Emerging Threats in Cybersecurity

As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the risk of cyber threats continues to grow. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that by 2025, cybercrime costs will reach $10.5 trillion annually, up from just $3 trillion in 2015. From ransomware attacks to phishing attacks, malware infections to insider threats, and IoT vulnerabilities to data breaches, businesses and individuals face an ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity risks. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most pressing cybersecurity threats facing organizations and individuals today and offer tips on staying protected in an increasingly interconnected world.

Emerging Threats in Cybersecurity

Biggest Security Threats for 2024

1. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks involve hackers encrypting a victim’s data and demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key. These attacks have become increasingly common and sophisticated in recent years, with high-profile victims including hospitals, financial organizations, e-commerce/retail sites, and manufacturing.

While ransomware attacks are nothing new, they have been and will continue to be increasingly expensive and destructive for the targeted company. According to Embroker, the average cost of a single ransomware attack is $1.85 million, and according to Security Magazine, after a ransomware attack, only 63% of organizations successfully restore their stolen data.

The best way to protect against ransomware is to implement a multi-layered approach that includes regular data backups, employee training, and advanced security solutions. Regularly backing up your data to an offsite location can help you recover from a ransomware attack without paying the ransom.

Educating your employees on identifying and avoiding suspicious links or attachments can also reduce the likelihood of an attack. Investing in advanced security solutions such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and endpoint protection can help detect and prevent ransomware attacks.

2. IoT (Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of connected devices such as smart home appliances, wearables, and industrial sensors. While these devices offer many benefits, they also present new cybersecurity risks. Hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in IoT devices to gain access to sensitive data or even take control of the devices themselves.

With IoT, it is not the device itself but the network security of the internet it is connected to. IoT devices are easy targets because they are everywhere and are not always designed with security as a priority. Many organizations will maintain usage of default admin passwords as many IoT devices do not require users to set new ones upon initialization.

To protect against IoT vulnerabilities, secure the Wi-Fi network and disconnect your devices from that network when it is not in use. Additionally, ensure that the software and firmware stay updated. Organizations can also choose to implement endpoint security and/or a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution to track all assets in the organization’s digital network.

3. Cloud Vulnerabilities

Cloud cybersecurity vulnerabilities have become a significant concern with the increasing adoption of cloud technology. Research by Market.us predicts that the global cloud computing market will grow at a CAGR of 16% from 2023 to 2032.

Cloud services are vulnerable to a wide range of cyber threats, such as data breaches, malware attacks, phishing, and DDoS attacks. These vulnerabilities arise from the shared responsibility model between cloud service providers and customers, where customers are responsible for securing their applications and data. In contrast, the cloud providers are responsible for securing the underlying infrastructure. According to Fortinet’s 2022 Cloud Security Report, 62% of cybersecurity professionals say misconfiguration of the cloud/wrong set-up is the most significant security risk when adopting the cloud.

Therefore, organizations need to implement robust security measures such as multi-factor authentication, encryption, and regular vulnerability assessments to mitigate the risks associated with cloud cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

4. Social Engineering

Social engineering is a type of hacking technique that relies on human error, which makes them even more dangerous. Unfortunately, it’s much easier to trick a person than to breach a security system. According to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations report, 85% of all data breaches involve human interaction, which highlights the effectiveness of this method. In 2023, social engineering tactics were commonly used to obtain employee data and credentials. An email was found to be the starting point for over 75% of targeted cyberattacks, with phishing being one of the primary causes of data breaches, followed by the use of stolen credentials and ransomware.

Learn how to protect yourself from phishing scams in our blog “How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams.”

5. Mobile Devices

Mobile devices, specifically ones used for mobile wallets and touchless payments, are big prospects for hackers. Much like IoT devices, they are everywhere and used heavily with increased remote work.

Malicious actors target mobile devices as they provide a direct gateway to sensitive data, and their security measures are often less strong than those on computers. Additionally, users often connect to unsecured Wi-Fi networks or download apps from unverified sources, which increases their vulnerability to cyber-attacks.

A device may be infected with a virus or malware if the battery drains faster than usual, applications take longer to load, or any other unusual behavior, such as apps opening and closing on their own. To protect your device from threats, avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi, use a strong password, update the device regularly, restart the device weekly, and practice good cyber hygiene.

Other Threats to Watch For

Automotive Hacking

Vehicles with automated software, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi technologies are at risk of a cybersecurity attack. Hackers can gain control of the vehicle and manipulate its functions. Examples of automotive hacking include GPS spoofing, taking over the vehicle’s mobile app and remote control, as well as inputting malicious code or hacking microphones to eavesdrop.

To help prevent these risks, regularly update the car’s software, only use the manufacturer’s approved software, limit GPS usage, and connect to the internet securely with a VPN.

Data Breaches

Various factors, including human error, malware attacks, and social engineering tactics, can cause data breaches. When a breach occurs, sensitive information such as personal data, financial information, and intellectual property can be compromised. This can have severe consequences for individuals and organizations, including financial loss, legal liabilities, and damage to reputation.

To reduce the risk of data breaches, organizations need to have robust cybersecurity measures in place, including employee training, regular vulnerability assessments, and the use of advanced security technologies.

Insider Threats

Generally, cybersecurity threats come from outside of the organization. However, internal actors who have caused intentional or unintentional harm through error or misuse account for 19% of attacks in 2023, according to Verizon’s Data Breach Investigations report.

Proper staff training on cybersecurity best practices is essential to the modern business security plan. Training such as identifying suspicious emails, using strong passwords, and reporting security incidents will help create a culture of awareness. Ultimately, investing in this cybersecurity training can save organizations from costly consequences.

At IP Pathways, we understand the security risks of a cyber-attack. In partnership with Tenax Solutions, an IP Pathways Company, we are happy to offer security and compliance services to uniquely support you and your team. Our experienced engineers will work with you to understand your goals and provide custom solutions that cater to your needs. We offer various security services, including risk management and assessment, penetration testing, offensive security, and remediation services. IP Pathways can also implement backup as a service, managed Cisco Duo, and firewall as a service to develop a holistic security solution. Check out our complete list of services here and contact us today!

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