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Top Cybersecurity Threats in 2023!
A host of new and evolving cybersecurity threats has the information security industry on high alert. Ever-more sophisticated cyberattacks involving malware, phishing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and more have placed the data and assets of corporations, governments and individuals at constant risk.
đź“ŚCybersecurity Threats and Trends for 2023:
âś…Vulnerability in the Cloud:
There are many advantages to cloud storage — encrypted servers with limited access, consistent cybersecurity measures and built-in firewalls, among others. And while cloud storage is typically far more secure than saving files on a hard drive, it still comes with certain risks. The National Security Agency has cautioned against four types of cloud vulnerabilities — misconfiguration, poor access control, shared tenancy and supply chain vulnerabilities. Other cloud vulnerabilities may include insecure APIs and lack of multi-factor authentication.
âś…Data Breaches:
Data breaches have, unfortunately, become all too common, and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon.
Some of the biggest data breaches of the 21st century include top companies like Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook and Marriott International. According to Comparitech, the U.S. has experienced the most data breaches with 212.4 million people affected in 2021 (compared with 174.4 million people in 2020). The closest country behind the U.S. was Iran with 156.1 million people affected by a data breach in 2021.
âś…Risky Hybrid or Remote Work Environments:
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly popularized the concepts of hybrid and remote work. According to Gallup, about half of full-time workers in the U.S. (60 million people) report that “that their current job can be done remotely working from home, at least part of the time.” Pre-pandemic, approximately 8% of workers were exclusively remote; that number rose to 39% in 2022. It’s now projected at 24% for 2023 and beyond.
While hybrid and remote work environments offer a variety of benefits to both employees and employers, they do come without added threats. Some of the most common remote work security risks include accessing sensitive data through unsafe Wi-Fi networks, using personal devices for work, using weak passwords and practicing unencrypted file sharing.
âś…Mobile Attacks:
The average cell phone user in the U.S. spent 4 hours and 23 minutes on their device in 2021. Smartphones are everywhere; not only are they used for personal connection and communication, but they are often essential for business, which makes them even more vulnerable to cyber threats. Just like computers and laptops, smartphones are susceptible to many security threats, including phishing (especially via text messaging), poor password security, spyware and malicious apps.
âś…Phishing Gets More Sophisticated:
Phishing attacks, in which carefully targeted digital messages are transmitted to fool people into clicking on a link that can then install malware or expose sensitive data, are becoming more sophisticated.
Now that employees at most organizations are more aware of the dangers of email phishing or of clicking on suspicious-looking links, hackers are upping the ante — for example, using machine learning to much more quickly craft and distribute convincing fake messages in the hopes that recipients will unwittingly compromise their organization’s networks and systems. Such attacks enable hackers to steal user logins, credit card credentials and other types of personal financial information, as well as gain access to private databases.
âś…Ransomware Strategies Evolve:
Ransomware attacks are believed to cost victims billions of dollars every year, as hackers deploy technologies that enable them to literally kidnap an individual or organization’s databases and hold all of the information for ransom. The rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is credited with helping to fuel ransomware attacks by allowing ransom demands to be paid anonymously.
As companies continue to focus on building stronger defenses to guard against ransomware breaches, some experts believe hackers will increasingly target other potentially profitable ransomware victims such as high-net-worth individuals.
The cryptocurrency movement also affects cybersecurity in other ways. For example, cryptojacking is a trend that involves cyber criminals hijacking third-party home or work computers to “mine” for cryptocurrency. Because mining for cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin, for example) requires immense amounts of computer processing power, hackers can make money by secretly piggybacking on someone else’s systems. For businesses, cryptojacked systems can cause serious performance issues and costly downtime as IT works to track down and resolve the issue.
âś…Cyber-Physical Attacks:
The same technology that has enabled us to modernize and computerize critical infrastructure also brings risk. The ongoing threat of hacks targeting electrical grids, transportation systems, water treatment facilities, etc., represent a major vulnerability going forward. According to a recent report in The New York Times, even America’s multibillion-dollar military systems are at risk of high-tech foul play.
âś…IoT Attacks:
The Internet of Things is becoming more ubiquitous by the day. It includes laptops and tablets, of course, but also routers, webcams, household appliances, smart watches, medical devices, manufacturing equipment, automobiles and even home security systems.
Connected devices are handy for consumers and many companies now use them to save money by gathering immense amounts of insightful data and streamlining business processes. However, more connected devices means greater risk, making IoT networks more vulnerable to cyber invasions and infections. Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can be used to create havoc, overload networks or lock down essential equipment for financial gain.
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The number of cyber threats is rising, with more sophisticated attacks involving malware, phishing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency and more. Data breaches, cloud vulnerabilities, mobile attacks, phishing, ransomware, cryptojacking, cyber-physical attacks, and IoT attacks are some of the biggest threats in 2023. Companies must be proactive in defending their data and assets, as these threats can lead to costly downtime, data loss, and financial gain for hackers.
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