Five (5) cybersecurity forecasts for 2023
It is difficult to predict the future, but by carefully examining attack vectors and the direction of technology, we can get a fair picture of where we are going. Organizations should first gain a solid understanding of how the broader threat environment is changing to implement a cybersecurity program that works. Below are key cybersecurity trends and predictions that businesses can expect in 2023.
- Increase in attacks targeting IoT devices: As the number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices continues to grow, they will become increasingly attractive targets for cybercriminals. Many IoT devices and their often-limited security capabilities make them vulnerable to a variety of attacks. Some examples include:
i. Botnets: IoT devices can be infected with malware and controlled remotely, creating a botnet that can be used to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
ii. Device spoofing: Cybercriminals can use IoT devices to impersonate other devices, allowing them to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt networks.
iii. Data exfiltration: IoT devices often collect and transmit large amounts of data, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals looking to steal personal information or intellectual property.
iv. IoT security is a complex issue, and organizations need to take a proactive approach to secure their devices. This may include implementing security best practices, such as using strong authentication and encryption, regularly updating software and firmware, and monitoring for suspicious activity. Additionally, organizations can consider using security solutions specifically designed for IoT devices to further secure their networks.
2. Growth of Ransomware attacks: Ransomware attacks, in which cybercriminals hold a company’s data hostage until a ransom is paid, will likely continue to increase in frequency and sophistication in 2023. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment in exchange for a decryption key. These attacks are becoming more prevalent, as they are relatively easy to carry out and can be highly profitable for cybercriminals.
Ransomware attacks have affected a wide range of organizations, from small businesses to large corporations and government agencies. These attacks have resulted in significant financial losses, as well as disruption to operations and reputational damage. Some recent examples of ransomware attacks include:
i. WannaCry: A ransomware attack that affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries in May 2017.
ii. Petya: A ransomware attack that affected more than 12,000 computers in 65 countries in June 2017.
iii. NotPetya: A ransomware attack that affected more than 3,000 computers in 65 countries in June 2017.
To protect against ransomware, organizations need to have robust backup and disaster recovery plans in place. This includes regularly backing up important data and testing the ability to restore it in the event of an attack. Additionally, organizations should implement security best practices, such as keeping the software and firmware up to date, using strong authentication and encryption, and monitoring for suspicious activity. Additionally, organizations can deploy advanced threat prevention and detection technologies to detect and block ransomware attacks.
3. Greater focus on supply chain security: With the increasing reliance on third-party vendors and cloud services, companies will need to place a greater emphasis on securing their supply chain to protect against breaches in 2023. The supply chain refers to the process of obtaining raw materials, manufacturing products, and delivering them to customers. This process involves a wide range of partners, including suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers, and distributors.
As companies increasingly rely on third-party vendors and cloud services to support their operations, they become more vulnerable to supply chain attacks. These attacks can take many forms, such as:
i. Third-party vendor breaches: Cybercriminals may target third-party vendors to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt operations.
ii. Malicious insiders: Employees or contractors with access to sensitive information may misuse that access for personal gain or to cause harm.
iii. Counterfeit goods: Cybercriminals may introduce counterfeit goods into the supply chain to steal from companies and their customers.
To protect against supply chain attacks, companies can take some steps such as:
- Conducting regular risk assessments and due diligence on third-party vendors and partners
- Implementing security protocols and standards for third-party vendors and partners
- Regularly monitoring for suspicious activity and unauthorized access
- Implementing security best practices for their operations, such as strong authentication, encryption, and incident response plan
- By taking steps to secure their supply chain, companies can better protect themselves against breaches and maintain the trust of their customers.
4. The emergence of new forms of AI-powered attacks: As artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more advanced, it will be used by cybercriminals to launch more sophisticated and targeted attacks, making it harder for organizations to defend themselves in 2023.
AI can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the capabilities of cyberattacks. Some examples include:
i. Advanced phishing: AI-powered phishing attacks can be highly targeted and sophisticated, making them harder to detect and prevent.
ii. Social engineering: AI can be used to impersonate humans to trick victims into divulging sensitive information or installing malware e.g., Deep fakes.
iii. Malware: AI-powered malware can adapt and evolve to evade detection by traditional security solutions, making it more dangerous and persistent.
iv. Advanced reconnaissance: AI-powered reconnaissance can be used to gather information about a target organization, making it easier to launch a successful attack.
To protect against AI-powered attacks, organizations can consider using security solutions specifically designed to detect and block AI-powered attacks amongst others. These solutions may include AI-powered threat detection and response systems, as well as security solutions that use machine learning to detect and block attacks in real-time.
It is important to note that AI is not only a tool for attackers but also a defence mechanism. Some companies are already using AI-based solutions to improve their security posture, such as identifying and blocking advanced threats, automating incident response, and optimizing their security operations.
5. More stringent data privacy regulations: Governments around the world will likely continue to introduce more stringent data privacy regulations in response to growing concerns about the misuse of personal data in 2023. This will have a significant impact on the way companies collect, store, and process personal data.
Data privacy regulations aim to protect individuals’ personal information from being mishandled or misused. Some examples of data privacy regulations include:
i. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, May 2018.
ii. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) in the United States, January 2020.
iii. Brazil’s General Data Protection Law (LGPD), August 2022.
These regulations typically require companies to obtain explicit consent from individuals before collecting, storing, or processing their personal data, and to inform individuals of their rights concerning their personal data. They also require companies to take steps to protect personal data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
Companies that collect, store, or process personal data will need to comply with these regulations to avoid significant fines. This may include conducting regular risk assessments amongst others. Additionally, companies may need to appoint a data protection officer and implement incident response plans.
In conclusion, the cybersecurity landscape in 2023 is likely to be shaped by some key trends. These include an increase in attacks targeting IoT devices, a growth in ransomware attacks, a greater focus on supply chain security, the emergence of new forms of AI-powered attacks, and more stringent data privacy regulations. To protect against these threats, organizations will need to take a proactive approach to security, implementing security best practices, using advanced threat prevention and detection technologies, and complying with data privacy regulations. It will also be important for organizations to stay informed about the latest threats and trends in cybersecurity to be able to effectively defend against them.
Author: Constant Worlanyo Agbeko, Member, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana
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