Cybersecurity is an ever-evolving landscape. As digital innovation and emerging technologies promise new possibilities, an increasing uncertainty and heightened level of risk leaves companies and enterprises vulnerable.
That’s why staying ahead of the curve and anticipating potential before they happen is so important. In this article, we take a look at the major cybersecurity trends in 2023, while pinpointing the key emerging threats to be aware of in the coming year.
Cybersecurity is one of the areas that has suffered the most from the Covid-19 pandemic. Already over-stretched IT and cybersecurity departments find themselves under even more pressure, with the rush to adapt infrastructures to meet the complex needs of remote working leaving many companies without adequate security in place. Meanwhile, budget cuts mean even less time and money to deal with an expanding threat landscape.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Risk Report 2022, malware increased by 358% in 2020, while ransomware increased by 435%. Cybersecurity attacks continued to increase throughout 2021 and 2022, both in terms of attack vectors and also overall impact. Now, in 2023, we find ourselves dealing with an emerging threats, with increasingly sophisticated cybercrime technologies giving malicious actors the ability to tailor attacks and pinpoint vulnerabilities.
Triple extortion ransomware adds an extra layer to the typical ransomware attack. In addition to the first target, malicious actors look to extort money from any other individuals or organizations impacted by the original attack.
Malicious deliberately target large influential organizations that have multiple third-party collaborators. This adds extra leverage to the attack, increasing the likelihood of ransoms being paid.
Triple extortion ransomware is called triple because it’s the third layer of a ransomware demand, following demands for a decryption key and the threat of leaking sensitive data. According to a cybersecurity survey by security firm Venafi, 83% of ransomware attacks feature double or triple extortion.
One of the most remarkable advances in malicious technologies in recent years, deepfake techniques involve the creation or manipulation of images, audio or video in order to commit fraud or as leverage for ransomware.
Despite the high level of technology used to create deepfakes, it’s an alarmingly accessible attack tool – cyber-criminals without any particular expertise can create deepfakes using AI generators that use neural networks and machine learning. Deepfakes can be used to bypass video and face-to-face verification methods, while deepfake ransomware has the potential to take extortion to a whole new level.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly influential part in both cybersecurity and cybercrime. From a threat perspective, AI-enabled cyber attacks allow malicious attacks to create faster, more complex and more widespread attacks.
AI cyberattacks can be used to shut down infrastructure and exploit information, and are adapting all the time, making it increasingly challenging for companies to respond to and recover from attacks.
AI cyber attack techniques include spear phishing with target selection, impersonation, malware communication cloaking and end-to-end AI-enabled cyberattacks. While the sophistication of these attacks is limited, it’s predicted that within the next few years malicious attackers will be able to create AI that can pinpoint an organization’s vulnerabilities and tailor attack campaigns accordingly.
Cloud adoption will be an increasing trend in 2023 and beyond. In fact, global cloud infrastructure spending is projected to reach $118 billion by 2025. And, with more and more applications and processes taking place on the cloud, as well as increasing amounts of data being stored on the cloud, it stands to reason that cyber-criminals tailor their attacks toward the cloud.
Phishing and cloud-based malware is a growing challenge for organizations who make the shift onto the cloud. Anticipating and reacting to this more complex cybersecurity environment involves adopting more sophisticated tools and techniques such as encryption, confidential computing, IAM and next-level cloud security audits.
Meanwhile, threat detection techniques are increasingly becoming AI-based. Machine learning algorithms can sift through the vast amount of data moving across networks in real time far more efficiently than humans could and learn to recognise patterns that indicate a threat
MFA (multi-factor authentication) is a mandatory security layer for cloud-based applications. It uses an electronic identification system, whereby the user has to verify their identity using two or more items of evidence (password, code sent to a separate device, etc.) in order to gain access to the application.
However, as its implementation has become more widespread, cyber-criminals have developed ever-more innovative methods to bypass MFA controls, studying human behavior and using new technologies in order to more easily obtain user credentials.
BFA bypass methods include:
The interconnected nature of the global supply chain is one of its strengths, but it’s also one of its weaknesses. Cybercriminals are increasingly looking to leverage the trusted relationships between organizations within the global supply chain in order to breach security systems. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly 40% of organizations have suffered negative consequences from cyber-attacks on their supply chain, and virtually all are concerned about the resilience of SMEs within their ecosystem.
Cybercriminals have turned the partner and supplier ecosystem into a critical attack vector, capitalizing on the trust between companies within the chain and the poor security they have in place. Through compromised accounts and impersonation, these malicious actors send malware, steal credentials and commit billing fraud, among other attacks.
In 2023 and beyond, these concerns will increase – Gartner recently predicted that, by 2025, 45% of global organizations will be impacted in some way by a supply chain attack. This is largely due to the fact that most organizations don’t currently have high enough security standards or the right tools in place to defend the digital supply chain against vulnerabilities.
Cybercrime is becoming an ultramodern industry, utilizing every emerging technology to extract money, data and other valuable assets from companies. From traditional techniques like phishing to emerging methods such as cryptojacking and deekfakes, cybercriminals have multiple attack-vectors at their disposal. Across all of these various methodologies is a connecting thread – every attack is becoming ever-more sophisticated in the details.
Malicious actors can now leverage IoT technology, deep-learning, 5G architecture and an increased expertise of cybersecurity practices and technologies to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks on organizations. In order to detect, respond to and, ultimately, to deter these attacks, companies and enterprises will need to invest in sophisticated detection and response services.
Against this backdrop of ever-more sophisticated threats to the cybersecurity landscape, 2023 will see a growing awareness and appreciation for cybersecurity. CISOs will gain a deeper insight into how the rapidly-evolving threat landscape of today can impact their business, and will communicate these ideas to CEOs, CFOs, CTOs and, ultimately, to all members of their team.
Organizations will begin to take a progressive approach to bridging the gap between business needs and security challenges, while turning to MDR providers to build a robust, flexible and scalable cybersecurity architecture.
The move towards greater cyber resilience is intensifying. Companies across industries and economies are having board-level conversations about how to strengthen cyber-resilience and mitigate ever-more sophisticated cybersecurity threats. They are increasingly putting their trust in experienced managed detection and response services, in an effort to secure their future operations.
At Ackcent, we believe that sharing our knowledge and expertise is one element in the wider movement of a safer, more resilient and robust interconnected digital world. As a trusted MDR provider, we aim to bring transparency, clarity of action and excellent communication. We act as an extension of a company’s security team, offering next-level detection and resistance from cyber threats, always staying one step ahead of the ever-evolving nature of cybercrime.
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