Every year, without fail, we see a pronounced uptick in the number and sophistication of cyber threats as crooked, ‘evil technology’ continues to evolve. If Cybersecurity fails to evolve with it, businesses worldwide are doomed to catastrophe.

As we near the midpoint of 2024, organizations need to be aware of current and future cyber threats. Businesses of all sizes and sectors should plan accordingly. Many predictions from January still hold, but many have become much more nuanced.

Staying ahead of the curve is paramount to safeguarding digital assets. Significant changes are coming to the cybersecurity landscape. Driving these changes are emerging technologies and evolving threats. As well as shifting global dynamics.

What is the current threat landscape?

Let’s explore key those threats and how to protect yourself with some current predictions:

1) AI Is a Double-edged Sword

When it comes to all aspects of digital security, Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a game-changer.

The two edges of the sword:
1: AI has enabled faster and more accurate threat detection, response, and prevention.

2: AI also poses new risks such as adversarial AI, exploited vulnerabilities, and misinformation.

Malicious actors use chatbots and other LLMs (Large Language Models) to generate:

Convincing phishing emails

Fake news articles

Deepfake videos

Malicious content such as this can easily manipulate and deceive users. Organizations need to initiate robust security protocols including keeping a ‘human-in-the-loop’ approach as well as regularly tracking and reviewing their AI systems. These steps will help them mitigate these risks and harness the power of AI for a more secure future.

2) The Threat Posed by Quantum Computing Looms Ever Larger

Quantum computing is still a few years away from reaching its full potential but it exponentially gains steam and is already a serious threat to the security of current encryption standards.

Quantum computing can be used to potentially break asymmetric encryption algorithms. These wily algorithms are widely used to protect data in transit and at rest, but quantum-enabled hackers could compromise sensitive data, like financial transactions.

Every business needs to start preparing for this scenario by first assessing their potential risks and then, adopting quantum-resistant technologies and deploying quantum-safe architectures.

3) Hacktivism Will Rise in Prominence

As it sounds, Hacktivism is the use of hacking techniques to promote a political or social cause. Such as exposing corruption, protesting injustice, or supporting a movement.

Hacktivism has been around for decades, but it's expected to increase in 2024, particularly during a U.S election year. Another key arena is the palette of major global events we see unfold every day, including the Paris Olympics and specific geopolitical conflicts.

Included among the targets hacktivists may attack are governments, corporations, media outlets, or even appropriate sections of the supply chain. They will go after any entity that they perceive as an adversary or opponent, and those that support them. These attacks can disrupt their operations as well as leak their data or deface their websites.

Every type of organization needs to maintain vigilance against potential hacktivist attacks by being proactive in defending their networks, systems, and reputation.

4) Ransomware is Not Going Away – It’s Getting Bigger

As everyone should know by now, ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the victim's data and demands a ransom for its decryption. Ransomware has been one of the fastest growing and most damaging types of cyberattacks in recent years.

Ransomware attacks increased by more than 95% in 2023 from 2022.

There is no viable reason to believe that Ransomware attacks are going to do anything but continue increasing in the second half of 2024. New variants, tactics, and targets will continue to emerge, and we expect them to adopt more widespread use of AI to enhance their encryption algorithms, evade detection, and customize their ransom demands.

You can also expect hackers to up the ante on targeting cloud services, IoT devices, or industrial control systems. This would cause more disruption and damage. Organizations will need to put in place comprehensive ransomware prevention and response strategies. Including:

Backing up their data regularly

Patching their systems promptly

Using reliable email and DNS filtering solutions

Educating their users on how to avoid phishing emails

5) Cyber Insurance Will Be More Crucial Than Ever

Due to cyberattacks becoming more frequent and costly, Cyber insurance has become more popular and important in recent years since it covers the losses and liabilities resulting from cyberattacks.

Cyber insurance not only helps organizations recover from cyber incidents faster and more effectively, but it effectively caps the financial damage by providing monetary compensation, legal help, or technical support.

The requirements of cyber insurers influence the security practices of organizations. More insurers may impose certain requirements or standards on their customers, such as implementing specific security controls or frameworks. Organizations will need to balance the benefits and costs of cyber insurance as well as ensure that they are compliant with their cyber insurers' expectations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is AI truly autonomous?

In terms of easy tasks that can do no (or very little) damage, AI is certainly gaining some autonomy. Letting AI expand its autonomous duties any further is dangerous territory, and we have to be very, very careful. The distinction between autonomous and traditional AI systems lies in the level of independence and decision-making capacity. Traditional AI systems often require human guidance, with pre-programmed rules limiting their scope of operation.

What are the benefits of quantum computing?

At the top of the benefits list is the enormous speed advantage, which translates into faster decision-making, reduced time-to-market for products and services, and increased productivity across various industries. Quantum Computers can solve computational tasks in minutes or hours that would take classical computers days, weeks, or even years to complete.

Think of this in the hands of cybercriminals.

Which is an example of hacktivism?

Doxing is a big thing in Hacktivism: publicly exposing private information about individuals or organizations to harm their reputation or advance their cause. Another is Geobombing, a form of hacktivism where geographical locations are targeted to create a visual impact.

What does cyber insurance actually cover?

It depends on the coverages you seek and the policies you choose, but the key element of cyber Insurance is that it covers the customer’s cost as a result of security failures - from the actual system recovery to legal fees, fines and consumer liability. When choosing a supplemental policy, be very certain it covers you the way you expect.

How secure is your network?

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Be Proactive About Cybersecurity – Schedule an Assessment

It's clear that the security landscape will continue to evolve rapidly. Organizations and individuals must proactively prepare for emerging threats. This includes adopting advanced technologies and prioritizing workforce development as well as staying abreast of regulatory changes.

Put a comprehensive network security strategy in place. One that encompasses these predictions. This will help you navigate the digital frontier with resilience and vigilance.

Need help ensuring a secure and trustworthy digital environment for years to come? Contact us today to schedule a network and security assessment.