As we embrace digitalization, organizations have become more vulnerable to cybercrime. Not only are businesses at risk but governments and individuals are too. These ever-evolving cyber risks demand a proactive approach to cybersecurity at many levels. Henceforth, organizations must take the necessary steps to protect their data and resources.
Here, we’ll outline the top cybersecurity threats individuals and organizations will probably encounter in our digital landscape. These can better secure your online presence and prevent cybercrime from negatively impacting your personal and professional life.
Top cybersecurity threats now and their impact in the near future
First is ransomware. Ransomware is a malware used to demand currency in exchange for the victim’s sensitive information. These exchanges are never guaranteed and victims often assume subsequent expenses to secure their information from being released. In recent times, this type of cyberattack has gained popularity due to cryptocurrency’s accessibility. However, it’s generally used in conjunction with other cyber threats on this list, e.g. social engineering or web application attacks.
- During 2022’s first half, there were more than 235 million ransomware attacks worldwide, as published by Statista Research Department. Likewise, victims lose billions (USD) each year, placing it as one of the most profitable types of cyber threats out there.
- Research shows that small businesses received 94% of their detected malware by email, as mentioned by Forbes.
- While the average ransom fee has propelled, companies also suffer revenue losses. The average system downtime after a ransomware attack is 21 days (about 3 weeks), according to Embroker.
Trend: Ransomware is expected to experience a substantial increase in coming years. Eventually, they’ll target potential high-net-worth victims. This forecast is due to the strengthening of company systems, the popularity of cryptocurrencies, and the convenience of online service providers.
Best solution: What’s the best solution to ransomware? The best counter to ransomware is through prevention. Being able to identify these attacks can prevent that first breach. Other mitigation strategies involve data and system backups in secure locations, implementing reliable incident response processes, and network segmentation.
2. Cloud Computing Vulnerabilities
Unlike ransomware, anyone would assume cloud services would be safer, especially after so many organizations are migrating to them. But in truth, there are still security issues in cloud computing systems. Even by today’s standards, cloud computing faces threats and vulnerabilities. In reality, many don’t offer some of the most basic safety measures. A poor configuration can invite cybercriminals to challenge a system’s internal processes and potentially gain access to sensitive information.
- Cloud vulnerabilities have increased by about 150% in the last 5 years. Verizon’s DBIR found that over 90% of the 29,000 breaches analyzed in their report were caused by web app breaches.
- Contrarily, cloud security is currently proliferating with a massive increase from $313 billion in (USD) in 2020 to $482 billion (USD) in 2022. Even now, cloud services are still growing, according to Forbes.
Trend: New technologies in cloud services security are integrating system structures that operate in a constant state of anxiousness. The system now requires multi-factor authentication instead of granting continuous access to recognized devices or networks. This style of security has gained popularity in recent years and is likely to see widespread adoption moving forward.
Best solution: The best solution to secure data in cloud computing would be to use one of the most promising tools out there: predictive security. While these services become safer, it is good to have a team like ours to help you pinpoint your system’s vulnerabilities before cybercriminals do.
3. Social Engineering
A social engineering threat or phishing, is when an individual is tricked into downloading malware or sharing sensitive information. Those who fall victim can unknowingly compromise their entire organization’s system. Though the approaches may vary — from phone calls to social media or emails — the goal is the same. A phishing attack takes advantage of human error and are usually the first step in a multistep cyberattack.
- 85% of all data breaches involve human interaction, according to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations report.
- 2022 experienced a 61% increase in phishing attacks, compared to the previous year. A six-month report that ended in October, according to CNBC.
- Every year, more organizations experience at least one successful email-based phishing attack, according to a study by Proofpoint.
Trend: Most cyberattacks we read about in the media started with successful phishing attacks. Victims are carefully geo-targeted to improve the chances of the cyber-attack and 2023 is no exception. It is estimated that -for the next decade- organizations will incorporate offensive practices as part of their cybersecurity routine. Not only is it a part of good cyber hygiene, but also essential to safeguard sensitive data against new threats. A single data breach can potentially cost millions of dollars in damages.
Best solution: What is the best way to prevent social engineering attacks? Social engineering’s still one of the most dangerous hacking techniques employed by cybercriminals. The best way to prevent a social engineering attack is by implementing security architecture and taking proactive steps. Many companies have set up internal security teams and are making sure employees are more aware of these dangers. However, it’s not always feasible for all companies. Partnering with us can provide excellent support with our customizable cybersecurity services.
4. Third-party Threats
Third-party or supply chain threats breaches happen when companies grant vendors, partners, and other service providers access to their system. Unfortunately, these parties typically don’t have a security system in place or lack a team to manage their cyber risks. They do, however, have access to sensitive corporate or customer data, systems, as well as other privileged information. Cybercriminals take advantage of these less-protected networks and open the opportunity for other threats like cryptojacking.
- Since the pandemic, over 50% of businesses are more willing to hire freelancers, according to a workforce trends report by CyberArk. 96% of organizations grant external parties access to critical systems. This provides potential unprotected access to their data for cybercriminals to exploit.
- Software supply chain attacks grew by more than 300% in 2021, according to a study by Argon Security. We have seen this trend continue to increase.
- An estimated 60% of data breaches involve a third party. Only 52% of those companies had security standards in place, published by RiskManagementMonitor.com. Some of the high-profile victims in 2021 included the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Trend: Since 2022, third-party breaches have become an even more pressing threat. Companies have increasingly turned to remote freelancers to complete workloads, regularly handled by full-time employees.
Best solution: How do you solve a supply chain risk? As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated and cybersecurity threats continue to rise, organizations are becoming increasingly aware of the potential risk posed by third parties. Many organizations are enlisting the services of cybersecurity professionals, such as those employed at wizlynx group.
5. Poor Security Configurations
These occur when security settings are not defined, implemented inappropriately, or when default values are unaltered. They are easily targeted, detected, and exploited by cybercriminals. An unpatched systems carries broken access control, sensitive data exposure, and other outdated components. These vulnerabilities must be patched at once, even more after a cybersecurity attack.
- 80% of external penetration tests encountered exploitable misconfigurations even in the most professional security systems, as shared by Embroker. That number rose to 96% once the attacker had gained access to the system.
- In 2021, 1,263 companies took part in a survey after a cybersecurity breach. 80% of victims who gave a ransom payment said they experienced another attack soon after. 60% of cyberattacks could have been prevented if an available patch had been applied. Only 39% of organizations say they were aware they were vulnerable before the cyber-attack occurred.
- 50% of IT personnel said they reuse passwords across multiple workplace accounts, says Embroke.
Trend: Coming years will highlight the repercussions of past years’ poorly managed cybersecurity attacks, spiked exponentially by COVID-19. This strain will only magnify an already pressing issue: a considerable fraction of IT experts is admittedly ill-equipped to manage their organization’s cybersecurity tools and how they work. That means they are not performing regular internal testing and maintenance, Ponemon Institute reports. The combined impact of the pandemic, socio-political disruptions, and financial stress may raise the chances of employee oversight, increasing cybercrime opportunities.
Best solution: Preventing security misconfigurations requires a multifaceted approach across your entire security system. Many automated tools can scan for outdated applications and missing patches, making remediation more efficient. Patch management is the first step to clear out vulnerabilities automated attacks exploit. At wizlynx group, we make sure to improve any organization’s security posture and future decision-making.
6. Mobile Risks
Lastly, mobile or handheld devices risks have become a very profitable market for cybercriminals due to all the sensitive information they carry. The aftermath of the pandemic has led to an even greater dependence on mobile devices and higher data usage. Systems are now being bypassed from unprotected home networks. While personal devices (that could get lost or stolen) are easily cracked without the proper configurations.
- Since 2019, mobile banking has experienced an increase of over 50% more of malware attacks, according to Michelle Moore, University of San Diego.
- About 70% of fraudulent transactions originated from mobile platforms. Popular mobile attack vectors include malware, data tampering, phishing, ransomware and data loss, according to the RSA’s “Current State of Cybercrime”.
- In 2021, 46% of companies experienced a security incident involving a malicious mobile application downloaded by an employee, says Check Point Software’s Mobile Security Report.
Trend: It’s expected that this facet of mobile technology will evolve in 2023. Remote work poses new and increasing cybersecurity risks and is one of the most discussed latest trends in cybersecurity. Cybercriminals have also begun to target mobile device management (MDM) systems. Since massive numbers of MDMs are connected to the entire network of mobile devices. Cybercriminals take advantage of these vulnerabilities to mass attack an entire organization’s workforce.
Best solution: A larger mobile user population presents a larger target for cybercriminals. Ensuring the protection of mobile devices from external threats through proactive measures is now considered an essential step in addressing mobile security issues. We can help your organization pinpoint these vulnerabilities and keep your system healthy and secure.
The Intent of Cybercriminals
At the end of the day, cybercriminals engage in illegal activities on the internet for various motivations. Their sentiments can vary depending on their goals, but generally, they tend to exhibit a callous disregard for the harm they inflict on their victims. Some may derive pleasure and a sense of accomplishment from the act of exploiting vulnerabilities and causing chaos. Others may view their activities purely as a means to an end, such as financial gain or information theft.
Whatever their motivation is, cybercriminals operate outside the bounds of ethical and legal behavior. Their actions can have grave consequences for individuals, organizations, and society.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the plethora of cybersecurity threats that exist today. Nonetheless, any company can adopt proactive measures to secure its infrastructure, assets, and data. Combining effective security processes, technology, and the expertise of specialized teams like ours can greatly mitigate these risks.
2023 will be a crucial year for cybersecurity: major factors are at play, with the anticipation of high-impact cyberattacks. Enhancing the security posture must be the top priority for any organization’s plan to sustain cybersecurity.
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