When it comes to cyberthreats, the old adage held true in 2020: the more things change, the more they stay the same. Hackers and other electronic criminals continued their relentless pursuit of data and sensitive information from middle market businesses, leading to record levels of several types of attacks. The middle market continues to represent a sweet spot for hackers, with companies possessing a significant amount of valuable data, but lacking the level of protective controls and staffing of larger organizations.
The COVID-19 pandemic also altered the threat landscape in the middle market due to the rapid large-scale shift to a remote work environment and more dependency on the internet to remain productive. Many companies simply did not have experience with managing such a transition, and security vulnerabilities—even for a short amount of time—were almost inevitable. Criminals were quick to strike, unleashing a host of attacks ranging from widespread malware and viruses to targeted social engineering and phishing attacks.
After years of increasing breach attempts and successful breaches, the middle market understands the risks that cybercriminals can pose. However, while the pandemic caused a global lockdown and generally kept people at online games win money without the luxury of venturing out to a restaurant or a movie, hackers were locked down as well with little to do but hone their craft and exploit vulnerabilities.