Top cybersecurity trends to be on the lookout for in 2023

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Much like seasonal flu, cyber threats are constantly evolving every year. While the coronavirus curve has been, for the most part, flattened and more enterprises opened up their offices for on-premise employees, the number of cyberattacks continues to grow. Even last year, cyberattacks increased by 38% in 2022, compared to 2021.

Even without covid as a catalyst, businesses are still becoming more digital, leading to increased attacks. In this environment, cybersecurity is a real challenge, and both business managers and network administrators have a real head-scratcher on their hands. Here are our predictions on the cybersecurity trends for this year.

Cybersecurity is no longer an IT manager’s concern. It’s something that comes into play when making key business decisions. Data breaches can turn the business upside down with penalties and loss of customer trust. It’s a challenge that can come from outside and inside with improperly configured networks.

As digital transformation is becoming more prevalent among businesses, so does the increase of various threats. Here are the eight main cybersecurity trends shaping this year’s digital environment.

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Chat GPT-enforced attacks

Soon after OpenAI launched the intelligent chatbot ChatGPT, it was quickly revealed that it could do more than just form responses across many knowledge domains. Cybercriminals have already started to use this tool for building hacking tools, while scammers are gathering knowledge to build similar chatbots to use for impersonation.

While the publicly available ChatGPT-coded tools are quite rudimentary, it seems that it’s only a matter of time before hackers can turn the AI to their advantage. In general, the least of its contributions is that it lowers the entry threshold by being a huge help for novice malware developers. Even without coding assistance, it helps to write genuine-sounding phishing emails for hackers.

Although ChatGPT has various safeguards to prevent it from being used for exploitation, this is something that businesses should keep in mind. Artificial intelligence is going mainstream which levels the playing field for hackers and can put increased pressure on your cybersecurity plan.

Remote and hybrid employees risks

After the pandemic, businesses have settled with hybrid workforce models. In some cases, these models are relics of a period when the Covid-19 outbreak forced the digital transition. As this development had to happen very quickly and not interrupt business operations, this also meant that the security measures weren't always without gaps.

This blend of employees working on-premises, remote working contractors, and a wide variety of their used company-issued and personal devices makes it a colossal job to secure everything. For IT administrators, the attack surface is too huge to oversee everything that is happening. As data breach cases pile up, we’ll likely continue to see an increased interest in securing business networks and balancing them with workplace flexibility.

Automation of cybersecurity

As hackers themselves are starting to leverage AI for their exploits, it’s only natural that businesses should keep up. Data sources multiply exponentially, so automation is necessary to crunch numbers before humans can analyze them. This allows companies to get the best of both worlds and dramatically improve their cybersecurity status.

Various sources show that successful AI pairings can extend network visibility by up to 35%. These developments clearly show that AI has the potential to be a key component when transforming network security operations. Leveraging machine learning moves organizations forward and builds more sophisticated systems to withstand the most complex online threats.

International state-sponsored attacks

While state-sanctioned cyberattacks are nothing new, the ongoing war in Ukraine marked a turning point for a steep increase. Russia remains largely isolated from the rest of the Western world, and 64% of Russian hacking was directed directly at Ukraine. These are huge numbers, even without factoring in hacking attempts at their allies. Cyber espionage is escalating in other areas as the US recently shot down the Chinese surveillance balloon.

As all this is happening, a business can easily be caught in the crossfire. This makes private companies and critical infrastructure organizations prime targets for credential theft, vulnerability exploitation, or ransomware. In such a climate, not having a cybersecurity plan in place is a severe liability, and businesses will likely take action to address IT security shortcomings.

Building a security-aware culture

According to Verizon, 85% of breaches involve a human element, so investing in cybersecurity technologies but skimping on the workforce is missing the forest for the trees. In today’s climate, thinking that cybersecurity risks are a problem for the IT department can blow up when you least expect it. Every single employee must be aware of potential cyber risks and know how to deal with them.

In some cases, this may require building transparent information security policies. In others, security awareness training may be necessary. Security culture building will become a key factor in many organizations this year. As social engineering attack numbers aren’t subsiding, there’s no other way to combat these threats than through company culture.

Data breaches will continue to increase

Data breaches increase yearly more than they did the previous year, and this year will be no exception. Data is still one of the most valuable assets, and organizations still leave plenty of room for attackers to exploit gaps in the fence. Building a firm infrastructure isn’t cheap or simple, either, so most companies exist hoping they won’t be the next target.

This said prevention is much more effective (and cheaper) than settlements, lawsuits, and fines for data security violations. Yet, many businesses still rely on legacy software without any risk management policy and procedure updates. We can expect that more businesses will be caught off guard this year while others will try to learn from others’ mistakes rather than their own.

Global recession serves as a catalyst for hackers

As many experts are warning about economic downturns, this can catalyze cybercrime. Most cyberattacks are financially backed, so as the economy shrinks due to global geopolitical events like Russia’s war in Ukraine, this sends a shockwave throughout all spheres of life. Hacking, therefore, can become a lucrative option if a person has the skills and no other options to earn a living wage.

Hackers-for-hire, therefore, may emerge in search of easy money, which can have various devastating consequences for companies. While some might perform penetration tests or collect bug bounties, others may not be so ethical. This should be considered, especially in Europe, considering its geopolitical tensions.

Credential stealing will continue to rise

Various reports show that mobile device vulnerabilities targeting credentials are on the rise. Hackers know that employees use their IoT devices to access the company network. So these devices are user-managed. They tend to have quite more vulnerabilities that hackers could exploit.

What also helps hackers is that most systems are still protected with only passwords. It’s especially easy to crack such a setup when employees reuse the same passwords. A move towards passwordless or hardware identity tokens is happening slowly. This proves to be a lucrative opportunity for thieves. Some experts claim that we’ll also see more second-factor authentication exploits via SMS and push-based multi-factor authentication solutions this year.

Tips on how to prepare your business for 2023

To prepare for this year, companies should start with budgeting. The amount spent on cybersecurity in 2021 and 2022 should be a benchmark for the 2023 budget. It should also adjust according to how many significant changes occurred in the organization and the cybersecurity landscape.

Adjusting the cybersecurity budget according to your company size is also common. A rule of thumb is to allocate at least 10-20% of your total budget. Revising the budgeting plan as you go is always a good idea. Cybersecurity threats and landscape can change a lot throughout the year, so staying flexible is one of the methods to stay ahead of the curve.

How can NordLayer help to protect your business in 2023?

Most recent developments in cyberspace are relevant to every business as most of them will be affected by them. Organizations need trustworthy allies to deter cyber threats as the threats keep piling up.

A modern remote network access solution like NordLayer is developed to integrate threat, network, and security management centrally to provide an explicit range of issue-targeted features. Especially with the help of a convenient design that combines cloud-based platforms, data privacy protection, and access control security strategies. 

NordLayer covers security with a centralized control interface and product integration to existing infrastructure. It provides secure remote access solutions for hybrid environments and implements zero trust for distributed workforces conveying everything to the cloud environment.

Achieve a multilayered security protection network and data environment — secure your business in 2023 with NordLayer — reach out to talk more.

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