The biggest cyber security threats in 2021

Impact IT discuss the biggest cyber security threats businesses should continue to look out for in 2021.
Cyber security threat message on a laptop computer on a desk

2020 was a strange year for us all, but a busy one for hackers and cybercriminals. Recent research by Hiscox, a leading business insurance company, found that one small business in the UK was hacked every 19 seconds in 2020. Sadly, 2021 has seemingly been much the same. A massive increase in remote working and the digitalisation of many small businesses open new opportunities for cybercriminals to strike.

It’s important to stay alert and know what to look for. So, we have broken down the biggest cyber security threats that your business should be looking out for this year.

Vaccination Scam Emails and Texts

The rolling out of the covid-19 vaccine is a source of hope for many. Unfortunately, it’s also a golden opportunity for cybercriminals to attempt to steal your money and personal data.

Fake texts and emails have been circulating, informing people that they’re eligible to apply for a covid-19 vaccine. These messages claim to be from the NHS and guide users to a fake website. They’re then asked to fill in payment details to obtain the vaccine.

All covid-19 vaccines are free on the NHS and there is no private route available. The NHS will never ask you for your bank or card details or ask you to prove your identity by sending off copies of your documents.

Phishing emails often contain spelling mistakes. This is to bypass spam filtering and is also believed to be a way of selecting more vulnerable targets. Genuine messages from the NHS or healthcare providers would not contain any such errors. Legitimate text messages will also usually come from correctly labelled texts, such as “NHS”, rather than phone numbers.


According to Paragon, Ransomware is one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity threats. Global damages are predicted to reach £15 billion by the end of the year.

A ransomware attack is when a cybercriminal infects a system with malware, and then holds an organisation’s data to ransom in exchange for money. Worryingly, ransomware is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Double ransomware attacks are growing in frequency. Groups are not only charging organisations to access their data but also selling their data to others.

One of the most effective things you can do to protect your business against a ransomware attack is to invest in ransomware protection. Ensure you have a ‘strong’ backup system in place that performs regular backups.

Attacks on Remote Employees

The pandemic has seen a huge shift towards remote working. This has created many opportunities for cybercriminals to attack your employees that are working from home. If your employees are working from home using devices that haven’t been secured by an IT expert, then your company is potentially at risk.

You must educate your staff on the best cyber security practices when working remotely and keep their knowledge up to date.

It Pays to Be Prepared

Stats found on CSO state that 33% of UK organisations that suffered a data breach, lost customers as a result. Cyber security attacks are a drain on your time, money, and resource. So, the best way to deal with them is to be prepared and put practises in place before your business succumbs to a cyber attack.

How to keep your business safe

At Impact IT Solutions, we provide cyber security solutions to keep your business safe. In addition to automated online backups and effective disaster recovery solutions, we provide professional IT consultancy and staff awareness training. This ensures your business stays safe from cyber security threats. Find out more about our Cyber Security Services.

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