There are numerous ways a cybercriminal can hack a system, such as through phishing, malware, or ransomware, leading to data breaches that can severely cripple a company and cost the privacy of individuals. Even human mistakes can create vulnerabilities that open the door to a host of cybercrimes such as email and internet fraud, identity fraud, cyberextortion, ransomware attacks, mining malware, financial theft using card payment data or cryptojacking, and cyberespionage to access confidential and sensitive government or company data.
As long as the internet exists, cybercrime will be here to stay. No industry or population is safe.
Cybercrime Zooms Forward During the Pandemic
Who can forget how Twitter was surprised by the SIM swap scam?
On July 15 at several high-profile Twitter accounts the strange message was tweeted. Elon Musk, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Barack Obama and Bill Gates encouraged their followers to donate bitcoin to “the community.” Of course, a link was included. The hackers made off with about $120,000, small potatoes, considering, but the potential for worldwide destruction of the hack must not go unnoticed.
The case of Twitter is just one of the many ways cybercriminals have taken advantage of vulnerable situations since the pandemic broke out. A Forbes report stated that internet usage has spiked by 70% since the coronavirus placed a quarter of the world’s population under lockdown.
In the dark world of cybercrime, more people online means more opportunities for cybercriminals to go online scamming, phishing and other techniques for trouble, rendering millions of internet users worldwide to become sitting ducks in front of their computer screens.
The Shocking Statistics of Cybercrime in 2020
The statistics are quite horrifying. The FBI reported a 300% increase in reported cybercrime in 2020 while Google reported a major jump in COVID-19 related phishing attacks, with 18 million daily malware and phishing emails reported in the span of just one week.
Other reports of COVID-19 related cybercrime include a 600% rise of phishing attempts between the end of February and August 2020, a 148% increase in ransomware attacks in March 2020, a five-fold rise in attacks targeting homeworkers within six weeks after the onset of the first lockdowns, and a 30% increase of cyberattacks on UK businesses in Q1 2020.
It’s not just the increasing volume of cybercrime that’s worrying. It’s also the increasing complexity of cybercrimes as cybercriminals look for new ways to fool their next victim. One CEO in the UK fell victim to a scam that sounds like it was plucked right out of a futuristic sci-fi blockbuster.
Earlier in March this year, cybercriminals used AI to impersonate the voice of a chief executive. With the voice impersonation, they called the CEO of a UK-based energy business and convinced the CEO to transfer $243,000 to a Hungarian supplier within an hour. Believing the call came from his boss since the AI had perfectly mimicked the slight German accent and other qualities of the chief executive’s voice, the CEO obliged to the request.
Through this example, we can see how cybercriminals are leveraging rapidly evolving technology to scam and attack victims in more creative, complex ways that can fool even the most cautious of us. The only way to fight the growing complexity of cybercrime is by upskilling our first line of defense: the next generation of cyber-heroes.
The Growing Need for Cyber-heroes
With the fast proliferation of cybercrime, there is an undeniable need for a new breed of heroes in the form of cybersecurity experts to save us from this threat.
Yet, despite the growing need for cybersecurity talent, there is still a global shortage of cybersecurity professionals according to a 2019 Cybersecurity Workforce Study. This shortage leaves many businesses, and individuals, at risk.
Given today’s growing internet usage trend and rapid development of technology increasing everyone’s risk to more sophisticated forms of cybercrime, there is thus a promising future for those who upskill in cybersecurity.
It’s been projected that there will actually be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, a number that has more than tripled from the one million unfilled positions in 2014. That’s 3.5 million opportunities up for grabs for anyone who has the right skills in cybersecurity!
While many other professions face a crisis of graduates unable to find jobs or are working in jobs where they are overqualified and underpaid, the cybersecurity profession is facing a problem of the opposite nature. The current cybersecurity labor crisis shows that amidst the unfilled positions, there is currently a 0% unemployment rate amongst cybersecurity professionals.
Additionally, it has been forecasted that by 2021, 100% of large corporations (Fortune 500, Global 2000) globally will have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or equivalent position. This is a 70% rise from 2018.
Become a Cyber Defense Professional for a Secure Future
While many jobs are becoming redundant as many industries are adversely affected during these unpredictable times of the pandemic, a job in cybersecurity has a promising future.
Not only are there millions of current unfulfilled positions, but the number of companies seeking cybersecurity experts is expected to continue growing as they endeavor to protect their business from increasingly sophisticated cybercrime.
If you’re reading this, you are probably someone who can become an expert in the industry. You can create a secure future for yourself and become equipped to secure our virtual world, saving millions of people from unscrupulous criminals.
Contrary to popular belief, upskilling to become a qualified cybersecurity or cyber defense professional is not as hard as you think. If you already have a background or experience in IT, it doesn’t have to take you years of pursuing a college degree to become a cybersecurity expert. Through recognized, quality education, you can easily transform your IT expertise into in-demand cybersecurity skills.
CQURE Academy has been training cybersecurity experts since 2018. Their range of high-quality, specialized Windows security courses makes it accessible for anyone to equip themselves with the latest knowledge and skills needed to protect our online world.
Upskill with CQURE Academy
Here are four courses from CQURE Academy that you can dive into to jumpstart a new career path in the exciting and profitable field of cybersecurity.
To boost your career with 30 skills you actually need. With 12-month access to the program, you can complete this course at your own pace… or crash it in 30 days. You choose. By the end of the course, you’ll inject yourself with 30 skills that are crucial on the path from a Newbie to Windows Security Pro.
A must-do for enterprise administrators, infrastructure architects, system engineers & other IT professionals responsible for implementing network & perimeter security.
This intensive 1-day Forensics and Prevention Mastery Course will train you how to think like a hacker so you can evaluate your infrastructure for exploitable vulnerabilities and how to recover the evidence attackers leave behind.
In this essential 1-day cybersecurity crash course you will learn how to use network whitelisting and application whitelisting to effectively defend against the execution of unknown software in your organization without compromising usability.
This 7-hour course led by Tom Nowakowski will teach you how to preserve the integrity of your data from digital eavesdroppers by clever use of stealth communication techniques and technology. Learn how to safely transmit private and confidential data in this essential 7-hour intermediate to an advanced level course.
Take the first step to accelerate your career as a cybersecurity expert, so you can look forward to a brighter, more fulfilling career path.