Jul 04, 2022

Ever-growing Cyber Threats in 2022

Cyber threat can be referred as a malicious act intended to damage or disrupt the data, or the entire digital welfare of a system. Various kinds of cyber threats such as malware, DDoS attack, The IoT attacks, SQL injection attacks, to name a few, play a vital role in disrupting an organization’s security posture, spreading malicious vulnerabilities throughout the device or network, contributing to the theft of confidential data and information as a consequence.   
Do cyber threats pose a high-risk severity to organizations? If they do, how perilous are they? Let’s find out!
Some of the notorious cyber threats that shall have a greater impact in 2022 are as mentioned beneath:
Malware:  Malicious software, abbreviated as malware, is an intrusive software developed by cybercriminals to steal data, damage or disrupt the computer system as a whole. Some of the common types of malware include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware and ransomware.
The severity of malware has reached to a greater extent, as it can steal, encrypt or wipe the data, alter or hijack core computer functionalities, and actively spy on a computer system without the user’s prior knowledge or permission.  As per the nature of malware, the attack may differentiate for various users or endpoint. Although, the impact is no lesser as its effect of attack ranges from mild to disastrous aftermaths.
However, an ordinary user can detect the malware if they encounter atypical activities such as sudden loss of disk space, unusually slow speeds, repetitive system crashes or freeze or an increase in unwanted internet activities, followed by pop-up advertisements.
As for 2022, the ransomware groups are getting shrewd enough for business and corporate, as more than 60 ransomware attacks were recorded in January and February, as per the survey of Blackfog. The rise of ransomware-as-a-service as a pay-for-use malware has overhyped the attack trends in the recent years, alluring the attackers to carry out large-scale attacks, replenishing the threat landscape.
Furthermore, the augmentation of stealer malware attacks such as Bloodystealer, Redline Stealer, Infostealer, to name a few, as a Trojan-stealer that efficiently gathers and infiltrates varied data for cookies, passwords, forms, log-in memory, and sessions from various applications, has impacted more than 48% of organizations worldwide, as per Checkpoint.  
As per the cybersecurity ventures, the cost of ransomware damage, a kind of malware, is expected to reach $265 billion by 2031.

Supply Chain attack due to Third-party software: A computer program created or developed by different company, other than the genuine developer responsible for the development of the company’s operating system, is referred as a third-party software. In simpler words, it is a reusable software module developed to meet the free distribution procedure of the software, or for the sales purpose by an entity, distinct from the actual vendor of the development platform.
As third-party software is majorly used for email management, VPN connections and information or lead management, the security of the software is highly compromised, leaving large vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers or malicious programs. Posing major risks in supply chain, third-party software exploit has grown significantly over the past few years.
With a wider concern of external attacks that arise through vulnerabilities in these open-source programs, 35% of external attacks are accomplished through a vulnerability exploitation, while the other 33% are executed through a breach of a third-party service of software maker, according to a Forrester survey.
Due to over bulging impacts of third party software due to the increase in their numbers, the issue seems to create a major headliner in 2022.
A kind of social engineering attack, phishing is accountable for data theft, including login credentials and credit card numbers, to name a few. In other words, phishing is an analogous fishing technique that captures the usernames, passwords, and other sensitive information from a sea of users. Some of the common types of phishing techniques are Email phishing, Spear phishing, malware-based phishing, and CEO Fraud (Whaling).
Throughout the years, phishing remains an attacker’s method-of-choice to infect the target systems. With the usage of social engineering attack, the attack technique tricks the victims into launching malicious files on their systems, navigating them to an infected website in order to breach their private and confidential data.
In 2018, 2.2 billion data records were stolen due to data breaches, where 80% of consumers faced email theft or leak on dark web, 70% had their phone numbers compromised, while 10% had their driver’s license leaked and 7% had their social security number exposed over the internet, as per the data of Lookout.    
In regard to 2022, the email reply chain attacks have become fairly popular too, where attackers target the business hubs and enterprises hijacking their valid email threads, thereby inserting a phishing email into an existing email conversation via strategies like credential stuffing or password spraying or email account takeover with an aim to gain internal access to the target organization.

Cyber Scams: A procedure of fraud facilitated by attackers over the internet that happen in a myriad of strategies – via phishing emails, social media, SMS messages, fake tech support phone calls, fraudulent websites, unencrypted financial transactions, scareware and more, are referred as cyber scams. Intended for the theft of data including personal information such as private keys, passwords, login credentials, and many more, the online scams have overgrown in today’s cybersecurity world as email phishing scams, fake banking sites, lottery scams, fake antivirus warnings, online dating scams, credit card scams, greeting card scams,  to mention a few.     
As per the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report 2021, 35% of all data breaches involved scams that attempted to steal people’s sensitive information or login credentials. The most notorious scams in the cyber-world included acclaimed tech firms like Google and Facebook, suffering a forfeiture of $100 million after the companies fell prey to business email compromise (BEC) in 2015, Sony Pictures beared a loss of 80 million pounds due to a leak of 100 terabytes of data in 2014, Crelan Bank lost 76 million pounds after the account of the firm’s CEO was spoofed and emailed to the employees for fund transfer.
As of 2022, the internet scam still remains prominent tactic for tricking users into the theft of data and information, leading to the fatal loss of valuable resources.

Cyber Extortion: A cyber-attack procedure where the attackers intimidate the target companies or users to deactivate the operations of their business or trade-off their confidential data with a ransom or payment, is referred as a cyber extortion. In other words, cyber extortion is an online crime where the attacker holds a user or an organization’s private data, website, systems or other confidential information unless they get paid off by the victimized party.
With attack approaches such as ransomware and distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS), the extortionists paralyze the business architecture on the basis of these techniques. One first strategy being ransomware, where the users are tricked into clicking the malicious links or files within an email message that in turn activates the ransomware, proliferating it throughout the network, encrypting the servers and data leading to an access block of the user or company to the application and files. The only way to restore the access is paying the ransom for the attacker, obtaining the encryption key consequently.
The other technique is distributed Denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which involves attackers utilizing a network of infected computers to transmit a bulk of messages on the target user or company’s web server, effectively taking the server out of service until the messaging ceases.
Lapsus$ group, a cyber extortionist group targeted Nepal’s organization via an email on Dec 2021, stating that the group had compromised the IT infrastructure of the organization, erasing the internal data. The Brazilian criminal group had been actively involved in the EA data leakage comprising of FIFA 21 source code.  Furthermore, the financial institutions including banks and stock exchanges were targeted in Latin America in 2018, leading to an estimated loss of $20.4 million with a blend of ransomware and DDoS attacks as a data-mining virus as per the survey of GSI. Also, several regions of the world such as Europe and North America, Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa (UAE) were the victims of the cyber extortion in the same year.