In 2021, we’re spending more time online than ever – and with remote and home working continuing for many as we head into the final quarter, our security needs are greater than they have ever been before. As every element of our lives – from signing business deals to socialising with friends – move increasingly online, we’re at greater risk from security threats and breaches, and a growing number of us are seeking out new means of protection to maintain our privacy.
From VPNs to cyber insurance, it seems we’ll now leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of online security, and we’ve seen a number of emerging trends in the area this year so far. Here, we take a look at some of the biggest trends in both threats and solutions – because knowing exactly what you’re up against is as important as the tools you use to prevent it.
Virtual private networks have come into their own over the past eighteen months, with the need for online security driven dramatically upwards due to a surge in remote and home working and an increase in online security threats.
By masking your IP address, a VPN can make it impossible for hackers to determine your true location and make it more difficult for them to intercept personal data when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots – which are notorious for making you more vulnerable to cyber criminals and data breaches.
VPNs cost just a few pounds to buy, so it’s little wonder that those who regularly work from outside of the office aren’t hesitating when it comes to purchasing – and as remote and flexible working appears here to stay, we can expect to see the number of users continue to surge as we head into 2022.
We have long known the importance of having robust travel and home insurance, but have you ever thought about investing in a policy to protect you online?
In 2020, we saw written premiums for standalone cyber coverage surge by a whopping 29 percent as more of us than ever had no choice but to work from home, and firms themselves have added to the rise in 2021 in the face of growing threats in network intrusions, data theft and ransomware incidents. Over the past year, we’ve seen premiums, too, increase by upwards of 11 percent as we clamour to protect ourselves from hacking, phishing and other online scams and threats.
Cyber insurance is no longer a luxury; it’s now viewed as a necessity, and more of us will be seeking out policies as we head into the final quarter of the year.
Online security doesn’t have to be expensive, and online cyber technology provider Avira has reported a dramatic increase in the number of those signing up to its business and personal support packages over the past year. Believing firmly that digital security and privacy are rights as opposed to privileges, the company – which counts a whopping 500 million users and Fortune 500 companies amongst its customers – offers up a range of free and ready-to-download products.
Its charitable approach to online protection has, unsurprisingly, won it a legion of loyal fans going through a time when they need it the most. Avira’s line-up includes free antivirus and VPN products for both Windows and Mac – both of which have become essential tools for remote workers weathering the pandemic from at home or whilst on the go.
Back in 2017, Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) hackers made headlines when they were allegedly able to breach Microsoft’s authentication process to access data, jumping from customer on-premise environments into the cloud and related applications during the SolarWinds campaign.
By taking advantage of systemic weaknesses within the giant’s authentication process, it was able to create spoof credentials in order to impersonate real life customers and gain access, and in 2021, it’s a threat we are now more exposed to.
In 2019, Capital One credit card applicants fell victim to a data breach when a former Amazon Web Services employee was able to access their data, overriding a misconfigured firewall in order to access files that should have been encrypted. In addition, it is alleged that the same employee was able to steal data from up to 30 other companies, too, with over 106 million individuals put at risk as a result.
In light of this, we’re seeing vast improvements in firewalls, which are becoming more robust than before. Technology companies are learning quickly from such incidents and taking steps to eradicate any weaknesses – so if you haven’t updated yours yet this year, then now is the perfect time.