Of course there’s nothing new about this trend. Nearly every year over the past decade have been pretty dismal on the cybersecurity front. That said, there are a few bright spots to look forward to this year.
Here’s what we think you can expect in 2022:
- Russia will continue to be the cybercrime hub of the world: It would be an understatement to say that tensions are running high between the U.S. and Russia. Even in the event of a diplomatic resolution to the current military build up at the Ukrainian border, it’s likely that Vladimir Putin’s hands-off policy toward ransomware gangs and cybercrime will continue (if his government is not sponsoring them outright).
Expect to see bigger and bolder attacks originating from Russia against Western targets.
- Instagram will start taking cybersecurity seriously: Despite being one of the crown jewels of Meta’s social media empire, Instagram has serious cybersecurity issues. Account hijacks are rampant and ban-as-a-service operators regularly wreak havoc on the platform with very little in the way of user support.
If Instagram wants to maintain its current dominance as the go-to platform for creatives, it needs to start taking security seriously in 2022 or something will emerge to replace it.
- Real-person tech support will be in even greater demand: This month’s Amazon Web Services outage revealed a major problem with the internet and app-based approach to finance and critical infrastructure: Not being able to get in touch with an actual human during an outage can be bad for business.
While a non-working Amazon-based service like the Ring doorbell or a smart home assistant is an inconvenience, the mass outages experienced by stock trading sites like Robinhood have the potential to really hurt consumers. The message here is clear: If you do something in the financial services area, you need humans on call.
- Covid-19 will still be a favorite lure for phishers: With new Covid cases rising into the double digits again and Omicron spreading fast, two things can be said for certain. We won’t be done with the pandemic in 2022. And the collective anxieties, misinformation and rumor mills surrounding it will continue to be exploited by scammers. Treat anything Covid-related showing up in your inbox with an extra level of caution.
- Law enforcement will get better at fighting cybercrime: 2021 saw several high-profile arrests and takedowns of major cybercrime operations, often with a higher level of international and interagency cooperation than in previous years. Whether or not this will translate to less cybercrime is still ambiguous (and most likely overly optimistic), but it does seem like authorities are finally adjusting their methods and tactics to 21st century crime.
- Face Computers!!! The advent of virtual and augmented reality-driven devices have been a bit over-hyped, but with Apple’s expected AR device announcement in 2022, its time may have finally arrived.
The company’s track record with bringing computers into homes in the 80s, mp3 players and then smartphones into pockets in the early 2000s and smartwatches to wrists in the last few years means that we will very likely be viewing the world through digital goggles (or something like it) in the near future. Privacy and cybersecurity conflicts are sure to follow.
- Password security will still suck: Every year, the list of the most commonly used (and breached) passwords reads like a wish list for hackers. “123456” came in at the top of the list in 2021, closely followed by perennial and groan-worthy entries like “123456789” and “password.” Despite repeated pleas from everyone within the field of technology, 2022 will undoubtedly be another year of easily avoided data breaches and compromised due to monumentally lazy password security.
If you’re still looking for a holiday present for the IT person in your life, just tell them that you’re either using a password manager or that you’ve updated your account passwords to something other than “111111.” They’ll appreciate it, and you’ll be a harder target in the year to come. At least most reputable companies are now requiring more secure passwords.