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Cybersecurity in 2021, What You & Your Business Need to Know — Opinion

Don’t sleep on this…

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2020 saw an increase in hacking attacks as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a spike in telecommuting globally. As a result, vulnerabilities in networks administrated by individuals and small businesses are being targeted with increased frequency. This trend is expected to continue deep into 2021, and most of the risks posed to small business owners and remote employees can be mitigated with proper education and preparation.

Many businesses find themselves operating with less resources than they previously had as a result of lost revenues related to the global economic downturn. With the attention of many businesses diverted towards the fight to keep their doors open, cybercriminals are set to potentially have their most profitable year ever. That being said, some of the primary online threats to avoid are:

Ransomware Nets Big Payouts: Opportunistic hackers used the COVID-19 pandemic to make the year 2020 huge for ransomware campaigns. Cyber Insurance provider Coalition backs up that statement, as they reported ransomware as the cause of 41% of cyber insurance claims they received in the first half of last year. In addition, the 2020 Crowdstrike Global Security Attitude Survey reported 27% of ransomware victims having paid ransoms in 2019. Some of the more common variants of ransomware include Lucky ransomware and the Sodinokibi strains.

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Insider Breaches: An unfortunate byproduct of telecommuting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a rise in employees engaging in criminal misconduct related to the exploitation of data that is now available to them without supervision. Even before COVID, the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report reported a disturbing rise of insider breaches that now make up close to a third of data related incidents.

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-Phishing Attacks: Phishing is the tried-and-true entry point for most cyber-attacks. Hackers like to send malicious emails near the end of the workday, when most staff are less sharp and watching the clock, to deliver their phishing emails. Just a single instance of an employee clicking on a malicious email is all it takes to give hackers full access to a company’s network.

Social Engineering Attacks: Database exposure compromises company information via social engineering, which is a form of psychological manipulation that tricks people into divulging confidential information. Hackers use this method to steal login credentials and access a company’s network. Most companies are known to store customer and employee data, financial records or other information including Social Security numbers, on their database.

Browser Hijacking: Browser hijacking modifies your browser settings to redirect traffic to a hacker’s partner websites. This is done to generate ad revenue. Unsuspecting victims see their browser’s homepage and default search engine being replaced with a fake version of an otherwise legitimate internet search engine. The phony search engine can even insert unwanted banners and ads onto the pages of real websites. Common versions of these attacks involve the Google Redirect Virus and the Yahoo Search Redirect Virus.

Advanced Persistent Threats: APTs have made news in the fallout of the SolarWinds hacking attack. APTs are now targeting more than just large corporations and government entities. These threat actors use persistent and stealthy techniques to compromise networks and remain inside for an extended period of time. A new wrinkle to the threat sees smaller businesses and individuals that are associated with larger entities being targeted, perhaps as a penetration point into larger groups. Some infamous APT hacking groups are APT29 (Cozy Bear), APT35 (Charming Kitten), APT38 (Lazarus Group) and APT37 (Ricochet Chollima).

Most small businesses are not well-versed in security protocol and are currently struggling to keep their doors open in 2021. For some, one breach is all it takes to close their doors permanently. Now, more than any other time in history, businesses must place a premium on network security. Their very survival may well depend on it.

Julio Rivera is a business and political strategist, the Editorial Director for Reactionary Times, and a political commentator and columnist. His writing, which is focused on cybersecurity and politics, has been published by websites including The Hill, Newsmax, The Washington Times, Real Clear Politics, Townhall, American Thinker and many others.

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Inefficiency and ‘Too Big To Fail’ Government Contracts Sting The Taxpayer

Gary S. Goldman is the nationally recognized host of “Business, Politics, & Lifestyles” a weekly talk show airing on WCRN 830 in Metro Boston MA. Learn more at garyonbpl.com.   

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There are many problems with government contracting. The Federal News Network identified one problem when they reported on May 11, 2021, “The longer it takes the Biden administration to get its final fiscal year 2022 appropriation request out, the worse it’ll be for federal contracting. By one account, the final numbers might not get until February.” That is February of 2022, because they will likely not finish work on appropriations until the end of the year while the Fiscal 2022 year starts on October 1, 2021. Inefficiently usually leads to taxpayers paying more for less. There is another problem for the taxpayer, and it is enormous long term federal contracts that are on autopilot. During the 2008 financial crisis, Americans learned the danger of “too big to fail.” Banks that had lent foolishly had to be bailed out at great expense. Well, these days we are relearning the lesson of “too big to fail.” Except now the government has put itself on the hook. The issue this time revolves around federal government contracting, especially at the Pentagon. The problem begins in a different era, the 1990s. Back then, the United States was the unchallenged and unchallengeable power. The Soviet Union had collapsed, and the rest of the world was either allied with us our cowed by us. At that time, the goal was to develop a new generation of weapons that would expand military dominance for decades to come. The federal treasury was overflowing, and money was no object. Leaders decided to back the F-35, a Joint Strike Fighter that would, supposedly, be able to replace jets used by the Air Force, the Navy, and the Marine Corps. A big problem with the plan is that it relied, as so many government projects do, on a single contractor. The entire F-35 contract went…

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Army Releases Woke Lesbian Recruitment Video, But Still Finds Woman Can’t Pass Fitness Test

The U.S. Army released a new woke recruitment video to appeal to lesbians.

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The U.S. Army released a new woke recruitment video to appeal to lesbians, yet the Pentagon has admitted that female soldiers still can’t pass the fitness test, even after they were downgraded. The Army released its animated advertisement featuring a girl raised by two pride parade-marching, lesbian mothers. Per the Washington Examiner: The advertisement, titled Emma: The Calling, showed a girl’s childhood before she joined the Army as a Patriot Missile operator. The two-minute video followed Emma while she watched her two mothers get married, joined a sorority at the University of California-Davis, and fought for “freedom” at a young age by participating in a gay rights parade. “It begins in California with a little girl raised by two moms. Although I had a fairly typical childhood, took ballet, played violin, I also marched for equality. I like to think I’ve been defending freedom from an early age,” she said in the advertisement, which was posted to YouTube on May 4. “When I was 6 years old, one of my moms had an accident that left her paralyzed,” she continued. “Doctors said she might never walk again, but she tapped into my family’s pride to get back on her feet, eventually standing at the altar to marry my other mom.” WATCH: https://youtu.be/MIYGFSONKbk Meanwhile, the Pentagon has had to admit that nearly half of the female soldiers have failed the already weakened Army Combat fitness Test during the first half of 2020. https://twitter.com/StevenBeynon/status/1391753154279231494 The ACFT consists of six different events, and the test has been changed since last year. Women are now allowed to skip the leg tucks, which had a 41 percent fail rate. Even though the test has been weakened, 44 percent of women still failed the test in the first half of the year. The Army had already…

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