5 Cybersecurity Predictions
Cybersecurity has become crucial to everything we use and do: from our homes, offices and cars to entertainment (interactive video games), work (email, documents) and healthcare. It is no wonder that attacks against this critical infrastructure are growing fast.
Attack trends follow a pattern of peaks, troughs and plateaus. Some attacks have a stable growth rate, others are increasing rapidly while others may even decline.
1. Cloud Computing
Most organizations use the cloud for data storage, which allows employees to access important information from any device. This has increased business productivity, but it also increases security risks.
Malicious actors often target cloud environments and leverage their interconnectedness to steal sensitive data. Additionally, cybercriminals can tamper with APIs and interfaces to gain access to systems and spread malware.
To address these issues, cybersecurity specialists must focus on the entire network. They must monitor internal and external threats and continuously evaluate their impact on the organization. Additionally, they must be prepared to respond quickly to any cyberattacks. This requires a shift to a data-centric approach, as well as education for all users on safe cyber habits.
2. Identity Theft
As businesses become more reliant on digital systems and personal information, they are increasingly attractive targets for identity thieves. This is a significant cybersecurity risk because it can lead to financial losses, legal ramifications, and reputational damage.
Even if the pandemic didn’t completely turn traditional work environments on their heads, hybrid work would have happened anyway. Regardless, dispersed workers, remote networking technologies, and a more connected digital supply chain all create an expanded attack surface.
We expect to see an increase in attacks against identity systems. Deepfakes and 3-D face swaps are now readily available to bad actors, which makes it easier for them to bypass security protocols. This could impact everything from customer trust to critical infrastructure damage. We also expect a proliferation of hacktivism from non-state actors, which can complicate cyber attribution and strategy.
Cryptocurrencies have become a popular investment and transaction method for individuals and businesses alike. They allow users to conduct transactions without the need for middlemen like banks, and are often seen as a disruptive technology that could change how we exchange value.
Because cryptocurrencies are digital, they are vulnerable to hacking. However, these attacks are difficult to execute because the coins’ ownership information is distributed across a blockchain-based ledger that makes it nearly impossible for attackers to double-spend or counterfeit them.
While cryptocurrencies are highly valuable and have numerous benefits, they also introduce new risks that cybersecurity leaders need to understand. This includes understanding how to properly store them and identifying the best way to comply with regulations, such as those pertaining to Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer.
4. Social Engineering
Social engineering is a form of cyber attack that relies on manipulating the victim into performing ill-advised actions or divulging sensitive information. It is the most common attack method, making up more than 98% of all cyber attacks.
Examples of social engineering include tailgating (piggybacking), dumpster diving, and rogue security software. Also, attackers may use a tactic called watering hole attacks to infect websites visited by specific groups with malware, such as industry sites.
Employees should be alert for any request for their personal or company information, especially any that comes with a sense of urgency. Consistent training and awareness can help employees spot such requests. It can also help them avoid the pitfalls of social engineering, like clicking on a phishing link or granting unsolicited remote access to their devices.
Botnets are large groups of malware-infected computers, or devices (such as smartphones, tablets and internet of things (IoT) hardware) that have been herded together to perform cyberattacks. Cybercriminals deploy botnets to carry out attacks such as DDoS, spam campaigns and financial breaches.
Criminals can deliver botnet malware to unknowing recipients through file sharing, email and social media application protocols or by exploiting vulnerabilities in websites and systems. Once a device is infected, it reports back to the hacker through a control server or, as the case may be, other hijacked devices.
The hackers, or bot herders, are often paid a commission for every device that is recruited to their network. Identifying and shutting down the centralized command servers would help reduce botnet attacks. A simple, even partial traceback technique could drastically change the economic equation for botmasters, convincing them that profits do not outweigh the risk of getting caught.
Evelyn J. Miller
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