Cyber security threats in 2023

Column box-Integrity Initiative

Cybercriminals will be as in 2023 as ever. Are you ready?

Cyber security is still topping the list of our concerns. This comes as no surprise. In the first half of 2022, there were 2.8 billion worldwide malware attacks and 236.1 million ransomware attacks. By year end 2022, it is expected that 6 billion phishing attacks will have been launched.

Here are eight top security threats that we are likely to see in 2023:

1. Malware

Malware is malicious software that is injected into networks and systems with the intention of causing disruption to computers, servers, workstations and networks. Malware can extract confidential information, deny service and gain access to systems.

IT (Information Technology) departments need to use security software and firewalls to monitor and intercept malware before it gains entry to networks and systems; but malware bad actors continue to evolve ways to elude these defenses. That makes maintaining current updates to security software and firewalls essential.

2. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware. It blocks access to a system or threatens to publish proprietary information. Ransomware perpetrators demand that their victims pay them cash ransoms to unlock systems or return information.

Ransomware attacks are costly. They can damage company reputations. Often ransomware can enter a corporate network through a channel that is open with a vendor or a supplier that has weaker security on its network.

Companies must audit the security measures that their suppliers and vendors use to ensure that the end-to-end supply chain is secure.

3. Phishing

WE all have received suspicious e-mail, or worse, an email that appears to be legitimate and from a trusted party but isn’t. This email trickery is known as phishing.

Phishing is a major threat to companies because it is easy for unsuspecting employees to open bogus emails and unleash viruses. Employee training on how to recognize phony emails, report them and never open them can really help. IT should team with HR to ensure that sound email habits are taught.

4. IoT

IN 2020, 61 percent of companies were using IoT (Internet of Things), and this percentage continues to increase. With the expansion of IoT, security risks also grow. IoT vendors are notorious for implementing little to no security on their devices. IT can combat this threat by vetting IoT vendors upfront in the request for proposal process for security and by resetting IoT security defaults on devices so they conform to corporate standards.

5. Internal employees

Disgruntled employees can sabotage networks or take off with intellectual property and proprietary information; and employees who practice poor security habits can inadvertently share passwords and leave equipment unprotected. Companies must use social engineering audits to check how well employee security policies and procedures are working. In 2023, social engineering audits must be used so IT can check the robustness of its workforce security policies and practices.

6. Data poisoning

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to open up new possibilities for companies in every industry. Unfortunately, the bad actors know this too.

Cases of data poisoning in AI systems have started to appear. In a data poisoning, a malicious actor finds a way to inject corrupted data into an AI system that will skew the results of an AI inquiry, potentially returning an AI result to company decision makers that is false.

One way to protect against it is to continuously monitor your AI results. If you suddenly see a system trending significantly away from what it has revealed in the past, it’s time to look at the integrity of the data.

7. New technology

Organizations are adopting new technology like biometrics. These technologies yield enormous benefits, but they also introduce new security risks since IT has limited experience with them. One step IT can take is to carefully vet each new technology and its vendors before signing a purchase agreement.

8. Multi-layer security

How much security is enough? If you’ve firewalled your network, installed security monitoring and interception software, secured your servers, issued multi-factor identification sign-ons to employees and implemented data encryption, but you forgot to lock physical facilities containing servers or to install the latest security updates on smartphones, are you covered?

There are obviously many layers of security that IT must monitor. IT can tighten up security by creating a checklist for every security breach point in a workflow.

I hope that this cyber security threats survey that we unfortunately will face in 2023 are helpful, and that the actions that need to be taken, will help. Should you need assistance, I will get you in touch with experts; contact me at hjschumacher59@gmail.com

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