7 of the Most Impactful Cybersecurity Incidents of 2021

There was a lot to learn from breaches, vulnerabilities, and attacks this year.

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The Log4j vulnerability that became public on Dec. 10 quickly established itself as one of the most significant security threats of 2021. But, by far, it was not the only issue that security teams had to wrestle with through the year.

As with every year, 2021 had its share of other big data breaches and security incidents that impacted many organizations.

For those keeping score, 1,291 breach incidents were publicly reported through Sept. 30, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC). That number was already 17% higher than the 1,108 breaches disclosed for all of 2020. If the trend continues, 2021 could break the record of 1,529 breaches that were reported in 2017.

But breaches weren't the only concern. A new Redscan analysis of the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) showed that more vulnerabilities — 18,439 — have been disclosed so far this year than in any previous year-to-date. Redscan found that some nine in 10 of them can be exploited by attackers with limited hacking or technical skills.

For security teams defending their organizations against threats daily, the statistics are unlikely to come as much of a surprise. Even so, the data hammers home the challenges organizations faced in 2021 — and will no doubt continue to face next year, as well.

The following is a list of seven of the most impactful breaches, attacks, and vulnerabilities of 2021.

About the Author(s)

Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year career at Computerworld, Jai also covered a variety of other technology topics, including big data, Hadoop, Internet of Things, e-voting, and data analytics. Prior to Computerworld, Jai covered technology issues for The Economic Times in Bangalore, India. Jai has a Master's degree in Statistics and lives in Naperville, Ill.

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