"In the coming year, we predict cyber criminals will find new ways to attack individuals, their homes, and their devices in order to find a path into trusted corporate networks," says Corey Nachreiner, chief technology officer, WatchGuard Technologies.
"This trend will accelerate due to the sharp rise in remote working brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic," he says.
Nachreiner says cyber criminals often incorporated worm functionality modules within their malicious code which is designed to move laterally to other devices on a network.
"During 2021, attackers will seek out vulnerabilities in home networks with the objective of infecting connected corporate devices. From there, they will target corporate networks and IT resources," he says.
Another attack technique predicted to increase during 2021 is spear phishing. Cyber criminals will increasingly make use of automated tools to increase the volume of attacks they can mount.
The tools can scan social media networks and company websites to harvest information which is then used to create targeted email messages that appear to have come from a legitimate source.
"By automating spear phishing attacks, cyber criminals can launch far greater numbers of attacks, thereby improving their success rates," says Nachreiner.
"Thankfully, however, such high-volume campaigns are likely to be less sophisticated and easier to spot than the traditional, manually generated variety."
WatchGuard also highlights increasing risks around the usage of smart electric cars during the coming year. Although there has not been a successful hack of a smart car for quite some time, in 2021 this run will end, and cyber criminals will succeed in gaining access to vehicles.
"We believe these attacks will leverage smart chargers," says Nachreiner.
"As with chargers for devices such as mobile phones, smart car charging cables carry more than just energy. They also carry data that helps to manage the charging process. It's likely that a cyber criminal will use this to either interfere with the charging process or even the car itself."