In the year 2022 turned out to be another year where cybercriminals kept security professionals on their toes. Although many organizations seem to be taking the necessary steps to combat cyber attacks, the battle continues.
With the seemingly endless threats from ransomware and security vulnerabilities and other threats, what can organizations and technology leaders expect in the cybercrime arena this year? Here are 10 predictions from cybersecurity experts.
Ransomware attackers focus more on data mining
Matt Hull, global head of threat intelligence at cyber risk consultancy NCC Group, said: “The threat of ransomware will continue to decline despite attacks.” However, we are seeing an evolution in the way groups operate, not just through law enforcement intervention, but cooperation between governments and regulators to address the problem.
Hull believes ransomware groups will continue to diversify their efforts to encrypt data and deliver more data exfiltration and denial-of-service attacks.
“If the past few years have been defined by ransomware attacks by organized hacking groups, we are entering an era of growing threats from state-sponsored actors seeking to disarm global economies,” said Assaf Kochan. Founder and President of cloud security provider Centra. This poses a direct threat to certain sectors, including energy, shipping, financial services and chip manufacturing.
These attacks don’t just stop at stealing intellectual property or demanding ransom, Kochan said. Instead, they aim to disrupt, compromise, and shut down critical operations and infrastructure nationwide.
Cyberbullying in personal relationships creates tension between employees and employers
“Social engineering attacks originating from employee-owned communications networks are in the news every week,” said Steven Spadacchini, vice president of threat intelligence for security vendor Safeguard Cyber. “Cybercriminals are targeting high-value employees on LinkedIn, Telegram and WhatsApp to infiltrate enterprises.”
In response, employers are trying to enforce safety policies, Spadaccini, but must weigh the risks with the rewards. A conflict between personal privacy and corporate visibility could see the first class-action lawsuit to test the boundaries in 2023.
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Third-party vendor security compliance is on the horizon.
“Today’s enterprises rely on third-party providers for web hosting and other outsourcing solutions,” Kochan said. “While these third-party service providers have proven to be more efficient and cost-effective than internal tools, they often serve as unprotected channels for malicious activity.”
Gartner research shows that more than 80% of third-party vendor risks are discovered after the initial onboarding and due diligence process, indicating that traditional monitoring methods may not be able to identify the risks, Kochan added. As a result, organizations are implementing stricter standards for third-party vendors, a trend that will become more common in 2023.
Areas on campus will be more vulnerable to security threats
“The future is in the cloud, and the world’s most talented engineers and developers are highly motivated to work on this bleeding-edge technology,” said Kochan. “This puts organizations that operate on a first-in, first-out system — including a large number of Fortune 500 companies and other industry leaders — at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting new talent.
As more IT professionals shift to cloud-based work, organizations struggle to retain their best engineering and security teams, Kochan added. In turn, on-premise environments become more vulnerable to compromise as cybercriminals use legacy technology that cannot be bent.
The transition to the cloud increases security needs
“Organizations are using cloud-first technology to move faster in their own territories,” said Dan Garcia, chief information security officer at software provider EDB. Although both hybrid and multicloud approaches offer multiple options for access and workload compensation, these environments can widen security gaps.
Organizations must increase the education and training of their employees to deal with the risks and vulnerabilities of cloud environments, Garcia said. Organizations that do not have the in-house resources to effectively manage their cloud environments should consider outsourcing with the right expertise in cloud privacy, security, and deployment.
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Data storage solutions must ensure guaranteed protection and security
“Channel solutions providers and end users prioritize data storage solutions that can deliver highly reliable, real-world proven protection and security,” said Surya Varanasi, chief technology officer at enterprise storage vendor StoreCentric. “Good-to-have features such as locking mode, file traceability, asset serialization, metadata validation, private blockchains and strong data validation algorithms will be a must-have, but immutable, ubiquitous data storage feature.”
Consumer attitudes towards online security and privacy will increase
“While enterprises continue to make headlines as they are hacked and attacked by ransomware, cybercriminals are beginning to target not only corporate businesses with deep pockets, but also SMBs and individuals,” Varanasi said.
SMBs and individuals are more vulnerable to cyberattacks because they don’t have the level of protection or the large budgets of larger enterprises, Varanasi said. However, with remote work and remote access – today’s worker and consumer model – people want and demand data protection and security that can protect them wherever they are.
Software-defined perimeters are starting to outpace VPNs
“By 2023, I predict that SDP will overtake VPN as the dominant technology for connecting people and devices remotely,” said Don Boxley, CEO and founder of enterprise security provider DH2i. “More and more IT professionals are using it successfully to connect to cloud or on-premises applications from anywhere, and they’re talking about it.”
Bockley also believes that VPNs will become less popular in terms of bugs and performance issues. In the past, a small number of people depended on VPNs, but with the shift to a remote workforce, VPN risks have increased, many of which are mitigated by SDPs.
The responsibilities of CISOs are expanding
“CISOs are responsible for ensuring business compliance, hiring the right people, implementing strong risk management and keeping vulnerabilities under control,” said Ulfar Erlingson, chief architect of cloud security platform Lacework. “Increasingly, CEOs and boards are giving CISOs more authority, and they’re asking them to reduce the risk of hacking, data exfiltration, ransomware, and more to zero.”
To handle the increased responsibilities of preventing security breaches and other threats, CISOs may not have time to build their own in-house solutions, Erlingson added. Instead, they should consider third-party technologies that are largely automation-based as a way to complement the skills and resources of their internal teams.
Read next: Security Risk Assessment Checklist (TechRepublic Premium)