3 Cyber Attacks to Watch Out For in 2022

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On January 14, 2022, a cyberattack took down more than 70 of Ukraine’s government websites, the largest cyberattack on Ukraine in four years. Before the websites went down, a message appeared warning Ukrainians to “prepare for the worst.”

Cyber attacks increased dramatically in 2021, and it is projected that these attacks will continue in 2022.

In this blog, we will discuss the cyberattacks to look out for in 2022, and how to protect yourself from these attacks.

Ransomware

Last year, the number of ransomware attacks increased dramatically, with nearly 500 million attempted ransomware attacks in 2021.

With more people working remotely than ever before (roughly 45% of all full-time U.S. employees, hackers are taking advantage of this by tricking unsuspecting victims. One of the fastest-growing attacks is ransomware.

Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a user’s files. The hacker will demand payment, usually in the form of cryptocurrency to restore access to the victim’s files. Often, paying the “ransom” does not work.

Cybercriminals initiate ransomware attacks in several ways, but the primary tactic is through phishing attempts. Hackers will send cleverly disguised emails imitating a person or service provider as someone trustworthy. These emails will almost always include a link or file to download.

Unsuspecting users will click the link or download the malicious files, and the hackers will immediately have the right to encrypt their files.

To help guard yourself against these attacks, keeping your machine up to date is a great place to start. Windows and Mac developers release updates that include security patches. Out-of-date machines are much easier for hackers to take advantage of.

If you deal with a lot of files, having a solid backup is a top priority. If your computer happens to fall victim to a ransomware attack, having a secure place to restore that data will lessen the damage significantly.

Social Engineering

It is no secret that human error is a huge cause of most cyber attacks. In 2022, hackers are going to continue to rely on social engineering scams to trick users that are unaware.

The shift to hybrid work will give hackers more ways to infiltrate a device. More users are using their devices to work, and this has created a wider attack surface. Cybercriminals will start to target home networks a lot more because these networks are much easier to compromise than enterprise networks.

Like ransomware attacks, these cyber attacks will use phishing as the main method of strategy. Phishing attacks will target both personal and work email accounts, doubling the hacker’s chances of a successful attack.

It is important to learn how to spot out these cyber attacks. Phishing emails usually have spelling or grammatical errors. Hackers like to send these emails as someone important, or from a well-known company.

Phishing emails convey a sense of urgency; they will always want you to “act now”, or “transfer this ASAP”. Do not open those emails, click on any links, or download any files if you are not confident in the sender.

A less popular form of social engineering scam is the old-fashioned spam calls. Like phishing emails, these calls will always be urgent, for example, your Windows account may be “compromised”, and you need to give the technician your password to secure it.

Technical support teams like Windows, Dell, or Apple will never ask for sensitive information like passwords over the phone. If you are ever asked this, hang up immediately!

Cryptocurrency Attacks

2021 was a record year for crypto attacks as not just did the number of incidents increase, but the amount stolen was the highest it’s been in a decade. It is estimated that $12 billion in crypto was lost due to security breaches or scams.

The majority of these cryptocurrency attacks were orchestrated through social media; hackers love to create Twitter bots that give out free Bitcoin or NFT airdrops through Discord.

It is important to be aware of the different ways crypto attacks can occur; hackers do not always want to steal your crypto, but the resources your computer provides. Or they want to track how a wallet moves.

Cryptojacking is the unauthorized use of someone else’s computer to mine cryptocurrency. Hackers can load crypto mining code on the computer, or they can infect a website or online ad with code that runs automatically once loaded in the victim’s web browser.

In dusting attacks, hackers will use a small amount of Bitcoin known as “dust” and attempt to track investors to eventually break the privacy of their crypto wallets.

A 51% attack, also known as a majority attack, occurs when a single person or group of people gains control of over 50% of a blockchain’s hashing power.

Hackers who complete successful 51% attacks can achieve this by renting mining hash power from a third party.

The best way to guard against most crypto attacks is to keep your transactions as secure as possible. Enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

Also, use a VPN when exchanging crypto. A virtual private network (VPN) is an Internet security service that creates an encrypted connection between a computer and one or more servers. VPNs help mask IP addresses from being seen by potential hackers.

Wrapping Up

Cyber attacks in 2022 will only be most effective to those who are unable to recognize the warning signs. Hackers are counting on people to let the busyness of the day cause them to let their guard down and click on the first phishing email they see.

Cybercriminals will expect to find machines that have not been properly patched or secured with an antivirus program.

It is no secret that the crypto business is booming! Trading crypto is easier than ever, and there seems to be a new crypto project every week.

As fast as the crypto market is rising, there is still plenty of time to secure your devices to trade safely. Setting up checkpoints for authentication is a top priority. Don’t trust, verify! 

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