Cybersecurity Outlook for 2021

Published in Member Communities on March 03, 2021

By: Jeremy Kauten, CIO and Senior VP of IT, VGM Group, Inc.

In 2021, ransomware damages are expected to be upwards of $20 billion. Previously in 2015,  ransomware was increasing at an alarming rate and was estimated at $325 million. And much of the damage due to cybersecurity breaches have been witnessed by the healthcare industry. Below, I’ve outlined some of the trends to be aware of and advice to help you protect yourself, your customers, and your business.

ransomware damages 2021

Cybercrime and Cryptocurrency

The total cybercrime damages are predicted to exceed $6 trillion annually in 2021. This represents the greatest transfer of wealth in history. Cybercrime will be more profitable than all illegal drugs combined globally.

To move that amount of wealth, many bad actors are now utilizing cryptocurrency. In fact, most cryptocurrency transactions conducted in 2021 will be for criminal activity. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are allowing criminals to transact quickly, bypassing traditional government payment systems.

cybercrime will be more profitable than all illegal drugs combined globally

FireEye Breach


In recent weeks, attacks from foreign governments have exacerbated the cybersecurity threat. Russian agents were able to breach the cyberdefense giant, FireEye. FireEye is typically used by large Fortune 100 firms, as well as government agencies such as the FBI, to protect their data. However, FireEye is also known for having the latest offensive tools used in red team attacks, which are ethical hackers using tools on organizations to identify risks. These tools that contain many vulnerability exploits are now in the hands of the bad guys.

hackers will likely try to gain access to email accounts

What to Watch For

Cyber breaches in 2021 will likely use these two elements of attack:

  1. A component of email used in the attack – Not that the email server itself will be compromised, but hackers will likely try to gain access to email accounts or use a malicious email to get a foothold in the organization.
  2. Remote workers – The pandemic sent workers home with access to the network. This will likely be part of business as usual. Securing devices outside the firewall is different and takes new resources. Hackers are also aware of this and will try to exploit this area.

Playbook: Forecasting 2021This article was originally featured in the VGM Playbook: 2021 Forecasting. To read the complete article, download your copy of the playbook.

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