atrocious.

Many countries are already facing the second Covid-19 wave, and we are again expecting major impacts on cybersecurity.

Back in March 2020, COVID-19 brought some unprecedented practices to the surface. Among other severe changes post COVID-19, the most prominent was the work from the home shift.

The work from home approach was widely adopted worldwide to prevent the further spread of the virus. However, this approach left some serious scars on the cybersecurity domain.

The cyberattacks during COVID-19 raised to a notable degree. In fact, the stats are scary and staggering. According to, nine out of ten coronavirus domains are scams.

Moreover, according to a recent FBI published report, the complaints against FBI cyberattacks reach 4000 a day.

Therefore, in this blog, I will highlight other major changes that might show up in the cybersecurity domain during the COVID-19 second wave.

Cybersecurity Changes to Expect During COVID-19 Second Wave

1. The Cybersecurity Skills Gap Will Set to Narrow

Unsurprisingly, the cybersecurity skills gap will be bigger in 2021. According to the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, in November 2019, there were 2.9 million security professionals employed globally.

The same report indicated that still 4 million cybersecurity professionals are required to fill security gaps.

This report also stated that according to 65% of surveyed organizations, they already had a cybersecurity employee shortage, worsening in the upcoming year.

Therefore, one major impact on cybersecurity in 2021 will be the shortage
of cyber staff. This shortage will be the biggest challenge for companies
around the world.

Hackers will continue to evolve various advanced, sophisticated malware and defend against those threats; companies will have a hard time because of the increasing cybersecurity skills gap.

2. Hackers will Bypass Security Systems using AI

A New wave of hacking will also be seen in the next year. AI-based malware will be launched to cause system havoc.

In 2021, where cybersecurity staff will be short already, it is anticipated that hackers will fully explore AI technology to deploy untraceable, malicious payloads in applications.

AI-based malware is quite detrimental, and it’s not possible to reverse-engineering-the threat with it.

AI-based malware can stay hidden, and therefore, it’s difficult for a system to detect them immediately. The AI-powered malware waits and remains inactivated until something happens to trigger a malicious payload.

In AI-based malware, different things can be programmed to activate malicious payload. For example, the hostile payload may get activated via facial recognition, voice, or the victim’s geolocation.

3. Phishing Email Attacks will be a Trend

Just like every year, phishing emails will be trending in 2021 also. It is one of the most outdated but effective cybersecurity attacks.

Phishing emails can easily be designed for individual users, and therefore, hackers frequently use them.

Although many companies have already trained employees on avoiding phishing scams, the chance for human errors is always there.

Therefore in 2021, the phishing email trend will be on the rise. However, organizations will need to take major preventives.

What enterprises can do the best is limit user account and data access other than employee training. Furthermore, the use of anti-phishing software should be a common practice.

Anti-phishing software scans, detect, and informs when finds any malicious link or phishing email. Besides that, businesses should continue using a VPN.

A virtual private network prevents hackers from tracing your email address, and therefore, no hacker can throw phishing emails without having a proper email address.

4. Adoption of Enhanced Authentication Methods

Various cyber threats have been anticipated for the next year. However, cybersecurity methods will also pick up strength in 2021.

Among other cybersecurity tools, multifactor authentication will be a
growing trend. The use of biometric data security, including facial and
fingerprint recognition, will increase with a CAGR up to 25%.

Moreover, according to Google data, multifactor authentication has
significantly blocked bot hacks up to 100%. With that in mind, most of the payment card companies have already started deploying multifactor authentication for secure user access.

5. 5G Will Roll out on Earth with Potential Security Challenges

5G network will start expanding across countries. However, new technology will possess various security threats.

Since the fifth generation is required to keep the network pace outstanding, hackers will try their best to disrupt this new technology to reap maximum benefits.

5G technology pledged a better-connected world, and therefore, a higher increase in DDoS attacks is predicted. Besides that, the 5G deployment will also put IoT security on the verge.

Hackers will make efforts to compromise one device’s security, and consequently, the whole network will crash.

The adoption of the latest 5G technology will demand high security. Since 5G is a futuristic technology, hence it requires an emphasis on IoT protection.

Installing updated VPN, anti-virus software, strong backend password for IoT devices, and updating IoT devices with the latest security patches are some of the major security requirements to look out for in 2021.

6. Remote Learning Platforms will be a Major Target

Due to the second Covid-19 wave, schools and universities will face
another lockdown. It will demand educational institutes to resume remote learning practices.

With that thought in mind, it is predicted that e-learning platforms will be one of the major targets for hackers in 2021.

Speaking of remote learning platforms, it’s worth mentioning that during August 2020, the e-learning sector had experienced a 30% upsurge in weekly cyberattacks.

Consequently, it’s empirical for schools and other educational institutes to control cybersecurity with advanced tools.

The e-learning network disruption might cause serious breaches, including student record theft, interruption of learning operations, or even financial extortion could happen.

7. Hackers will Disrupt Cloud Security

According to the IDG Cloud Computing Survey, cloud adoption will increase
in 2021, and up to 32% of organizations will dedicatedly plan IT budgets revolving around cloud adoption.

The rising demand for cloud technology will bring new challenges to the
surface. Cloud management services will find it daunting to manage massive data on the cloud.

As a result, cybercriminals will target cloud databases to steal confidential data. Therefore, cloud services will pay extra focus on endpoint management and cloud configuration settings.

Moreover, hackers will frequently use Cloud Jacking/Cloud Hijacking to
exploit cloud data.

Cloud Jacking/Cloud Hijacking is a method in which hackers use the exploited scripts to interrupt an organization’s cloud infrastructure because of poor protection practices.

8. Smart Phones will be the Next Hacking Target

Cybercriminals will most likely target smartphones in 2021. Global users
use mobiles as the first-hand device for several operations.

Be it online shopping, business communication, or managing financial transactions, everything can be done with a smartphone.

Hence, cybercriminals will attack mobile platforms to continue several malicious activities, including data tampering and data loss.

9. Financial Services will be at Risk

In 2021, financial services will also be included in the hackers’ target
list. Hackers will try phishing emails and social media messages to disrupt
network security.

Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that in 2017, the banking sector had a
loss of $16.8 billion due to hacking.

Therefore, sectors, including banks, asset management companies, and insurance companies must pay special attention to the cloud and network security.

Wrapping Up

We are still living in 2020, but 2021 is about to fall upon us. Therefore, knowing what the future holds will help you plan your cybersecurity accordingly.

This blog highlighted the top cybersecurity prediction to look out for in 2021. So, make the most out of it, and design your defense strategically.

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Sundus Noor, a tech geek who loves sharing aspiring stories.


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