Cybersecurity Trends and Drivers in 2022

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Last year ended in tumultuous fashion with the discovery of a serious vulnerability in Apache Log4j that can be exploited with minimal effort. It was also marked by the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline due to a ransomware attack and the realization that SolarWinds code was infected with malware that spread to thousands of customers and agencies. governmental.

As bad as it sounds, it’s likely to get worse. The profitability of cybercrime continues to grow – as does the sophistication of attackers, who are often sponsored by nations with significant resources – and the organizations with the most to lose are often those that do not have the resources or the expertise needed to protect themselves adequately, like medium-sized businesses. large corporations, governments and healthcare providers.

So what does 2022 hold in store for cybersecurity, and what can we do to prepare for it?

Increased attack vectors

The proliferation of endpoints opens up new avenues of attack. Endpoints include anything that communicates back and forth with a network. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, and wearable devices are all sensitive endpoints, along with IoT devices such as security cameras, connected home appliances, voice assistants, and many other items that consumers and businesses might not consider vulnerable. Worse still, many of them use the same hardware to enable connectivity, so a vulnerability could have far-reaching effects. We are likely to see an increase in attacks against IoT devices as a way to access networks, mine cryptocurrency, or steal data. According to Threatpost, the first six months of 2021 saw a more than 100% growth in cyberattacks against IoT devices, and that rate will only increase in 2022.

Related: Protect your business by becoming a cybersecurity analyst

AI-related attacks

AI and machine learning systems are both ripe for attack and used to carry out attacks. Many organizations use these technologies to process massive amounts of data (the primary target for most hackers), and the same capabilities that power voice recognition, self-driving vehicles, and online shopping can massively expand automated cyberattacks.

We expect attacks on AI systems, which could take the form of the subversion of physical assets (such as drones and autonomous vehicles), to have disastrous results. There may also be an increased use of these systems for political purposes, such as spreading false information, invading privacy or sowing discord.

Increased adoption of zero-trust architecture

The days of “trust but verify” are over. In today’s distributed work and cloud computing environments, the network no longer stops at office walls…it’s everywhere. “Zero trust” refers to the practice of continuously authenticating, authorizing, and validating network users before granting them access to applications and data. Strong identity management, endpoint protection, encryption, and continuous monitoring form the foundation of a zero-trust environment.

The pandemic has created new opportunities for malicious actors to gain access to networks as employees quickly transitioned to working from home and IT departments struggled to make network resources available outside office walls. Adopting a zero-trust framework is a journey, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but organizations must move quickly to implement the best access control, authentication, and environment policies. less privileged that will protect valuable data assets.

Related: How to protect your business against cyberattacks

Elevating cybersecurity to the executive level

According to an October 2021 UncommonX report, 60% of midsize businesses said they had experienced a ransomware attack in the 18 months prior to its publication. Even more staggering is that even after these devastating attacks, 70% of these organizations had not prioritized cybersecurity and only 35% had performed a risk assessment in the past year. Additionally, many did not have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) or other dedicated person whose responsibility is security/cybersecurity, even though phishing and ransomware attempts were on the rise. Therefore, IT bears most of the blame, even when it may not have the capacity to handle it effectively.

Cybersecurity is a business decision at its core, as it involves assessing risk and investing in people and technology to mitigate that risk. For that reason alone, it should be elevated to the C-suite or board level as a strategic partner. Business leaders should evaluate cybersecurity initiatives as they would other investments – ask themselves if an incident or breach is worth the risk to business operations, reputation and customer trust? Some organizations may be willing to accept these risks, but the decision must be made at the highest level and then backed by the appropriate level of investment.

Protect against insider threats

The big quit or “big go” of 2021 has highlighted that employees are fundamentally reassessing their jobs, their level of satisfaction, and their feelings toward employers. Outgoing staff members may pose a high risk of insider threat because they already have access to sensitive data such as customer lists, trade secrets and financial information. They may also be more inclined to sell this information if asked or allow unauthorized access to the network or premises.

Related: Identify and stop malicious employees before they become a security threat

To advance

One of the best outcomes of 2021 being such a difficult year would be to see more organizations prepare for the inevitable. Many may think that they are not interesting enough to be hacked, or that their data would not be useful to anyone else. They don’t realize that today’s cybercriminals are very opportunistic: if the data isn’t valuable enough to sell, it can be held for ransom because the business needs it to continue its business. So, with this in mind, every organization should develop robust prevention, detection and response plans.

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