1. The success rate of cyber attacks on businesses will decrease but still remain above the pre-pandemic level
During the pandemic, with the sudden shift from office to home, most of us didn’t know how to secure ourselves and our devices properly while online. That meant that cyberattacks almost quadrupled during the thickest part of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Seventy-one percent of people in the US are working from home. Research from December 2020 also found that more than half of these people would like to continue working from home after the pandemic, which might inspire them to be more proactive about their personal online security. With an increasing number of employees working remotely, companies are also more likely to invest in decent cybersecurity, which could soften the impact that cyberattacks have on them.
2. Telepathic tech
This month, a paralyzed man sent the first ever “direct thought” tweet. How? Synchron. The company has just developed an endovascular brain computing interface, which is attached through the patient’s jugular vein to avoid invasive brain surgery.
Add Elon Musk’s Neuralink to the mix, and we just might be on the verge of commercializing neural-bionic technology.
3. Mainstream VR/AR reveals more ways to collect data
The Metaverse has been considered laughable, catastrophic, life-changing, and revolutionary, all at once. If virtual reality and augmented reality become an essential way of life, the opportunities for data collection will be lucrative, to say the least.
From a technology standpoint, the metaverse could be the catalyst which sees virtual reality (VR) progressing beyond our imagination. Likewise, the progress of virtual reality technology could dwindle if the metaverse isn’t adopted.
4. Governments and banks could go crypto
The fact that cryptocurrency is decentralized is what makes it so unique. In the future, we may find that centralized banks and governments try to take this decentralization away. They could do so by creating their own currencies that carry the crypto name but closely resemble their fiat counterparts.
5. WFH monitoring could become even more invasive
Companies still need to measure the productivity of their employees as they work from home, and productivity apps will be their tools of choice.
Apps like DeskTime, StaffCop, and Hubstaff have enabled managers to drill down into the specific activities of each employee. Hubstaff implements random screen capture, which can be set to report once, twice, or three times per minute, and Teramind logs all keyboard activity and forms user-based behavior analytics.
How much of your data are you willing to let your employer have? And will productivity apps be a fair price to pay for a more flexible life? Most companies are probably weighing up these moral, ethical, and corporate issues at this very moment.
6. Ransomware as a service could grow massively
In 2021, nearly 70% of ransomware attacks on companies used ransomware as a service (RaaS). That usually means entire company systems are frozen and held to eye-wateringly high ransom.
Given the success of these ransoms being paid, ransomware software will be in demand, developed at a higher rate, and likely sold on the dark web to hackers.
7. Hackers target supply chains for bigger ransoms in 2022
Multiple middlemen are involved in producing a single product. And attacking an aspect of a company’s supply chain may become a popular way to demand ransom.
For example, if an AI supplier contributes to five leading supermarket self-checkout systems, they’re under immense pressure to cave in to ransom demands.
Hackers may also target suppliers more post-pandemic. These suppliers will need to recover from massive hits in revenue and can’t afford to lose any more business.
8. Internet censorship could get worse
Over 200M people had their internet cut off by their governments in 2020. The people of Kashmir, Uganda, and Myanmar were all silenced in internet blackouts, which were imposed by their governments during elections or political upheavals.
Political regimes are continuing to use the internet as a powerful control mechanism. Up by 49% from 2019, government-imposed internet blackouts are likely to become more frequent in 2022.
9. Spyware could help track enemies of the state
With the growing use of surveillance in our societies, it’s only a matter of time before spywareis weaponized by intelligence agencies. After all, their findings can be meshed with other surveillance data from multiple sources.
Apple, for instance, proposed “NeuralMatch” this year. It is a tool that scans all of your iPhone photos before they’re uploaded to iCloud to combat sexual-related crimes. But plans have been postponed since users think that Apple could also use this tool to monitor our general everyday activities.
Operating in the background, however, we still have the 14 Eyes Alliance, the members of which track and exchange information on their citizens. Adding to this is the general data snooping by your internet service provider (ISP), as well the depressing estimate of there being one street camera for every 14 people in the UK.
10. Quantum cryptography could flourish
Quantum computing has been applied to weather forecasting, machine learning, drug design, logistics, and financial modeling. But like any emerging technology, it needs securing, which is why we think that quantum cryptography will mature alongside quantum computing.
Quantum cryptography uses quantum physics to encrypt and transmit data to help prevent it from being hacked. It works by sending photons, or quantum particles of light, across an optical link. Traditional cryptography uses mathematical computations or algorithms to encrypt data.
Experts believe that quantum cryptography is virtually unbreakable, however, it could disrupt classical encryption that we currently use, so the cybersecurity world has a lot to prepare for.
11. Hackers attack unprepared AI systems
As another emerging technology, AI systems that aren’t secured properly could make an easy target for hackers. What’s worrying is that when it comes to new technology, vulnerabilities are often realized only once they’ve been exploited.
“Ring” doorbells, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant have all been at the center of privacy scandals and malfunctioning. In 2019, a woman in the US discovered that her Echo had sent recordings of her private conversations to her husband’s work colleague. Meanwhile, various researchers are reportedly able to command Google Assistant with the “ultrasonic wave trick.”
With the number of vulnerabilities in our current AI systems, new cybersecurity tools are bound to emerge in 2022.
12. Silly passwords could cause the biggest data leak we’ve ever seen
Quantum threat and machine-learning takeovers aside, bad passwords are still one of the biggest threats to our safety.
In 2021, millions of people had their data stolen from reputable companies or had their online accounts broken into. A popular way to hack accounts is by using a brute-force attack, where millions of password and username combinations are tried against a system per second until one sticks.
Worryingly, NordPass research found that “123456” is still the most popular password, making it even easier for criminals to steal your personal information.
What can you do?
Eighty-five percent of all cybersecurity breaches are caused by the “human element.” Carelessness, weak passwords, and lack of cybersecurity knowledge are just a few of the reasons why cyberattacks like phishing and spoofing almost double year after year.
In a way, this is good news because it means we’re more than capable of taking control of our own security to avoid cybercriminals.
Here are 5 powerfully simple ways to stay safe online
- Passwords, passwords, passwords: A strong password could be the difference between a secured account and your personal information spread across the dark web, so learn how to create a strong password.
- Study your enemy and know what a phishing email looks like: One of the oldest and most effective tricks in the book is sending a phishing email or message. These are messages pretending to be from people or companies you know for the purpose of getting you to hand over your details or unwittingly install spyware onto your device.
- Use a password manager: It’s one thing to arm yourself with super-secure tongue-twisting passwords, but you’ll never remember them. So we don’t forget them, millions of us still write down our passwords or let Safari, Chrome, or Firefox remember them for us. The problem is that there are multiple ways someone could get all of your stored passwords. Instead, store all of your passwords in a secure, encrypted password manager like NordPass. It’ll sync with your device and transfer all of your passwords over in minutes.
- Update all your devices: This tip seems arbitrary, but software updates contain crucial security improvements like bug fixes and fixes to other known vulnerabilities. Updates keep you safe and you should never postpone them. After all, there’s only so much you can do if the system itself is flawed.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi without a VPN: Public Wi-Fi is usually unencrypted, which offers criminals opportunities to intercept your internet connection, and poses a massive risk to your device and personal data. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, no matter where you are. Simply install a VPN app, turn it on, and all of your online activity is kept hidden from spies.