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2024 is here, and we are in an era of challenges for cybersecurity as we face unprecedented complexities. Technologies are fast and we depend more on digital networks. However, this creates conditions for more sophisticated and malicious cyber threats.
This article will analyze the critical cybersecurity trends in 2024 that we should be aware of.
Cybersecurity 2024 Trends
1. Ransomware Attacks Powered by AI
In the world of technology, ransomware attacks are a recurring and frequent threat, particularly when fueled by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These attacks leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to launch intricate and sophisticated attacks that are easily able to get past conventional defenses and adapt to a variety of settings.
According to Bleeping Computer, Black Basta is a well-known ransomware group that has been associated with Russia. Since its founding in April 2022, the group has demanded ransom payments for over $100 million from over 90 victims. Black Basta encrypts sensitive data with ransomware after stealing it from compromised systems through Double Extortion attacks. After that, they threaten to expose the victim's data on the dark web unless they pay a ransom.
Since the start of 2022, Black Basta has received at least 107 million dollars in ransom payments, with an average payment of 1.2 million. Nine million dollars is the largest payment that they are known to have received.
Their target list includes high-profile victims like the American Dental Association, Sobeys, Knauf, Toronto Public Library, Capita, and ABB, among other corporate entities worldwide. Although Black Basta first surfaced as a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation, it is thought to be a branch or a new name for the notorious ransomware group Conti, which shut down because of data breaches. Their knowledge and proficiency with ransomware operations point to a significant degree of collaboration with other Russian-speaking cyberthreat organizations.
With the recent adaptation of new AI, these threats that are based on and driven by AI require an agile and dynamic approach to cyber defense, as they are growing exponentially. The security of the digital world is seriously challenged by these new ransomware programs, which make it harder to detect and mitigate the threat.
2. Evolution of Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
As previously noted, cybersecurity faces an increasingly difficult task, particularly given the growing variety of Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). These groups, which comprise both state actors and cybercriminals, have increased the scope of their operations, ranging from cyberwars to cyberspying with a variety of goals and strategies.
Modern cybersecurity faces new challenges as a result of APT threats. APT actors gain access to networks through sophisticated techniques like spear phishing, Zero-Day Vulnerabilities, and social engineering strategies.
Before you know it, they set up various points of compromise so they can continue to have access even if part of their activity is discovered. APTs, akin to chameleons, have demonstrated their ability to adapt and evolve through their methods of navigating a dynamic digital landscape.
It is well known that some events in 2023 signaled a turning point in these groups' development and technical agility. For instance, coordinated cyberwar actions consisting of both cyber and conventional operations have been observed in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
These attacks have been known about since the early 2000s. To name a few more noteworthy instances, we have the Titan Rain campaign, which was launched in 2003 by Chinese hackers against the US government, and the Stuxnet worm, which was discovered in 2010 and is regarded as one of the most sophisticated malware discoveries to date.
Cybercriminals, APT groups, and state actors are all investing in the creation and advancement of tools through cutting-edge techniques. Infrastructure protection will present organizations and governments with new and substantial challenges. Ransomware attacks have evolved, as we have previously discussed, forcing more adaptive responses.
These sneaky threats' continued existence highlights the necessity of ongoing surveillance and cutting-edge cybersecurity procedures to safeguard data and network infrastructures.
3. Rise of AI-Enabled Social Engineering
Even though the various cyberattacks we've discussed have improved recently since AI was introduced, social engineering and AI use have advanced as well; statistically speaking, social engineering attacks account for 98% of all cyberattacks: from a phishing email to carefully planned conversations amongst coworkers.
The skill of trying to control computer systems by tricking, swaying, or manipulating users is known as social engineering. Since they are professionals, they will use any strategy that pushes them over the edge, and there are several harsh ways to exploit AI for this purpose.
As previously stated, social engineering is the term used to describe how attackers manipulate strategies to persuade victims. Doubting reality, feelings, and perception—whether out of curiosity, fear, or desire—exposes us and causes us to let down our guard, which in turn lowers the defenses of an organization.
Knowing our weaknesses, such as impulsivity, greed, and curiosity, cybercriminals take advantage of them. These believable, mass-customized phishing campaigns result from social engineering attacks made possible by artificial intelligence, which they have reported to the FTC.
In their attempt to persuade the user, they inadvertently give them access to vital systems or extremely private data. These highly skilled attacks can compromise even the most secure departments. For this reason, companies work to enhance the team members' skills.
From a clearer point of view, artificial intelligence is enhancing the magnitude of cyberattacks, making us more susceptible to deepfakes, phishing emails, and conventional cyberattacks. Employees may be tricked by AI-generated content to click on harmful links and download files that are malware.
4. Rise of IoT Risk
In the past few years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has connected everything, from wearables and medical devices to appliances and cars, greatly impacting our lives. We can access real-time information, operate our devices remotely, and live better thanks to this interconnection. However, it also presents issues with the ethics, security, and privacy of the data that the Internet of Things generates.
In 2023, there were nearly 15 billion connected devices due to the rapid growth of IoT devices. As previously stated, with an additional 2 billion devices on the way, it will be difficult to prioritize our coexistence while ignoring crucial cybersecurity risks.
Moreover, even under ideal circumstances, it can be very challenging to patch IoT devices. Organizational IoT systems are vulnerable to attacks on devices such as printers, security cameras, and other devices. When it comes to IoT devices, security cameras are the most common choice. Security cameras make up a large portion of the IoT devices currently in use; this year, they are expected to grow by 420 million units.
Keeping in view the alarming circumstances, we must emphasize research from CyberNews about the security of IP cameras: There are 3.5 million exposed on the Internet, which is eight times more than there were in April 2021.
Seeing the scenario that awaits us, is not only a threat to people’s privacy but also poses a significant security risk. Malicious actors can take advantage of these vulnerabilities and this leads us to the importance of cybersecurity within IoT devices and the need for users to protect with more vigorous security practices.
Given the situation that lies ahead, there is a serious security risk as well as a risk to people's privacy. These vulnerabilities are manipulatable by malicious actors, which highlights the significance of cybersecurity for IoT devices and the necessity for users to take stronger security precautions.
How to avoid these upcoming 2024 cybersecurity risks
It’s important to face these new challenges within an essential multi-focus.
We stress the importance of using MFA at all times, regularly backing up your data, and using antivirus software. You should also keep your operating systems and applications updated.
Put in place strategic layers of defense, keep an eye on network activity, train staff members to be cyberaware, and routinely perform audits and assessments.
Use digital signatures and encryption, confirm the identity of the communication source, and exercise caution when responding to unsolicited requests or offers.
Always use a VPN, disable superfluous features, update your firmware frequently, and change the default password on all of your IoT devices.
While AI has downsides, it can also be leveraged to generate vital cyber defense tactics through machine learning, matching sophisticated AI-driven attacks with defensive measures.
We must remain informed, awake, and vigilant to safeguard not only our customers but also businesses in the digital realm.
To achieve this goal and protect ourselves under the hope that overcoming these obstacles will grant us, we can take advantage of these chances to fortify our cybersecurity posture, guaranteeing a more secure atmosphere for all. Remain knowledgeable and vigilant!