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Cybersecurity Trends and Predictions: What to Expect in 2021

Cybersecurity Trends and Predictions 2021

Among loud privacy breach cases that happened in 2020, Marriott International credential-based compromise, LiveJournal data breach, and Nintendo user data leak are the first ones to come to mind. 

Hefty fines for data privacy violations under EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the invalidation of the EU-US Privacy Shield and ruling against the use of Facebook Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) offer a glimpse of hope for data protection and a safer future of personal data processing. 

False hope, perhaps? After all, the realist in you knows we are likely to expect the threats to get progressively more challenging to deal with in 2021. But enough with the speculation. 

Here are the cybersecurity trends and predictions, along with potential threats to accompany them, in 2021.

Cybersecurity Predictions for 2021: What Threats Should Enterprises Be Aware of

As we head into 2021, many cybersecurity experts have been sharing their thoughts about what this year is going to bring. 

Some of the expectations found online seem far-fetched and borderline unrealistic, while the other are undoubtedly inevitable, and it is just a matter of time until they become our reality. 

However, in this list, let’s focus on the latter and the threats we might have to deal with in 2021.

Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Automation-related Threats

Artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are becoming integral parts of daily business operations.

On the bright side, AI’s commercial application provides much-needed assistance in decision-making and manual task automation in many ways. But like with any progressive technology, its availability means there is more to protect.

On the other side, the improved volume and velocity of services is exactly what cybercriminals are going to use to conduct targeted attacks. This is especially true for AI-powered systems: Expect AI-enhanced systems to become attack targets as these systems usually operate massive pulls of data. 

In 2021, we would likely see cybercriminals exploit (or at least begin exploring) AI to make their attacks even more sophisticated.

Phishing and Ransomware Attacks to Reach a New High

Phishing and ransomware attacks are the constant participants of annual cybersecurity trends and predictions lists. The upcoming year is not an exception.

Social engineering has been a powerful tool in the scammers’ arsenal throughout 2020. It is no secret that orchestrating CEO fraud or implanting ransomware within email attachments is much easier than literally hacking through corporate security. 

Unfortunately, this trend will continue in 2021.

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts global ransomware damage costs to reach $20 billion by 2021 against $325 million in 2015.

According to the researchers at WatchGuard,

“By combining the manual aspects of spear phishing tools with programs that scan data from social media networks and company websites, phishers can send thousands of detailed, believable spear phishing emails, with content customized to each victim.”

So, you can expect to see emails delivered with malicious links comprising ransomware payloads. 

To cope with security challenges, enterprises will have to share responsibilities across operational, IT, and InfoSec teams. That’s why the importance of IT Leadership, continuous personnel training, and ability to detect phishing emails can be expected to become one of the cybersecurity trends in 2021 as well. 

5G Adoption: New Threats for High Tech

Among the most anticipated cybersecurity trends and predictions, 5G networks probably stand out the most. 

In the new era of remote work, we're learning to cope with new technologies faster than ever. The impact of public Wi-Fi networks, remote collaboration tools, and cloud services shape the way people communicate today.

As a result, the role of 5G networks becomes crucial: It is only a matter of time until 5G-capable devices will become widely adopted. 

Yet, while 2020 has only introduced us to the 5G-related network infrastructure, it is already clear that the technology will lead to the creation of new architectures, operational models, and vulnerabilities. 

Considering the time it takes to patch vulnerabilities, we can assume that the transition to the latest communication technology will not be a simple one either for enterprises or for small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Cybersecurity Trends for 2021: Email Security as a Crucial Protection Against Up-and-Coming Threats

At first glance, all these cybersecurity trends and predictions may seem like too much to handle. So far, relying on cyber hygiene alone is not enough to keep your business safe.

To protect yourself and your company from major cybersecurity threats, here is what you can do (and educate your employees on that.) 

Always Approach Emails with Suspicion 

It would be best if you never let your guard down.

This assertion is especially true if you receive or send emails containing personal information, wire transfer details, confidential documents, etc. 

Awareness is a definite must whether you have or don’t have measures to ensure the security of your email communication.

Get Confirmation Over Alternative Channels

If you use email to exchange confidential information or payment requests, always have an additional system in place. 

Call to verify the request or contact the person using another means of communication. 

Regardless of whether the email is from the person you know and looks legitimate, confirming the sensitive data (e.g., transaction details) over an independent, self-contained channel is a must.

Always Use Multi-Factor Authentication 

At this point, this should become a habit. 

Any time a service, an app, or an account of any kind offers you to enable multi-factor authentication — do it. It may only take you an extra 10-15 seconds to log in, but it is worth the security you’re getting out of it. 

Using AI to counter AI

The trend of using AI will also impact cybersecurity solutions. 

Expect it to be used to counter the vulnerabilities that adversary AI targets with malicious purposes. 

If your organization has a history of being under targeted attack, then you probably should be among the first who consider getting AI on board. Prior to adoption, though, verify that it has what it takes to protect itself in the first place. 

Also, consider ways to limit access to the email context through additional safeguards. Encryption, for instance, might be a consideration.

Use StealthMail to Exchange Sensitive Information

We have already touched upon the subject of how email is unfit for any confidential data

The technology behind the email is almost 40 years old, and, at its core, it was never built with the idea to transmit secure emails

While you can continue using email for essential communication –being cautious in the meantime– you have to take all sensitive information out of that channel.

StealthMail allows you to do exactly that.

Email Security Solutions for Enterprises 

StealthMail runs within Microsoft Outlook. The solution enables you to send messages invisible to anyone but the authorized recipient. The patented Stealth Technology ensures you never let your data out of sight. 

Moreover, StealthMail helps your organization meet compliance requirements and not just the existing GDPR, but the current and likely the ones coming up too. 

Everything that StealthMail does was designed and developed to ensure privacy and security of communication.

For what it is worth, developing a habit of following these simple instructions right now will prove to be of great benefit, regardless of when these cybersecurity predictions come to life.


2020 has certainly been full of challenges, uncertainty, and security upheavals. Looking forward to 2021, you can expect the above-mentioned cybersecurity trends and predictions to encourage enterprises to take a more strategic approach to their [email] security solutions and controls.

To learn more about StealthMail and how it grants unparalleled business communication protection, download a free Technical Datasheet or sign up for a Free Demo.


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