Last year, the global average cost of a data breach was $4.45 million - an increase of 15% over the previous three years. As we get to the end of Q1 2024, it's crucial to be aware of emerging technology threats that could potentially disrupt and harm your business.

As always. technology evolves at a rapid pace, but never more so than today. It’s bringing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and individuals alike. Although much seems innocent enough, not all technology is benign. Some innovations can pose serious threats to our digital security, privacy, and safety. Nobody can afford to be blind to potentially dangerous possibilities.

Let’s look at some emerging technology threats to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

What are emerging threats in cyber security?

Data Poisoning Attacks

Cybercriminals are not slow on the uptake: Every time we get a new technology, crooks figure out how to compromise it. Data poisoning involves corrupting datasets used to train AI models. By injecting malicious data, attackers can skew algorithms' outcomes, potentially leading to incorrect decisions in critical sectors like healthcare or finance. It is crucial to take actions to counter this insidious threat. These include protecting training data integrity and implementing robust validation mechanisms.

AI-generated data should be used with caution. It should be heavily augmented by human intelligence and data from other sources. Don’t trust it without examination.

5G-Generated Network Vulnerabilities

5G technology is here and becoming widely used. This introduces new attack surfaces. With an increased number of connected devices, the attack vector broadens. IoT devices, reliant on 5G networks, might become targets for cyberattacks. Securing these devices and implementing strong network protocols is imperative, especially to prevent large-scale attacks.

You need to make sure that your business has a robust mobile device management strategy. Mobile is taking over much of the workload these days, and organizations should properly track and manage how these devices access business data.

Vulnerabilities in Quantum Computing

Quantum computing poses a threat even though it promises unprecedented computational power. In criminal hands, its immense processing capabilities could crack currently secure encryption methods. It’s a safe bet that hackers will exploit this power to access sensitive data. This emphasizes the need for quantum-resistant encryption techniques to safeguard digital information.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Manipulation

Any transformative technology like AI can be manipulated. Cybercriminals might exploit AI algorithms to spread misinformation. They are already creating convincing deepfakes and automating phishing attacks. Vigilance is essential as AI-driven threats become more sophisticated. It demands robust detection mechanisms to discern genuine from malicious AI-generated content.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Exploits

AR and VR technologies present new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals might exploit these platforms to deceive users, leading to real-world consequences. Plus, an election year is a good time to keep an eye on it.

Ensuring the security of AR and VR applications is crucial to prevent user manipulation and privacy breaches. This is especially true in sectors like gaming, education, and healthcare.

Ransomware Continues to Evolve

Ransomware attacks have evolved far beyond simple data encryption. Threat actors now use double extortion tactics. Once the Ransomware enters the system, it first steals sensitive data before encrypting files. If victims refuse to pay, hackers leak or sell this data, causing reputational damage.

Of course, we have defenses against this evolved ransomware threat:

Robust backup solutions

Regular Security Awareness Training

Proactive threat hunting

Supply Chain Attacks

These attacks use multi-layered strategies. Cybercriminals infiltrate third-party vendors or software providers to compromise larger targets – the intended victims. Strengthening supply chain cybersecurity is critical in preventing cascading cyber incidents. Businesses can do this through rigorous vendor assessments, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring.

Biometric Data Vulnerability

Fingerprints, facial recognition, and other types of biometric authentication methods are becoming more commonplace, but once compromised, users can't change biometric data like they can passwords. Protect biometric data through secure encryption. Ensure that service providers follow strict privacy regulations. These are paramount to preventing identity theft and fraud.

Evolving Phishing Attacks

Phishing is one of the oldest and most common forms of cyberattacks, and just like Ransomware, they are becoming more sophisticated and targeted thanks to AI. For example, hackers customize spear phishing attacks to a specific individual or organization. They do this based on online personal or professional information. If you have a slew of photos of your cat, Admiral Fluffynuzzle on Facebook, they will use that to seem safe and familiar to you.

Vishing attacks are also on the rise. These use voice calls or voice assistants to impersonate legitimate entities. They convincingly persuade victims to take certain actions. It sounds like your boss asking for your passwords, but… is it? Call your boss and ask about it.

Educating employees on current phishing attacks is vital and should be included as part of your ongoing Security Awareness Training. You should also have automated solutions to detect and defend against phishing threats in place.

How do you defend against cybersecurity threats?

The threats that we face evolve in tandem with the technology we use, so it’s important to be vigilant and proactive. Here are some tips that can help:

Educate yourself and others about the latest technology threats.

Always use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all online accounts.

Keep software and devices regularly updated to ward off any security vulnerabilities.

Train yourself NOT to click on suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages. Investigate.

Verify the identity and legitimacy of any callers or senders. Do this before providing any information or taking any actions.

Back up your data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a cyberattack.

Invest in a reliable cyber insurance policy. One that covers your specific needs and risks.

Report any suspicious or malicious activity to the relevant authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is AI a threat to cybersecurity?

There are a few dangers, but since AI has the potential to generate malware that could evade detection by current security filters, it can attack in an extremely stealthy fashion, but only if it is trained on quality exploit data.

Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre goes into great detail on the variety of ways AI can be a threat HERE.

What is a real life example of data poisoning?

These two examples almost sound funny, but they are quite serious:

Researchers from MIT's computer science and artificial intelligence laboratory tricked Google's AI algorithms into seeing turtles as rifles.

Chinese hackers convinced a Tesla’s Autopilot to drive into oncoming traffic. The group of cybersecurity researchers from Keen Security Labs in China placed bright-colored stickers on the road to create a ‘fake lane’ that tricked the self-driving software of a Tesla Model S into veering from the appropriate driving lane into the opposing lane on a test course. They published a report in 2019 showing how this was done.

What are the risks of 5G network?

The U.S. Department of Homeland and Security notes that the introduction of 5G has created some cybersecurity risks. One fear is malicious software and hardware being introduced into the 5G supply chain. Plus, 5G uses more information than previous technologies, which leaves more room for error.

Read more in the Department of Homeland Security’s article HERE.

Is ransomware getting worse?

Absolutely. Ransomware continues to gain more momentum year after year. According to a recent report by Malwarebytes, Global ransomware attacks have witnessed a boost in 2023. The report recorded 1,900 ransomware attacks against four countries - the US, Germany, France, and the UK—in one year.

How secure is your network?

As a reputable member of the IT Support Los Angeles community since 2002, IT Support LA offers a FREE, no-risk network and Cybersecurity assessment. It is a non-intrusive scan that allows us to deliver a comprehensive report that is yours to keep. No strings, and no obligation to ever use our Managed IT Services.

The best defenses are expert Cybersecurity to protect your data from theft, and a top-notch Managed Services Provider to ensure continued reliability and defenses against newly emerging threats.

With our 100% Money Back Guarantee in writing, we offer a risk-free way for prospective clients to try us out. Because we do not require a ‘hard’ contract, our clients can fire us at any time with 30 days’ notice. We have to be good.

Among the Managed IT services we provide:

IT HelpDesk Service
Onsite IT Support
Cloud migration and management
Email migration services
Backup and disaster recovery
VoIP phone systems
IT disposition and recycling
Office moves
White label services (IT to IT)

IT Support LA is an award-winning Managed Services Provider (MSP):
o  3 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
o  Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo SB100
o  Awarded Best IT in California by Channel Futures
o  Winner of Best IT in Los Angeles by Channel Futures
o  Listed as one of the world’s Top 501 Managed Services Providers by CRN and in the top 250 in the ‘Pioneer’ listing
o  4 years listed as one of the Top 501 Managed Services Providers in the World by Channel Futures
o  Listed as #21 MSP in the World in Channel Futures NextGen 101
o  Globee 2021 Bronze Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Globee 2022 Gold Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Named one of 2022’s 50 ‘Best’ businesses in California by UpCity
o  Named one of 2023’s 50 ‘Best’ businesses in California by UpCity
o  Named Best of IT Services winner by UpCity
o  Winner of Local Excellence Award for 2021, 2022 and 2023 by UpCity
o  Named Best of Cloud Consulting winner by UpCity
o  Certified as Top Managed Services Provider and Cybersecurity Pro by UpCity
o  Named Best IT in Los Angeles by

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