Experts predict the cyber threat landscape in 2024 will change even more dramatically in response to evolving technological innovations than in previous years. This post explores some of the most prominent cybersecurity predictions for 2024 and the steps organizations can take to protect their assets against them.
1. Shifting Cybercrime Tactics
Innovation is often a double-edged sword. As technological developments ramp up each year, cybercriminals will rapidly change their tactics to exploit new vulnerabilities before developers can release the appropriate patches.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become a buzzword in the cybersecurity landscape, and it will only become more prevalent in 2024. Because machine learning (ML) allows AI programs to adapt automatically based on previous inputs, hackers can use ML and AI to create attack vectors that are more difficult to eliminate using existing methods.
Hackers can also use generative AI and ML to produce and proofread malicious code rapidly, allowing them to launch increasingly sophisticated attacks at higher volumes than ever before.
Phishing and Social Engineering
With the rise of large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, social engineering attacks such as phishing are becoming even more pernicious threats. Thanks to natural language processing (NLP), which enables an AI to understand and properly respond to human language, an LLM can produce incredibly convincing phishing emails free of typical giveaways like typos and awkward phrasing.
Malware attacks are usually part of a larger phishing scam, where the hacker tricks employees at your organization into clicking on a malicious link that automatically downloads a virus onto their computer.
Zero-click malware is a new type of attack that eliminates the need for user interaction. It can infiltrate your system through various attack vectors — including vulnerabilities in legitimate applications — and execute its code in the background. Users don’t know the computer or network has been compromised until it’s too late.
2. Rise in Ransomware Threats
In 2024, ransomware will likely remain one of the top cybersecurity threats in business across all industries. Ransomware is a specific type of malware that automatically encrypts your files or software systems until you pay a ransom to the attackers. In previous years, losing access to local storage would incapacitate an organization, resulting in thousands or even millions of dollars lost and debilitating reputational damage.
Notably, ransomware tactics have changed in recent years as companies have begun investing in robust backup- and disaster-recovery-as-a-service solutions (BaaS and DRaaS, respectively). Companies can now afford not to pay the ransom because they can get their data back from their existing backups.
In response, hackers are finding new ways to pressure their victims into paying. Double extortion — also known as extortionware — is a ransomware variant that threatens to release the hostage information to the public if the victim does not meet the attacker’s demands. It’s significantly more effective than traditional ransomware, and businesses must learn new ways to respond.
Preparing for a ransomware attack is a matter of “when,” not “if.” Organizations need to remain agile to prepare for the worst-case scenario.
3. Exploitation of New Technologies
Organizations are sure to see the impact of new technologies on cybersecurity within the next year as cybercriminals find ways to turn new advancements into devastating attack vectors. Some examples include:
- 5G: 5G networks can handle billions of connected devices at even faster speeds than 4G connections. However, this growth gives hackers more opportunities to exploit supply chain vulnerabilities.
- Internet of Things (IoT): Although IoT infrastructure unlocks exciting opportunities for data collection, the rapidly growing network of internet-connected devices greatly expands an organization’s attack surface.
- Quantum computing: While still in its infancy, quantum computing can handle tasks that are too complex for most traditional computers — such as breaking into encrypted files. Quantum-resistant encryption algorithms will become critical for protecting against such attacks.
4. Regulatory Compliance and Legal Considerations
As new threats emerge, we’ll see substantial updates to cybersecurity regulations beginning in 2024. Specific compliance requirements will vary by jurisdiction and industry. For example, healthcare organizations will likely see updates to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, and financial institutions may see new additions to PCI DSS.
Regardless, such standards will become significantly more complex. Cybersecurity professionals and IT departments must keep up with these evolving regulations to remain compliant. For many sectors, this process may require developing new strategies for effective data management.
How Businesses Can Stay Secure
Cybercrime is always changing, which is why a proactive stance toward cybersecurity is key. Organizations of all sizes and industries must stay updated with the ever-changing threat landscape to protect themselves against new and evolving threats.
Organizations should be aware of these cybersecurity concepts:
- Security by design: A system that is secure by design prioritizes cybersecurity on the same level as other critical features, significantly reducing the number of potential exploits before making it publicly available.
- Zero-trust architecture: Zero-trust systems grant access based on individual roles and identities rather than a user’s belonging to the organization, significantly reducing the risk of internal threats.
- Automated technologies: Automated threat detection and response technologies can save your organization valuable time in identifying and eliminating threats from your system.
- AI and ML: An AI and ML-enhanced system can learn from the new threats it encounters and automatically adjust its responses in real time, letting your organization quickly adapt to changes within the cybersecurity landscape.
- Cross-industry collaboration: Sharing cybersecurity information across sectors is essential for developing the most accurate understanding of new threats and their methods of operation — which will become vital for protecting national security over the coming years.
Protect Your Organization in 2024 and Beyond With Morefield
With such dramatic changes coming down the pipeline, it’s clear organizations will need to invest more in cybersecurity initiatives. A holistic, proactive approach to cybersecurity is essential for the most effective protection — but for companies without sufficient staff or IT resources, building this kind of strategy is difficult at best.
Working with a managed service provider (MSP) like Morefield provides the resources your company needs for a robust cybersecurity framework. We offer a wide range of cybersecurity solutions, including system assessments, vCISO services and cyber awareness training so you can strengthen your cybersecurity posture without making significant investments in labor or technology yourself.
Contact us today for more information on our managed cybersecurity services for companies in Central Pennsylvania.