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To simplify daily operations, corporations, organizations, governments, and businesses of all sizes have embraced digital technology. As a result, maintaining cybersecurity has become a top priority in order to shield data from numerous internet dangers and unauthorized access. Trends in cybersecurity are changing along with technology; ransomware attacks, hacking, and data breaches are all becoming more frequent. Enroll in security courses taught by professionals in the field to advance your knowledge and acquire the abilities required for thorough data protection.

Because of the digital interconnection of our world and technical breakthroughs over the past few decades, the landscape of digital threats has undergone a fundamental alteration. With the growing reliance of our civilization on digital technology for essential infrastructure, communication, and commerce, the threat landscape has become more sophisticated and complicated.

The numerous aspects of the dynamic digital threat landscape will be thoroughly examined in this in-depth analysis, along with its salient features, new developments, and threats to people, institutions, and governments.

1. Increasing Sophistication

One of the most notable trends in the digital threat landscape is the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks. Attackers constantly develop new techniques and strategies to breach security systems, steal sensitive data, or disrupt critical services. Various factors, including the availability of powerful hacking tools, the proliferation of cybercrime forums, and the rise of nation-state-sponsored hacking groups, have driven this evolution.

2. Diverse Attack Vectors

Digital threats now encompass many attack vectors, including malware, ransomware, and DDoS attacks. These attack vectors have become more versatile, with attackers combining multiple methods to achieve their goals. For example, a ransomware attack may begin with a phishing email and escalate to the deployment of malware that encrypts data.

3. Target Variety

Digital threats are no longer limited to traditional targets like large corporations and government agencies. Smaller businesses, healthcare organizations, educational institutions, and even individuals are now prime targets. This diversification of targets is driven by the desire to create disruption or steal valuable personal information.

4. Nation-State Actors

The involvement of nation-state actors in cyber warfare and espionage has added a new dimension to the digital threat landscape. Countries invest heavily in developing cyber capabilities, and state-sponsored hacking groups have been responsible for some of the most high-profile attacks in recent years. These attacks can have geopolitical implications and blur the line between traditional and cyber warfare.

5. Supply Chain Attacks

Another emerging trend is the rise of supply chain attacks, where attackers target supply chains to compromise the integrity of products and services. Recent incidents, such as the SolarWinds hack, have demonstrated the devastating impact of supply chain attacks, as they can affect organizations and their customers.

6. IoT Vulnerabilities

The expansion of IoT gadgets has ushered in fresh susceptibilities within the digital threat environment. Numerous IoT devices exhibit insufficient security capabilities, rendering them susceptible to exploitation by malicious actors. These IoT devices can be harnessed when compromised to initiate extensive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) assaults or breach home networks.

7. AI and Machine Learning in Attacks

Attackers increasingly leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enhance their capabilities. These technologies automate attacks, create more convincing phishing emails, and even identify vulnerabilities in target systems. As AI and ML continue to advance, their role in digital threats is likely to grow.

8. Regulatory and Compliance Challenges

The evolving digital threat landscape has prompted governments and regulatory bodies to introduce new cybersecurity regulations and standards. Organizations now face greater pressure to comply with these requirements, but achieving and maintaining compliance can be challenging, given the dynamic nature of digital threats.

9. Response and Resilience

Building effective incident response and resilience strategies has become paramount. Organizations must focus on preventing attacks and detecting, mitigating, and recovering from breaches. This includes regular security assessments, employee training, and robust incident response plans.

10. Global Collaboration

Given the transnational nature of digital threats, international collaboration has become crucial. Governments, law enforcement agencies, and cybersecurity organizations worldwide are working together to share threat intelligence, track down cybercriminals, and mitigate threats on a global scale.

Top 20 Cybersecurity Trends to Watch out for

1. The Emergence of Automotive Cybersecurity Threats

Today’s modern vehicles are equipped with sophisticated software, offering seamless connectivity and advanced features such as cruise control, engine timing, and driver assistance systems. However, this reliance on automation and connectivity also exposes vehicles to potential hacking risks.

Read Also: Ransomware Attacks: Trends and Prevention Strategies

Utilizing technologies like Bluetooth and WiFi for communication, hackers can exploit vulnerabilities to gain control of the vehicle or even eavesdrop on conversations through built-in microphones. With the increasing adoption of automated vehicles, these threats are expected to escalate, necessitating stringent cybersecurity measures, particularly for self-driving or autonomous vehicles.

2. Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

AI has become a cornerstone in enhancing cybersecurity across various sectors. Through machine learning algorithms, AI has enabled the development of automated security systems capable of tasks like natural language processing, face detection, and threat detection.

However, this same technology is also leveraged by malicious actors to devise sophisticated attacks aimed at circumventing security protocols. Despite these challenges, AI-driven threat detection systems offer the ability to respond to emerging threats promptly, providing vital support for cybersecurity professionals.

3. Mobile Devices: A Growing Target for Cyber Attacks

The proliferation of mobile devices has made them lucrative targets for cybercriminals, with a notable increase in malware and attacks targeting mobile banking and personal data. The extensive use of smartphones for various activities, including financial transactions and communication, amplifies the risks associated with potential breaches. Mobile security becomes a focal point as cybersecurity threats evolve, with anticipated trends indicating a rise in smartphone-specific viruses and malware.

4. Cloud Security Challenges and Solutions

As organizations rely on cloud services, ensuring robust security measures becomes paramount for data storage and operations. While cloud providers implement robust security protocols, vulnerabilities may still arise due to user-end errors, malicious software, or phishing attacks. Continuous monitoring and updates are essential to mitigate risks and safeguard confidential data stored in the cloud.

5. Data Breaches: A Persistent Concern

Data breaches remain a significant concern for individuals and organizations worldwide, with even minor software flaws posing potential vulnerabilities. Regulatory frameworks like the GDPR and CCPA aim to enhance data protection and privacy rights, underscoring the importance of stringent security measures. Ensuring compliance with these regulations and implementing proactive security measures are essential to mitigating the risks associated with data breaches.

6. IoT Security in the Era of 5G

The proliferation of 5G networks ushers in a new era of interconnectedness, particularly with the Internet of Things (IoT). While offering unprecedented connectivity, this also exposes IoT devices to vulnerabilities from external threats and software bugs. The nascent nature of 5G architecture necessitates extensive research to identify and address potential security loopholes. Manufacturers must prioritize the development of robust hardware and software solutions to reduce the risk of data breaches and network attacks.

7. Embracing Automation for Enhanced Cybersecurity

Automation plays a pivotal role in managing the ever-expanding volume of data and streamlining security processes. In the face of demanding workloads, automation offers valuable support to security professionals, enabling swift and efficient responses to emerging threats. Integrating security measures into agile development processes ensures the creation of more secure software solutions, particularly for large and complex applications.

8. Targeted Ransomware Attacks

Targeted ransomware attacks pose a significant threat to industries reliant on specific software systems, with potentially devastating consequences. Recent incidents, such as the WannaCry attack on healthcare institutions, underscore the importance of robust cybersecurity measures. Organizations must remain vigilant against ransomware threats and implement proactive strategies to mitigate risks effectively.

9. Escalating State-Sponsored Cyber Warfare

The escalating tensions between global powers fuel state-sponsored cyber warfare, with cyberattacks increasingly targeting critical infrastructure and sensitive data. High-profile events, including elections, are vulnerable to cyber threats, necessitating heightened security measures. Expectations for 2024 include a surge in data breaches and state-sponsored actors’ exploitation of political and industrial secrets.

10. Mitigating Insider Threats Through Awareness

Mistakes made by individuals continue to play a significant role in data breaches, especially regarding insider threats within organizations. To address this risk, it’s vital to enhance awareness and provide thorough training programs for employees. By empowering staff to recognize and address potential vulnerabilities, companies can foster a strong culture of cybersecurity awareness. This approach is essential to safeguard sensitive data and effectively minimize the impact of insider threats.

11. Addressing Cybersecurity Challenges in Remote Work Environments

The transition to remote work during the pandemic presents fresh cybersecurity hurdles as employees navigate less secure network setups. It’s crucial for organizations to emphasize the implementation of strong security protocols, such as multi-factor authentication and secure VPNs, to shield remote workers from cyber threats effectively.

12. Automated Threat Hunting

Automated threat hunting and threat intelligence platforms will gain prominence in proactively identifying and mitigating emerging threats. These solutions will help organizations stay ahead of threat actors by continuously monitoring for signs of compromise.

13. International Cybersecurity Collaboration

Collaboration between governments, international organizations, and cybersecurity experts will intensify to address global cyber threats effectively. Cybersecurity information sharing and coordinated responses to cyber incidents will become more common.

14. Regulatory and Legal Challenges

With new cybersecurity laws, standards, and compliance requirements being introduced, the legal and regulatory landscape will continue to evolve. Organizations must navigate these complex regulations to avoid legal consequences and reputational damage.

15. Cyber Insurance

The cyber insurance market will grow as organizations recognize the need for financial protection against cyber incidents. Cyber insurance policies will become more tailored to specific industry risks and compliance requirements.

16. AI-Driven Security Testing

AI-powered penetration testing and vulnerability assessment tools will become more sophisticated in identifying weaknesses in systems and applications, allowing organizations to address security flaws proactively.

17. Incident Response and Recovery Planning

The development and testing of incident response and recovery plans will be a focus for organizations. The capacity to detect and respond to cyber incidents and recover from them will be critical to minimizing the impact of breaches.

18. Smart Cities and Critical Infrastructure Security

As smart city initiatives and the digitization of critical infrastructure expand, security measures for these interconnected systems will be paramount. Protecting essential services like power grids and transportation systems will be a top priority.

19. AI-Powered Cybercriminals

Cybercriminals will increasingly employ AI and ML in their attacks, making them more challenging to detect and mitigate. Adversarial AI will be used to evade security measures and enhance attack strategies.

20. Ethical Hacking and Bug Bounty Programs

Organizations will continue to embrace ethical hacking and bug bounty programs to detect system vulnerabilities. Crowdsourced security testing will become more common, allowing organizations to proactively fix security issues.

Why is Cybersecurity Important in 2024?

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity has become a top priority for businesses worldwide. The rising digitization of the global economy makes businesses of all sizes and sectors more susceptible to cyberattacks. The threat landscape for cybersecurity has changed dramatically in recent years as hackers and cybercriminals have become increasingly skilled at breaking the security of even the most sophisticated systems. For businesses to prosper in the coming years, cybersecurity must be taken seriously.

The need for cybersecurity in 2024 will be more important than ever. The attack surface for hackers is expanding rapidly as more and more businesses go online, use connected devices, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This growing digital environment is being used by cybercriminals, and businesses are facing unprecedented cyberthreats. The hazards associated with cybersecurity breaches are ever-changing, ranging from supply chain attacks and social engineering to ransomware and phishing attempts.

For businesses, the effects of a cyberattack can be disastrous. A single data breach may cause legal liabilities, financial losses, and reputational harm. Enterprises that wish to thrive in the digital age must prioritize cybersecurity as the frequency and intensity of cyberattacks rise.

In order to safeguard their vital data and infrastructure, businesses must take a proactive, multi-layered approach in the dynamic and ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape of 2024. The following five major themes are influencing the security scene this year:

AI and Machine Learning: Powering Defense and Offense

  • Enhanced Threat Detection: AI and machine learning (ML) are now critical weapons in the cybersecurity arsenal. Advanced algorithms can analyze vast data sets in real-time, identifying and prioritizing potential threats with unprecedented accuracy and speed. This allows organizations to respond swiftly and mitigate security incidents before they escalate.
  • Predictive Analytics: Staying Ahead of the Curve: ML models can be trained to analyze historical attack patterns and identify anomalies, allowing for the prediction of future attacks even before they occur. This proactive approach enables organizations to implement preventive measures and significantly enhance their security posture.

Cloud Security: Embracing Agility without Compromise

  • Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud-based security solutions offer unmatched scalability and flexibility, allowing organizations to adapt their security infrastructure to meet evolving needs and resource demands. This is particularly beneficial for organizations with fluctuating workloads or geographically dispersed teams.
  • Simplified Deployment and Management: Cloud-based security tools offer rapid deployment and centralized management, streamlining security operations and reducing the burden on internal IT teams. This allows organizations to focus on strategic initiatives while ensuring robust security measures are in place.

Virtual Patching: Mitigating Risk While Waiting for Fixes

  • Addressing Vulnerability Gaps: Virtual patching utilizes existing security controls like firewalls and network segmentation to mitigate vulnerabilities in software and applications before official patches are released by vendors. This approach helps organizations significantly reduce their exposure to exploitation attempts during these critical waiting periods.
  • Legacy Systems and Zero-Day Exploits: Virtual patching is especially valuable for securing legacy systems and applications no longer supported by vendors, as well as addressing newly discovered zero-day vulnerabilities before official patches become available.

Zero Trust: A Security Model for the Modern Age

  • Eliminating Implicit Trust: The Zero Trust security model assumes every user, device, and application attempting to access a network is a potential threat. Access is granted only after rigorous verification of identity and access privileges, minimizing the potential damage caused by unauthorized access or compromised credentials.
  • Multi-Layered Protection: Zero Trust enforces strict access controls like multi-factor authentication (MFA) and least privilege access (LPA), further strengthening the security posture and making it more difficult for attackers to gain unauthorized access to critical systems and data.
  • Continuous Monitoring and Threat Detection: Zero Trust requires continuous monitoring and analysis of user and device behavior to proactively identify and respond to potential security threats and anomalies in real time.

Third-Party Risk Management: Securing the Extended Ecosystem

  • Managing Supply Chain Risks: With the growing reliance on third-party vendors for critical services and operations, managing their associated security risks is paramount. Organizations need to implement robust third-party risk management frameworks to assess, mitigate, and monitor potential vulnerabilities within their extended ecosystem.
  • Collaboration and Compliance: Effective third-party risk management involves collaborating with vendors to ensure they adhere to best practices and comply with relevant security regulations. This not only protects your own organization but also minimizes the risk of reputational damage and potential regulatory fines.

At the core, cybersecurity in 2024 is one of rapid change and evolution, driven by new technologies, regulations, and threats. As a result, enterprises must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices to protect themselves from cyber-attacks and survive in the digital age.

What Role Does Cybersecurity Play in Business Survival?

Businesses are depending more and more on technology as we enter the digital era to store sensitive data, carry out transactions, and interact with clients. But this greater reliance also increases the possibility of cyberattacks, which can endanger a business. Businesses must thus give cybersecurity top priority and take aggressive measures to safeguard their digital assets.

Financial Losses

A single cyber attack can cause irreparable damage to a business’s finances, reputation, and legal standing. Economic losses can be significant, with ransomware attacks crippling a company’s systems and forcing them to pay large sums to regain access to their data. Additionally, data breaches can lead to regulatory fines, litigation costs, and lost revenue due to a damaged reputation. These factors can severely impact a company’s bottom line, potentially leading to bankruptcy in extreme cases.

Damage to Reputation

A cyber attack can impact a business’s reputation. Customers expect companies to safeguard their personal information, and a data breach can quickly erode Trust and credibility. This loss of reputation can have long-term effects, making it difficult for a business to attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Legal Liabilities

Legal liabilities are also a significant concern for enterprises that experience a cyber attack. If a company fails to protect its customers’ data and a breach occurs, it may be held legally responsible for any damages. This can include fines, legal fees, and settlements, which can financially devastate a business.

Prevention of Intellectual Property Theft

Cybersecurity’s critical role in ensuring business survival is preventing intellectual property theft. Intellectual property includes a company’s trade secrets, patents, trademarks, and copyrights. A cyber attack can result in the theft or compromise of this critical information, leading to significant financial losses and loss of competitive advantage. Enterprises can protect their intellectual property and maintain their competitive edge by implementing strong cybersecurity measures, such as access controls and encryption.

Compliance with Regulatory Requirements

In many industries, enterprises must comply with various regulatory requirements related to cybersecurity. For example, the healthcare industry must adhere to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets standards for protecting patient data. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in significant fines and legal penalties. In addition, enterprises can avoid these costly consequences by prioritizing cybersecurity and implementing measures to comply with regulatory requirements and ensure continued operations.

At its core, a cyber attack can wreak havoc on a business’s finances, reputation, and legal standing. So, prioritizing cybersecurity is more than just a good idea—it’s a survival strategy. By proactively safeguarding their digital assets, enterprises can reduce the risk of a cyber attack and ensure long-term prosperity. But what are these measures that can save the day? Let’s unravel them in the following section.

Businesses need to safeguard their digital assets proactively due to the increasing threat of cyberattacks. Even though it can seem like a difficult and complicated process, businesses can improve their cybersecurity posture by taking some doable actions. The following five strategies are crucial for businesses looking to strengthen their cybersecurity posture:

Employee Training

Employees are often the first line of defense against cyber attacks, so it’s crucial to provide them with training on best practices for cybersecurity. This could include teaching employees to identify and avoid phishing scams, creating strong passwords, and understanding the importance of regular software updates. By investing in employee training, enterprises can develop a culture of cybersecurity and reduce the risk of human error leading to a cyber attack.

Network Security

Maintaining a secure network infrastructure is crucial for enterprises to safeguard their confidential information. One of the best network security practices is using advanced encryption technologies and security protocols, which can help protect against potential cyber threats. Additionally, enterprises should establish strict access controls and perform routine checks to detect suspicious network activity.

In addition, regular network security assessments and audits can help enterprises promptly identify and address network vulnerabilities. By taking these proactive measures, enterprises can strengthen their network security posture and keep their sensitive data safe from external attacks.

Data Backup and Recovery

Data backup and recovery is a critical component of any cybersecurity strategy. It involves creating a backup of all important data, files, and applications and storing them in a secure location separate from the original location. This way, enterprises can quickly recover their data and minimize the damage caused by a data breach or disaster.

Enterprises must regularly test their backup and recovery systems to ensure they function correctly and can restore the data effectively. Additionally, enterprises should clearly understand the recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) to minimize downtime and ensure the continuity of operations.

Incident Response Planning

An effective incident response plan is crucial to minimizing the impact of a cyber-attack and protecting a business’s reputation. The plan should outline specific procedures for identifying and containing the attack, including isolating infected systems and disabling access to affected data. The following steps involve notifying the appropriate authorities, such as law enforcement or regulatory bodies, and all affected parties.

Finally, the plan should include a transparent process for restoring systems and data and conducting a post-incident review to identify areas for improvement. Continuous testing and updating will ensure the plan remains relevant and effective against new threats.

Auditing and Testing

Regular auditing and testing of systems and security measures are crucial to ensure enterprises stay ahead of cyber threats. By conducting penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, and risk assessments, enterprises can identify potential weaknesses in their cybersecurity posture and take proactive steps to address them.

This approach can help enterprises stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and reduce the likelihood of successful attacks. Therefore, regular testing should be a priority for any business serious about protecting sensitive data and information.

In the digital age, cybersecurity has become essential to a company’s survival. Because of the always changing threat landscape, businesses need to take proactive measures to protect their critical data and information. Using strong cybersecurity safeguards including frequent staff training, network security, data backup and recovery, incident response planning, and recurring security audits is one method to accomplish this.

Read Also: Protecting IoT Devices from Cyber Threats

Furthermore, as cloud technology becomes more widely used, businesses need to concentrate on cloud-based security services. For instance, businesses can detect possible vulnerabilities in their cloud-based infrastructure and transition to the cloud securely with the aid of cloud transformation and security consulting services. Additionally, especially for smaller businesses with limited resources, cloud-based security services can offer a scalable and affordable approach for them to manage their cybersecurity posture.

What are the Top 10 Emerging Cybersecurity Challenges?

The secret to preventing a cybersecurity assault is proactive defense. See which cybersecurity dangers experts predict will be most prevalent worldwide in 2024, and find out what you can do to keep your company and yourself safe.

1. Social Engineering

Social engineering remains one of the most dangerous hacking techniques employed by cybercriminals, largely because it relies on human error rather than technical vulnerabilities. This makes these attacks all the more dangerous—it’s a lot easier to trick a human than it is to breach a security system. And it’s clear that hackers know this: according to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations report, 85% of all data breaches involve human interaction.

In 2023, social engineering tactics were a key method for obtaining employee data and credentials. Over 75% of targeted cyberattacks start with an email. Phishing is one of the top causes of data breaches, followed by the use of stolen credentials and ransomware. Phishing and email impersonation continue to evolve to incorporate new trends, technologies and tactics.

For example, cryptocurrency-related attacks rose nearly 200% between October 2020 and April 2021, and are likely to remain a prominent threat as Bitcoin and other blockchain-based currencies continue to grow in popularity and price. 

2. Third-Party Exposure

Cybercriminals can get around security systems by hacking less-protected networks belonging to third parties that have privileged access to the hacker’s primary target. 

One major example of a third-party breach occurred at the beginning of 2021 when hackers leaked personal data from over 214 million Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin accounts. The hackers were able to access the data by breaching a third-party contractor called Socialarks that was employed by all three companies and had privileged access to their networks.

In 2023, third-party breaches became an even more pressing threat as companies increasingly turned to independent contractors to complete work once handled by full-time employees. Network access will continue to be a focus for criminal organizations: Hackers tapped into the U.S.’s Colonial Pipeline in April 2021 by acquiring compromised credentials and accessing a VPN that lacked multi-factor authentication, resulting in a $5 million Bitcoin payment to regain access. 

According to a 2021 workforce trends report, over 50% of businesses are more willing to hire freelancers as a result of the shift to remote work caused by COVID-19. A remote or dispersed workforce will continue to present security challenges for organizations large and small.

Since COVID-19, the FBI has reported a 300% increase in cyberattacks. The study found that 53% of adults agree that remote work has made it much easier for hackers and cybercriminals to take advantage of people. A cybersecurity firm CyberArk reports that 96% of organizations grant these external parties access to critical systems, providing a potentially unprotected access route to their data for hackers to exploit.

3. Configuration Mistakes

Even professional security systems more than likely contain at least one error in how the software is installed and set up. In a series of 268 trials conducted by cybersecurity software company Rapid7, 80% of external penetration tests encountered an exploitable misconfiguration. In tests where the attacker had internal system access (i.e., trials mimicking access via a third party or infiltration of a physical office), the amount of exploitable configuration errors rose to 96%.

In 2023, the continued combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-political upheavals and ongoing financial stress increased the number of careless mistakes that employees make at work, creating more exploitable opportunities for cybercriminals. 

According to a Lyra Health report, 81% of workers have experienced mental health issues as a result of the pandemic, and 65% of workers say their mental health has directly impacted their work performance.

This strain will only exacerbate an existing issue: Ponemon Institute reports that half of IT experts admit they don’t know how well the cybersecurity tools they’ve installed actually work, which means at least half of IT experts already aren’t performing regular internal testing and maintenance. 

4. Poor Cyber Hygiene

“Cyber hygiene” refers to regular habits and practices regarding technology use, like avoiding unprotected WiFi networks and implementing safeguards like a VPN or multi-factor authentication. Unfortunately, research shows that Americans’ cyber hygiene habits leave a lot to be desired. 

Nearly 60% of organizations rely on human memory to manage passwords, and 42% of organizations manage passwords using sticky notes. More than half (54%) of IT professionals do not require the use of two-factor authentication for access to company accounts, and just 37% of individuals use two-factor authentication for personal accounts.

Less than half (45%) of Americans say they would change their password after a data breach, and just 34% say they change their passwords regularly.

Thanks to an uptick in remote working, systems protected by weak passwords are now being accessed from unprotected home networks, sticky note passwords are making their way into public coffee shops, and workers are logging in on personal devices that have a much higher chance of being lost or stolen.

Companies and individuals that don’t improve their cyber practices are at much greater risk now than before.

Surprisingly, IT professionals often have even worse cyber hygiene habits than the general population: 50% of IT workers say they reuse passwords across workplace accounts, compared to just 39% of individuals at large.

5. Cloud Vulnerabilities

One might think the cloud would become more secure over time, but in fact, the opposite is true: IBM reports that cloud vulnerabilities have increased 150% in the last five years. Verizon’s DBIR found that over 90% of the 29,000 breaches analyzed in the report were caused by web app breaches. 

According to Gartner, cloud security is currently the fastest-growing cybersecurity market segment, with a 41% increase from $595 million in 2020 to $841 million in 2021.

While experts originally predicted an en masse return to the office, upticks in new COVID variants and breakthrough case rates have made this scenario increasingly unlikely—which means the increased threat of cloud security breaches is unlikely to wane at any point in 2023.

New developments in cloud security include the adoption of “Zero Trust” cloud security architecture. Zero Trust systems are designed to function as though the network has already been compromised, implementing required verifications at every step and with every sign-in instead of granting sustained access to recognized devices or devices within the network perimeter.

This style of security gained popularity in 2021 and is likely to see widespread adoption in the coming year.

6. Mobile Device Vulnerabilities

Another pattern caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was an uptick in mobile device usage. Not only do remote users rely more heavily on mobile devices, but pandemic experts also encouraged large-scale adoption of mobile wallets and touchless payment technology in order to limit germ transmission.

A larger population of users presents a larger target for cybercriminals.

Mobile device vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by the increase in remote work, which led to an uptick in companies implementing bring-your-own-device policies. According to Check Point Software’s Mobile Security Report, over the course of 2021, 46% of companies experienced a security incident involving a malicious mobile application downloaded by an employee.

Cybercriminals have also begun to target Mobile Device Management systems which, ironically, are designed to allow companies to manage company devices in a way that keeps corporate data secure. Since MDMs are connected to the entire network of mobile devices, hackers can use them to attack every employee at the company simultaneously.

7. Internet of Things

The pandemic-induced shift away from the office led over a quarter of the American workforce to bring their work into the home, where 70% of households have at least one smart device. Unsurprisingly, attacks on smart or “Internet of Things (IoT)” devices spiked as a result, with over 1.5 billion breaches occurring between January and June of 2021.

Combined with the average American’s less-than-stellar cyber hygiene habits, IoT connectivity opens a world of vulnerabilities for hackers. The average smart device is attacked within five minutes of connecting to the internet, and experts estimate that a smart home with a wide range of IoT devices may be targeted by as many as 12,000 hacking attempts in a single week.

Researchers predict that the number of smart devices ordered will double between 2021 and 2025, creating an even wider network of access points that can be used to breach personal and corporate systems. The number of cellular IoT connections is expected to reach 3.5 billion in 2023, and experts predict that over a quarter of all cyberattacks against businesses will be IoT-based by 2025.

8. Ransomware

While ransomware attacks are by no means a new threat, they’ve become significantly more expensive in recent years: between 2018 and 2020, the average ransom fee skyrocketed from $5,000 to $200,000. Ransomware attacks also cost companies in the form of income lost while hackers hold system access for ransom. (The average length of system downtime after a ransomware attack is 21 days.)

In a 2021 survey of 1,263 cybersecurity professionals, 66% said their companies suffered significant revenue loss as a result of a ransomware attack. One in three said their company lost top leadership either by dismissal or resignation, and 29% stated their companies were forced to remove jobs following a ransomware attack.

Ransomware attacks will persist and evolve as criminal organizations look to evade the OFAC block list and apply pressure tactics for payment. In fact, cybercriminals can now subscribe to “Ransomware-as-a-Service” providers, which allow users to deploy pre-developed ransomware tools to execute attacks in exchange for a percentage of all successful ransom payments.

Similar to legitimate software companies, cybercriminal groups are continually developing their tool kit for themselves and their customers – for example, to make the process of data exfiltration quicker and easier. Another trick that threat actors sometimes pull off is rebranding their ransomware, changing bits and pieces in the process.

According to Microsoft, 96.88 percent of all ransomware infections take under four hours to successfully infiltrate their target. The fastest malicious software can take over a company’s system in under 45 minutes.

5 Key Ransomware Statistics:

  • Ransomware cost the world $20 billion in 2021. That number is expected to rise to $265 billion by 2031.
  • In 2021, 37 percent of all businesses and organizations were hit by ransomware.
  • Recovering from a ransomware attack cost businesses $1.85 million on average in 2021.
  • Out of all ransomware victims, 32 percent pay the ransom, but they only get 65 percent of their data back.
  • Only 57 percent of businesses are successful in recovering their data using a backup.

Final Words

It can be quite difficult to keep up with and defend against emerging cybersecurity risks as they materialize. Even the most robust cybersecurity system cannot guarantee protection against attacks since millions of hackers are constantly striving to create new attack techniques faster than businesses can upgrade their defenses.

For this reason, it’s critical to include enough insurance in your cybersecurity plan so that, even in the event of a successful assault, the losses won’t bankrupt your company. You can feel secure in the knowledge that you are as secured as possible with robust cybersecurity protections and the safety net that insurance offers.

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