In their Ninth Annual Data Breach Industry Forecast, Experian looked at five areas they believe are most likely to be targeted for cyberattacks in 2022. Experian’s feeling is that the world is not going to become less interconnected any time soon, and as such we will experience many more data vulnerabilities and cyberattacks in the upcoming year.

They state that they foresee that 2022 ‘will be a sort of hangover’ from 2021’s “cyberdemic”. With much of what we do taking place online, our infrastructure, institutions and personal lives are more exposed than ever to malicious actors. Every organization and every person remain vulnerable. And this is true despite spending millions on security as cybercriminals have ample opportunity to exploit weak technologies.

These predictions come from Experian’s long history of helping companies navigate breaches over the past 18 years. Based on Experian’s expertise, the top data breach trends in 2022 include the following.

• Perfect Storm: Natural Disasters and Broken Supply Chains Natural disasters will drive more donations to aid organizations, and both donors and people in distress will see an increase in phishing attempts masked as charitable giving. This will be complicated by broken and unreliable global supply chains that will make the sourcing of important emergency goods difficult – another vulnerability that hackers will look to exploit. 

• Hackers Bet on New Gamblers: As more states legalize online sports betting, phishing scams will target the growing ranks of online gamblers, particularly new entrants. The large pool of money flowing from gamblers to online casinos will be a tempting target. Scammers will also target fantasy sports sites, whether through phishing attempts or outright hacks. 

• Cyberdemic 2.0 - Institutions Adapt, Individuals Remain the Weak Link: It’s clear now that many of the adaptations we made suddenly in response to the pandemic – telehealth, remote work, contact tracing – have left imprints on society that will outlast the pandemic itself. While many institutions will have successfully adapted by 2022 and developed new security protocols, many individuals – still working remotely – will likely be the weak security link in these new digital systems.

• Digital Assets Put Us in Peril: Cryptocurrency arguably entered the mainstream last year, and NFTs (or Non-Fungible Tokens) are not far behind. As people increasingly accept these as legitimate transactions and legitimate asset classes, both will become targets for attack, revealing that these ostensibly safe, immutable assets are in fact vulnerable. Concurrently, as our identities become more digitized, more bad actors will look to leverage these assets to steal identity. 

• Infrastructure: New Roads to Theft and Destruction: Cyberattacks have generally sought either disruption or extortion, but soon both state and non-state actors will more frequently target physical infrastructure like electrical grids, dams, or transportation networks. Relatedly, hackers will target funds disbursed by Congress that are intended to rebuild U.S. infrastructure.

By all indications, a sound cyber resiliency strategy should be on the radar of every organization today. As such, this presents a golden opportunity for Solution Providers to help deliver the solutions, guidance and security that end user customers need. 

To find out how you can get started helping your customers build a cyber resiliency strategy, you can refer to my earlier blog post here

The forecast can be found here

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