We live in the information age. Over the last two decades, new technologies have opened organizations up to a number of new avenues for growth and prosperity. Still, with all of these changes came a whole host of unique security challenges that threaten supply chains, vital infrastructure, as well as the personal information of clients and employees.
Cybersecurity is far from a new concept nowadays. However, we’ve entered a decade that has already brought upon major changes to how we interact with technology. Cloud computing is in full swing, used by a majority of businesses, at least to some extent. Artificial intelligence is delivering on the promise of a great leap forward in productivity, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices have already become ubiquitous despite only truly entering the mainstream towards the end of the 2010s.
What cybersecurity threats should organizations keep their eyes peeled for in the 2020s? Keep reading to find out.
Software Supply Chain Attacks
It’s quite obvious that most companies don’t use in-house-developed software. After all, it would take tremendous manpower and funding to create every program used within an organization from the ground up. Instead, businesses rely on software vendors to supply them with vital software that meets their day-to-day needs, thus creating the software supply chain.
Software products are developed with the intent of being sold to countless businesses around the world. Unsurprisingly, this makes software vendors a prime target for cybercriminals looking to gain access to valuable data from a number of high-profile targets.
When executing a software supply chain attack, a hacker accesses the vendor’s network and injects malicious code into their software, compromising the program before it’s sent out to clients. Once the infected product is activated by the vendor’s client, the criminal gains access to their sensitive data.
So, how can organizations protect themselves against this threat? According to experts from Sonatype, installing repository firewalls is the way to go. They can help both vendors and customers detect malicious packages, blocking them from entering their repositories.
Working in a cloud environment has become the preferred solution for small and medium businesses. It saves valuable storage space and removes the need for installing expensive on-site server infrastructure. On the other hand, handling sensitive data in the cloud leaves businesses open to a number of threats.
Criminals can exploit cloud vulnerabilities on the provider’s side to access all of their clients’ data. Even when working with a cloud provider that has impeccable infrastructure, organizations can face numerous risks that are unique to conducting their operations in the cloud.
For example, cybercriminals can obtain company employees’ cloud credentials through phishing messages or social engineering. Once they get their hands on the credentials, they’ll be privy to all of the company data the compromised employee has access to.
This is why cyclical, comprehensive cybersecurity training is so essential to implement at modern businesses. Many vulnerabilities arise out of the employees’ ignorance. Training them to recognize phishing emails and text messages and how to handle their credentials can go a long way in terms of creating a safe cloud environment.
Artificial intelligence has unlocked plenty of opportunities for growth in companies that previously didn’t have the resources or manpower to carry out certain tasks. Unfortunately, cybercriminals reap the exact same benefits from using AI in their schemes.
Hackers can now automate most of their attacks using algorithms. That includes the exploitation of vulnerabilities, targeting less-protected systems, and reconnaissance work. AI-powered attacks are capable of adapting themselves to the changes made in their target environment, making them all the more dangerous to businesses.
Even less-savvy cybercriminals can use AI to their advantage. Creating deepfakes is getting easier by the day. These digitally altered videos or voice recordings meant to impersonate an individual are a powerful social engineering tool.
Protecting your organization against AI-powered cyberattacks is a daunting task, even with an expert cybersecurity team at the ready. As it turns out, the best line of defense may be fighting fire with fire. Deploying AI to detect threats, expose deep fakes, and adapt to changes in malicious algorithms in real-time is a good way to ensure round-the-clock protection against this emerging threat.
Nowadays, we’re surrounded by Internet-enabled devices. Everything from watches through our cars, all the way to the fridge in your office’s break room, is likely to have a built-in capacity to go online and transmit copious amounts of data in a matter of seconds.
For all the convenience that the Internet of Things has delivered, it has also opened a whole new can of worms when it comes to cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Most IoT objects are low-cost and designed solely to collect and transmit data. As opposed to more sophisticated devices, like your smartphone or laptop, they lack the proper safeguards that protect your information.
Thus, even less experienced hackers can easily break into things like smart fridges or fitness bands. If connected to the office WiFi network, these devices present criminals with an easy way into your company’s network.
The rise of cryptocurrencies has been one of the most frequently discussed and heatedly debated topics in recent years. Unfortunately, they’ve also generated a lot of attention among cybercriminals.
Blocks of cryptocurrencies can be “mined” using a computer’s processing power. The process is quite heavy on the equipment and requires powerful hardware to be efficient.
Cryptojacking revolves around accessing the computers in an organization’s network and deploying a mining script that will verify and process transactions on the blockchain, creating new coins. Companies are prime targets for criminals because they usually have numerous computers connected to the same network, making the process more efficient and the script easier to deploy on more devices.
Of course, mining also comes at a cost. Due to the immense workload of cryptojacked devices and the fact that they usually operate day and night, an undetected cryptojacking attack that’s been active for a while will inevitably incur extremely high power bills for your organization.
Most cryptojacking attacks are carried out by way of phishing or social engineering. They’re the easiest way to obtain company credentials and tap into a business’s computer network.
The emerging cybersecurity threats outlined above are definitely cause for concern. However, it’s important to remember that organizations are not defenseless in the face of increased black hat activity.
Invest in your company’s cybersecurity to remain safe in the upcoming decade. Bringing on new experts or consultants, purchasing firewall software, and conducting regular employee training are all viable strategies that can boost your network’s safety. If possible, combine all of them to establish a durable and reliable line of defense.