Cybersecurity is one of the most important and dynamic fields in today’s digital world. As technology evolves and new threats emerge, cybersecurity professionals need to stay on top of the latest trends and best practices to protect their organizations and customers. In this article, we will explore some of the top cybersecurity trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2023.
1. Internet of Things (IoT) and Cloud Security
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of devices, sensors, and systems that communicate and exchange data over the internet. IoT devices range from smart wearables to home appliances, cars, building alarm systems, and industrial machinery. According to Gartner, there will be 43 billion IoT-connected devices in the world by 2023². This creates a huge attack surface for hackers who can exploit vulnerabilities in these devices or use them as entry points to access other systems or data.
Cloud computing is another trend that has transformed the way businesses store, process, and share data. Cloud services offer scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency for organizations of all sizes. However, they also pose security challenges such as data breaches, unauthorized access, misconfiguration, compliance issues, and vendor lock-in.
To address these challenges, organizations need to adopt a holistic approach to IoT and cloud security that covers device management, encryption, authentication, monitoring, patching, backup/recovery¹. They also need to implement security standards such as ISO/IEC 27001 or NIST SP 800-53 for cloud service providers².
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are technologies that enable machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence or judgment. AI and ML have many applications in cybersecurity such as threat detection/prevention/response⁴, anomaly detection⁵, malware analysis, phishing detection, user behavior analysis, etc.
However, AI and ML can also be used by hackers for malicious purposes such as generating fake content (deepfakes), automating attacks (bots), evading detection (adversarial AI), etc. Therefore,
cybersecurity professionals need to leverage AI/ML tools while also being aware of their limitations and risks.
3. Ransomware Attacks
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim’s data or blocks access to their system until a ransom is paid. Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years due to their profitability for hackers and their impact on businesses and individuals alike.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware damages are expected to reach $20 billion globally by 2023. Some of the factors that contribute to this trend include:
– The emergence of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) platforms that allow anyone with minimal technical skills to launch ransomware campaigns using ready-made tools.
– The use of double extortion techniques that involve not only encrypting but also stealing or leaking sensitive data if the ransom is not paid.
– The targeting of critical infrastructure sectors such as healthcare, education, energy, etc., which can cause widespread disruption
– The lack of adequate backup/recovery strategies or cyber insurance policies among many organizations.
To prevent or mitigate ransomware attacks, organizations need to implement robust security measures such as endpoint protection, network segmentation, firewalls, antivirus software, email filtering. They also need to educate their employees on how to avoid phishing emails or malicious links/downloads that can deliver ransomware payloads . Moreover, they need to have a contingency plan in case of an attack, including regular backups, incident response teams, and external experts .
4. Supply Chain Vulnerabilities
A supply chain is a network of entities involved in producing, distributing, or delivering a product or service. A supply chain vulnerability is a weakness or flaw in any part of this network that can compromise its security or integrity. Supply chain vulnerabilities can expose organizations to various cyber threats such as data breaches , malicious code injection, denial-of-service attacks,etc.
One of the most notable examples of a supply chain attack was the SolarWinds hack that affected thousands of organizations worldwide in late 2020. Hackers infiltrated SolarWinds, a software company that provides network monitoring tools to many government agencies and private companies. They inserted malicious code into a software update that was then distributed to SolarWinds’ customers. This allowed them to access sensitive data and systems of various organizations.
Some other examples of supply chain attacks involving commercial software products are:
– The CCleaner attack , where hackers compromised a popular PC cleaning tool and delivered malware to millions of users through a tainted update.
– The ASUS Live Update attack , where hackers hijacked ASUS’s software update server and pushed malicious updates to hundreds of thousands of ASUS laptop users.
– The NotPetya attack , where hackers infected a Ukrainian accounting software called MeDoc with ransomware that spread to many organizations worldwide.
To prevent or mitigate supply chain attacks involving commercial software products, organizations need to verify the integrity and authenticity of any software they download or install. They also need to monitor their network traffic and endpoints for any suspicious activity or anomalies.
5. Social Engineering Tactics
Social engineering is a technique that involves manipulating or deceiving people into performing actions or divulging information that can compromise their security. Social engineering tactics can be used by hackers to gain access to supply chains by impersonating legitimate parties such as vendors, customers, partners, employees, etc.
Some examples of social engineering tactics used in supply chain attacks are:
– Phishing emails, where hackers send fraudulent emails that appear to come from trusted sources and contain malicious links or attachments that can infect the recipient’s system or steal their credentials.
– Business email compromise (BEC), where hackers compromise or spoof an email account belonging to a senior executive or a business partner and use it to request fraudulent payments or transfers from unsuspecting employees or customers.
– Vishing calls, where hackers use voice over IP (VoIP) technology to make phone calls that sound like they are coming from legitimate entities and persuade the target to reveal sensitive information or perform malicious actions.
To prevent or mitigate social engineering attacks, organizations need to educate their employees and stakeholders on how
to recognize and avoid common signs of deception such as urgency, pressure, fear, etc. They also need
to implement security policies and procedures such as multi-factor authentication, verification codes, approval workflows, etc.
6. Insider Threats
An insider threat is a person who has authorized access to an organization’s data or systems and uses it for malicious purposes such as stealing, leaking, or sabotaging them. Insider threats can be intentional or unintentional, and they can originate from current or former employees, contractors, partners, vendors, etc.
Some examples of insider threats in supply chain attacks are:
– The Tesla sabotage case, where a disgruntled employee altered Tesla’s manufacturing operating system code and sent sensitive data
to third parties.
– The Twitter hack case, where hackers bribed Twitter employees with Bitcoin to gain access to high-profile accounts and post scam messages.
– The Capital One breach case, where a former Amazon Web Services (AWS) employee exploited a misconfigured firewall rule on Capital One’s cloud server and accessed personal information of millions of customers.
To prevent or mitigate insider threats, organizations need to conduct background checks on their employees and partners, limit their access rights based on their roles and responsibilities, monitor their activities for any anomalies or deviations, and enforce strict security policies and controls such as encryption, logging, auditing, etc.
Conclusion – Cybersecurity Trends 2023
Cybersecurity is not only a technical challenge but also a strategic one for organizations in 2023. As cyber threats become more sophisticated and diverse, organizations need to adopt proactive and comprehensive approaches to secure their supply chains. This involves collaborating with trusted partners, investing in robust security measures, providing user awareness training, and staying updated on the latest trends and best practices.