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Where Will Cyber Criminals Focus Their Attacks in 2021? Featured

As COVID-19 vaccine rollout begins, hackers will continue to exploit the coronavirus pandemic in the year ahead, according to consumer credit reporting company Experian.

corona 4901881 640smallMichael Bruemmer, vice president of the Experian data breach resolution group uses the phrase “cyber-demic” to characterize the risk potential in the next 12 months. “You’ve got un-secure apps, it’s pandemic-influenced, and you have new threat factors,” Bruemmer tells FOX Business.

According to Experian’s eighth annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, hackers may see opportunities in attacking the delicate medical ecosystem around the vaccine. Identity theft and ransomware attacks could also be on the way amid more and more reliance on digital platforms and remote work.

The top data breach target of 2021 will be the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Experian. Cybercriminals “will plot to disrupt vaccine supply chains, sow confusion and spur increased national competition, creating a new kind of pandemic warfare,” the report says.

Another target: home networks. The report notes that the “mass transition” to remote work due to the pandemic gave hackers new avenues of attack through connected household devices. According to Experian, such attacks are growing more sophisticated and harmful.

Contact tracing apps provide an additional target for data breaches. According to Experian, many of these digital tools lack appropriate security protections, so hackers may tap them next year to steal personal data.

A fourth data breach target singled out by the report is high-speed 5G. While the rise of these new networks brings great opportunities, the ensuing increase in connected devices, including vehicles and health sensors, enhances the risk from cybercriminals. Finally, health records are in hackers’ crosshairs, according to Experian. The report says that as patients get more accustomed to telemedicine and health providers hurry to introduce digital services, there’s an increasing data breach threat for personal medical information.

David Wolpoff, co-founder of cybersecurity firm Randori, tells eWeek some of his own 2021 predictions. Organizations should watch out for increasingly convincing “deepfakes,” ransomware-based extortion attempts and ransom attacks on cloud infrastructure, according to Wolpoff.

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