Cyberattacks are malicious processes that access, change or destroy sensitive information of individuals and organisations and Cybersecurity involves practices which aim to protect programs, networks and systems from Cyberattacks.
The following are the top areas of concern regarding Cybersecurity for 2024 as well as ways to mitigate the risks arising from them:
- The rise of Cloud computing
The term ‘’cloud’’ in information technology refers to a vast global network of remote servers and the software and databases which run on them. The Cloud operates as one ecosystem. The scalability, accessibility and reliability of cloud-based technologies has caused 74% of global enterprises to embrace them, but this has also meant greater risk because of cloud platform organizations that supply the infrastructure, services and resources needed to use cloud computing. The main threats arising from the use of cloud based technologies are limited visibility into network operations, compliance issues, data loss and data breaches, account hijacking and insider threats.
Ways to mitigate these threats involve using sophisticated and robust Authentication and Encryption methods, adopting multifactor authentication such as biometrics and Smart Cards to add multiple levels of security as well as regular security audits and real-time monitoring of systems, choosing reliable cloud service providers and complying with global legal and regulatory standards.
- The advent of 5G
5G refers to the enhanced 5th generation mobile broadband, which has helped in seamless connectivity across people and devices and resulted in higher network speeds. By 2025, there will be more than 3.5 billion 5G connections globally. 5G is connecting people, objects, and devices more seamlessly and frequently, along with higher network speeds, extremely low latency, and more reliable network performance. The main challenges arising from this though are software vulnerability, lack of in-built security, and data protection issues. Basically, more bandwidth in 5G networks means a higher possibility of attack pathways and faster attacks. Also, as critical infrastructure becomes more reliant on 5G technology, there’s a risk of fallout of essential services in case of system failures due to cyberattacks. One way to mitigate this is periodic risk assessments and continuous analysis of 5G use cases to reduce cybersecurity threats. Fuzz testing needs to be employed, which locates unidentified issues over network layers rather than fixing identified threats and issues. It is a form of vulnerability management and could be critical to enhance the security of 5G networks and connected devices. Technologies which allow remote and dedicated endpoint security solutions can also help monitor and respond to 5G security threats.
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT refers to devices which are nonstandard computing hardware, such as sensors, actuators, gadgets, appliances, or machines which can connect wirelessly to a network. The billions of IoT devices in use today means that the attack surface for cybercrime has increased manifold, as many of the IoT devices do not have built-in security and 98% of the network traffic from them is unencrypted. The possibility of IoT devices being shipped from factories with malware also exists.
In order to avoid these risks, stronger security needs to be implemented at the design stage of IoT devices and a Zero Trust cybersecurity stance needs to be adopted, ensuring that no device can access any resource that is not required for a specific purpose.
- Distributed Working
Ever since the pandemic, more and more employees are either working from home or operating in a hybrid work environment, which combines remote and on-site work and this trend may continue to grow. While this offers greater flexibility and productivity, the downside of it is the security risks stemming from the lack of cybersecurity training to employees, absence of antivirus software on official devices provided to them and the spike in Phishing emails. Organisations need to have a robust endpoint security policy that makes employees responsible. Minimum requirements need to be set for network connection from non-corporate devices and regular patch and vulnerability management need to be carried out for all devices connected to the network. Mandatory multi-factor authentication can prevent attacks even when security breaches happen through social engineering.
- The rise in Ransomware
Ransomware is a kind of malware which is used to demand ransom payments from individuals or organisations after locking users out of their own systems or encrypting their files. These two types of Ransomware are known as Locker Ransomware and Crypto Ransomware. New variants of Ransomware are now infecting shared, networked and cloud drives. The best possible defences against Ransomware are the installation of Antivirus software and Firewalls, Network Segmentation and email protection, ensuring Endpoint security, running frequent security tests, limiting user access rights and application whitelisting. Employees also need to be imparted Security awareness training.
- Automotive hacking
Automotive hacking is also on the rise because vehicles are now very technologically advanced and connected through IoT. Automotive hacking occurs when malicious attacks gain control of a vehicle because of vulnerabilities in software, communication systems such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and navigation systems.
In order to ensure security of vehicles, only automaker-approved software should be incorporated and the software needs to be continually monitored and upgraded. Password-protected accounts and effective Firewalls can restrict access to automotive data and limit communication authorization.
This sums up the main Cybersecurity concerns for 2024 and broad ways of mitigating the risks from them.