Top 5 cybersecurity trends to consider in 2023

Cybersecurity discussions have recently moved from the IT department into the boardroom. As attacks have increased and the potential penalties, including regulatory and in terms of lost customer trust, have increased, it's become a priority at every organizational level.

We often think of cybercrime as an ongoing battle between criminals, hackers, and security experts, who are constantly advancing thanks to new technologies. This is Hollywood's take on the business, and it's often exaggerated on television shows and movies.

However, in reality, threats can also arise due to insecure networks exposing sensitive information or careless or indiscreet employees using unsecure devices while working from home (which is why it's important to make sure your company's network is secure).

Recently, we have seen an increase in cybercrime, especially due to the rise of IoT devices. With the proliferation of these devices, hackers can quickly gain access to sensitive information, such as financial data, personal details, and intellectual property. Cybersecurity professionals must be aware of any potential threats before they arise.

1. Cloud Security and IoT

The more connected devices we have, the easier they are to hack into. By 2025, analysts predict, there will be 42 billion internet-enabled things (IoT) worldwide. That's a lot of doorways to attack.

IoT devices, from smart wearables to home appliances, connected cars, and industrial machinery, have often proved challenging for those responsible for cybersecurity. This is because they are usually not designed to store sensitive information directly, and manufacturers haven't always been focused on keeping these devices secure with regular security patches and updates.

However, that has changed recently. We have seen that even when they don't store any data themselves, hackers can often find ways to exploit them as gateways into other connected networks that may contain sensitive information. Today, for example, you're less likely to find a product shipped with a default password that doesn't require the user to set one, as was frequently the practice in the past.

In 2023, governments around the world will begin implementing new laws designed to protect consumer data. These include regulations requiring manufacturers to label any internet-connected device sold in the United States with a unique identifier so that users can determine if their personal data is being collected and shared without their consent.

2. Work-from-home cybersecurity becomes a business imperative

Recently, a cybersecurity concern for many companies has been securing billions of devices worldwide. These devices are the same ones used for home and business purposes during the COVID-19 crisis.

Before the pandemic, when people primarily worked in offices, it was easy for security agents, who may have worked in IT departments, to routinely check and update company laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

This ensured they were free of spyware and malware (like ransomware) and running updated versions of antivirus software and other preventatives. In 2023, new challenges have arisen once employees are more likely to use personal devices to connect to work networks.

Connecting to networks with non-secure devices, such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, or desktops, could potentially allow a threat actor to gain access to sensitive information. In addition, if someone leaves a device unattended, they could be vulnerable to being tricked into downloading malicious software onto their computer.

Remote working environments increase the likelihood of these types of attacks occurring. For example, suppose a user works remotely. In that case, they might not know who else is connected to the network, so they would be unable to identify whether the person accessing the network is trustworthy.

3. State-sponsored attacks target everyone

Nations often engage in cyber espionage and sabotage to undermine unfriendly governments or gain access to secret information. Today, however, it's becoming increasingly likely that corporations and non-governmental agencies will find themselves targeted by nation-states.

Since the 2017 Wannacry ransomware attack, believed to be perpetrated by hackers affiliated with North Korea, there have been hundreds of thousands of attacks all around the world that cybersecurity experts believe can be traced back to foreign governments.

In 2023, governments around the world will hold national elections. These events are frequently targeted by hackers and cyber attackers who seek to disrupt the process and manipulate public opinion.

Disinformation campaigns on social media will also play a role in influencing voters. Cyber warfare will likely remain an important aspect of military operations, with one expert predicting that "digital is an important part of this war as much as the fighting on the ground."

4. AI will play a critical role in cybersecurity

As the number of attempts to hack computers has increased dramatically, it has become increasingly difficult for human security experts to keep track of them all and predict where they might occur next. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes into play.

Machine learning algorithms can examine the vast amounts of data moving across networks every second far more effectively than humans can and learn to recognize patterns indicating a potential attack. According to IBM, organizations that utilize AI and automation to identify and respond to data breaches typically save an average of $3 million per year compared to those that do not.

This is why AI in cyber security is sometimes called an "arms race," as hackers and security experts race to ensure the latest and most advanced algorithms are working on their behalf rather than against them. By 2030, the market for AI cybersecurity solutions is expected to reach nearly $139 billion (a 10x increase from 2021).

5. Building a security-first culture

Perhaps the most important thing any organization could do is to ensure that their staff is aware of the dangers posed by cybercrime. While eliminating every threat entirely may not be possible, it's undoubtedly worth ensuring that your business takes steps to protect itself against these risks. After all, if you do nothing else, you could end up being sued for negligence!

Phishing continues to be a winner for threat actors. It relies on social engineering to trick users into divulging valuable information or installing malware onto their devices. No one needs technical knowledge to learn how to spot phishing attempts and take basic precautions to avoid being tricked.

Likewise, basic security know-how, like the safe use of passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA), should be taught across the organization and constantly updated. Taking basic precautions such as these to foster a culture of cyber-security awareness should be a core element in any business strategy that wants to ensure it builds resiliency and preparedness over the next 12 months.

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