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Cyber Trends in 2020 & How to Prepare for 2021

Patrick Cassidy
Jan 04

Cyber Threats in 2020

2020 was a year like no other, especially with the rise in cyber attacks. It was a record-breaking year – according to UK Government statistics, almost half of the businesses reported experienced cybersecurity breaches or attacks in the last 12 months.

While we saw hackers using tried and tested tricks, the Covid-19 pandemic was an opportunity for them to deploy a range of new tactics. We’ve outlined some of the most common tactics used in 2020.

Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Tools

RDP such as Any Desk, Team Viewer, etc. exploded in popularity in 2020, but they have also become a target for hackers. Cybersecurity firm Webroot reported unsecured RDP has risen to over 40% since the Covid-19 pandemic began. This comes as more businesses are enabling their workforce to work remotely. Unfortunately, many are not doing so securely.

RDP will only ask for username and password, so cybercriminals can use brute force tools to gain access. One particular malicious company, Hashcat, released software that can use a graphics card to crack a 15 character password in 15 hours. Get in touch with us to make sure you are using these tools securely.

Small-Medium Businesses

Typically, smaller businesses don’t see the need to invest in IT as they believe they are not a likely target. Unfortunately, hackers will continue to use this as a reason to specifically target SMB’s.

Hackers also predict that employees of SMB’s do not have the same level of security awareness training as larger corporations. Security Awareness Training is growing in popularity as it equips employees with the knowledge to spot phishing emails with regular testing and training. At C3 we offer this training through our cybersecurity partner KnowBe4, click here to find out more.


Ransomware continues to be one of the most popular methods of attacks. According to cybersecurity experts, ransomware attacks increased by 40%, with over 199 million cases globally in Q3 2020.

In 2020, the average ransom amount was over £100K. It was also reported that the average amount of downtime due to a ransomware incident is 16.2 days – this could be a death sentence for some smaller businesses. Even if you pay, you may still not get your data back. Secure data back-ups & training are critical against these attacks.

Windows 7

In 2020 malware targeting Windows 7 increased by 125%. Microsoft announced that technical assistance and software updates for Windows 7 would end in January 2020. No more software updates mean the malware will be more effective. Malware can include any type of malicious software such as viruses, spyware, ransomware, and Trojan horses.

You need to upgrade your operating system to the latest version – it’s no longer best practice advice. It’s a must.

Get Ready for 2021

This cyber threat activity shows no sign of slowing down for 2021, so we recommend following our advice below.

  1. Secure remote connections
  2. Embrace employee training
  3. Ensure you have protected data backups
  4. Implement strong password policies
  5. Upgrade from Windows 7
  6. Use a layered cybersecurity strategy
  7. Consider outsourcing your IT for total peace of mind

Ionic Can Help

Security is at the centre of everything we do. We work with industry-leading cybersecurity partners to offer our clients the best protection from potential attacks. Get in touch to find out how we can help secure your business.



028 7964 5865