Depending on your source, there are multiple cybersecurity- related trends coming to the fore. For example:
- Analyst firm Gartner recently named human-centric security design as the number one topic for 2023
- Financial powerhouse JP Morgan Chase predicts that social engineering attacks will become more sophisticated
- Security magazine reports that organizations should prepare for more cloud-based attacks.
A bit like when you’re reading the daily news, the cyber warnings and predictions can lead to “doomscrolling” – a dark rabbit hole of negativity.
On the other hand, considering the financial damage that a cyberattack can do, it’s important to understand the risks.
To that end, here are trends we believe are worth noting. We’ve chosen these issues either because we’ve remediated related incidents for clients or because we recognize the risks within IT systems the could make them vulnerable to these attacks.
Human-centric security design and social engineering attacks are basically the same thing. Attackers use carefully crafted messages to lure individuals toward downloading a malware-laden file or going to a compromised website. The concept is not new; we know most organizations are doing a great job of ensuring employees are aware of these attacks.
However, what is rapidly changing the game is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). Phishing emails and social media content are increasingly looking authentic and convincing. It used to be that poor grammar or misspellings made these messages easier to identify. Bad actors are now using natural language processing models and generative AI tools to manipulate content and trick individuals into giving away sensitive information.
Natural Language Generation
AI can generate highly realistic and persuasive text, mimicking the writing style of a legitimate source. This helps in crafting phishing emails that appear legitimate and deceive the recipient into taking action.
Image and Voice Manipulation
AI technologies can be used to manipulate images or voice recordings, creating fake media to support phishing attempts. For instance, attackers can generate fake login screens or voice messages that mimic well-known brands or individuals, making them more convincing to potential victims.
Advice: Security training and awareness programs should be carried out consistently; once a year simply isn’t sufficient to keep up with evolving phishing tactics. We also recommend a proactive approach to detection and remediation. It’s critical to have the right tools in place to limit the spread of malware.
Cloud Services Attacks
Many organizations are adopting hybrid work models, in which employees flex their work time between home and onsite facilities. Although this trend was accelerated by the pandemic, businesses often still struggle to ensure that individuals have the digital tools and connections necessary to securely work anywhere, any time.
One of the hurdles that must be overcome is the reliance on default security settings for cloud services. Sometimes it’s easy for an IT administrator to miss a cloud configuration that can be vulnerable, whether because they’re overwhelmed with work or the setting is confusing or buried within a platform or solution. No matter, it’s important to be aware of this attack vector because hackers actively look for these vulnerabilities.
Advice: Especially if your IT staff is lean, it can be difficult to task them to spend more time reviewing controls and configurations within cloud services. In these cases, we recommend working with a managed services provider or IT consulting team to ensure any security loopholes or gaps in cloud services are closed.
In unhappy news, March 2023 apparently broke all records for ransomware attacks. On the brighter side, it also seems the damage is less severe for those organizations that have invested in cybersecurity tools.
Regardless, hackers are also invested. They will go after any company, large or small, for financial gain.
Advice: Even though economic markets are challenging, prioritize security investments. Prevention is worth the price in terms of ransomware. Also, have a solid backup and disaster recovery plan.
Cyberattacks and threats will continue to evolve. Every organization must remain on alert and be proactive about incorporating cybersecurity into their overall business strategy. It can be arduous task, but critical to ensuring ongoing business operations. Contact us today.