What will be the biggest cyber security threats of 2021

Becoming the victim of online fraud or a cyber attack is the last thing any business owner needs, not least in the middle of a global crisis that has taken its toll both personally and professionally.

But that’s exactly what’s happened, as a new study has found that nearly half (41%) of UK business owners say the level of cyber threats their business faces has increased since the pandemic.

The findings also give us an insight into the common types of cyber attack that you should look out for as we move through 2021.

What’s the problem?

A new report from Mactavish, the specialist outsourced insurance buyer and claims resolution expert, has revealed that 21% of businesses say they have suffered a cyber related loss in the last three years, and just over two thirds (69%) say this happened in the past 12 months.

The study of conducted at the end of 2019 identified eight key weaknesses in many cyber insurance policies, including cover being limited to events triggered by attacks or unauthorised activity – excluding cover for losses caused by accidental errors or omissions. 

Another flaw is that several policies provide limited cover for data breach costs e.g., covering costs that the business is legally required to incur as opposed to the much greater costs incurred in practice.

Mactavish’s research found that 41% of businesses interviewed claim that since the Coronavirus crisis started, the level of potential cyber-attacks they are facing has increased.  Of those businesses interviewed who have suffered a cyber-attack in the past three years, 69% said its impact was significant or very significant.  

Some 67% of managers and senior executives interviewed are now more worried about cyber attacks than they were three years ago.

What are the most common types of cyber attack?

The study also identified the most common types of cyber attack suffered by business, and found the following:

  • Email-based scams (56%)
  • Malware (31%)
  • Data theft (11%)
  • Insider attacks (9%)
  • Ransomware (8%)

Bruce Hepburn, CEO, Mactavish said: “Our research findings are very alarming as they show that cyber-attacks are a very real and growing threat facing businesses.  The impact of these can be very significant, making it all the more important that employers have adequate insurance cover against these.

“We conducted very detailed research into the construction of cyber policies at the end of 2019 and found that many had major flaws that seriously undermined the cover they offered. From what we see in our day-to-day work, some of these are still prevalent. This an area that firms should think very carefully about – an off the shelf product simply may not deliver the protection they are seeking.”

Mactavish can assist employers in reviewing the specific cyber risks they are facing and help ensure they have adequate insurance cover.

What will be the most common types of cyber attack in 2021?

Although the vaccine roll out is well underway across the globe, countries like the UK are still far from out of the woods. This means there’s a good chance that Covid-19-related scams will continue to be common,as they were in 2020.

It’s also likely that ransomware and inside attacks will continue to be common, as they were also a big problem in 2020.

But for most of us, malware and email scams will continue to cause the most problems, largely because these represent the simplest and most direct way for hackers to attack the population on a large scale.

For some practical ways to protect your business against cyber crime, check out our blog Cyber Crime on the increase in the UK.