These days, you don’t have to look far to find a devastating security breach. In fact, cybercrime has increased 600% due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to PurpleSec and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
New threats are constantly surfacing, making cybersecurity a growth market. If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, there are countless opportunities available to you now, or in the future.
Here’s our list of the top five worst cybersecurity breaches of 2021, their impact and what it means if you’re considering a career in cybersecurity.
No.1 Microsoft Exchange Server
Microsoft Exchange Server, an email, contact, scheduling, calendaring and collaboration platform, underwent a mass cyberattack that affected millions of clients worldwide, including disease researchers, defense contractors, universities and other organizations with highly sensitive information.
The attackers took advantage of four separate zero-day vulnerabilities, which are known software security flaws that haven’t been patched. The result was a sustained attack on an estimated 250,000 servers.
In response, Microsoft had to release server updates to protect against critical vulnerabilities and tools to remove detected threats. The company is cooperating with governments in ongoing efforts to contain damage and protect clients against continued threats.
No.2 Florida City’s Water System
Attackers breached the water systems in Oldsmar, Fla. For a brief period of time, the hackers were able to increase the sodium hydroxide levels in the city’s water reserves to potentially dangerous levels. If the sudden change hadn’t been detected in time, the tainted water supply could’ve poisoned city residents.
Treated as a matter of national security, cybersecurity professionals are working with the FBI to investigate the incident and prevent further attacks around the country.
No.3 Cyber Insurance Firm, CNA Financial
CNA Financial, one of the largest cyber insurance firms in the U.S., was forced to disconnect their systems from their network and shut down normal business operations.
The cybersecurity breach caused a sustained network disruption to systems, including corporate email. The company called in third-party cybersecurity forensic experts to investigate and quickly initiated mitigation efforts.
No.4 Acer Ransomware Attack
When Acer, a Taiwan-based multinational computer maker, was hit with a ransomware attack in March 2021, the attackers demanded $50 million, the largest known cybercriminal ransom to date.
It’s believed that the cybercriminals exploited vulnerabilities created from the Microsoft Exchange attack. Acer announced that they’re continuously updating their cybersecurity infrastructure and working with law enforcement agencies.
No.5 Accellion Supply Chain Attack
Accellion, a technology company that specializes in secure file sharing and collaboration, quietly patched a security breach that occurred in December 2020.
In the months that followed, a cluster of vulnerabilities came to light that have exposed dozens of major corporations, universities and government agencies to extortion and threats from cyber criminals. The company claims that its cybersecurity team has been working around the clock to develop and release patches to resolve vulnerabilities.
Get Started with Your Cybersecurity Career
As evidenced by each of these breaches, cyber attacks are growing more sophisticated and bold every day. At every level, cybersecurity professionals have the opportunity to play a critical role in protecting companies, organizations, governments and individuals from harm.
If you’re considering a career in cybersecurity, there are ample opportunities for you today, and tomorrow.
To get started with your cybersecurity career, explore Udacity’s Intro to Cybersecurity Nanodegree program to gain the essential skills needed for a career in this high-demand field.