In today’s hyper-connected world, where the frequency and sophistication of cyber threats continue to rise, there’s a constant battle to protect sensitive data from devastating breaches. To stay ahead of the cybersecurity curve, organizations must take proactive measures and stay updated with industry knowledge.
This article discusses current cybersecurity trends and provides practical strategies to help you fortify your defenses, navigate emerging threats, and create a resilient cybersecurity framework.
The Ever-Changing Nature of Cyber Threats
Malicious actors use a variety of tactics, techniques, and tools to hack into sensitive information. While these hackers constantly innovate to launch their attacks, here are some of the top ways they penetrate security systems:
1. Social Engineering
Social engineering includes phishing attacks, where attackers send deceptive emails or messages that appear legitimate, tricking recipients into revealing their credentials or clicking on malicious links.
Attackers exploit human trust and exploit vulnerabilities in human behavior and use other forms such as:
Ransomware typically infects a system through various means, such as phishing emails, malicious downloads, exploit kits, or compromised websites. Once it gains access, the ransomware begins encrypting files, making them unreadable without the decryption key held by the attacker.
Usually, the attackers lock victims out of their systems until a ransom is paid. This encryption process often targets a wide range of file types to maximize the impact on the victim and uses the following:
3. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs)
APTs are sophisticated, targeted attacks typically associated with nation-state actors or well-funded cybercriminal groups. They involve a prolonged intrusion into a specific target, focusing on stealthy and persistent access to sensitive data or systems.
Attackers may employ custom malware, zero-day exploits, and advanced evasion techniques to bypass security controls and maintain long-term persistence within the target network.
4. Credential Stuffing
Attackers often exploit compromised usernames and passwords from one platform to gain unauthorized access to other accounts. They use automated tools to test stolen credentials across multiple websites or services, hoping that individuals reuse their passwords.
5. Zero-Day Exploits
Zero-day exploits target vulnerabilities in software or systems that are unknown to the vendor or have no available patch. Hackers actively search for these vulnerabilities and exploit them before they are discovered and fixed. Zero-day exploits can be used to gain:
- Unauthorized access
- Escalate privileges
- Deliver malware
6. Fileless Malware
Traditional malware often relies on malicious files that need to be downloaded and executed. However, fileless malware operates in memory or through legitimate system tools, making it harder to detect.
To execute malicious code directly in memory, bypassing traditional antivirus solutions, it leverages:
- Scripting languages
7. Supply Chain Attacks
Attackers recognize that targeting the supply chain can provide a way to compromise multiple organizations. By compromising a trusted vendor or supplier, they can inject malicious code or tamper with software updates, which then spreads to the customers or partners who use those products or services.
8. Exploitation of IoT Devices
As the number of IoT devices increases, attackers target inherent vulnerabilities present in these devices.
Compromised IoT devices can be used as entry points into home networks, corporate networks, or critical infrastructure. Attackers exploit these to gain unauthorized access:
- Weak default passwords
- Unpatched firmware
- Lack of security controls
Cybersecurity Trends for 2023
Knowing that there are countless ways for hackers to bypass your systems, know that there are multiple ways you can safeguard your data from malicious threats. Here are some of the top security measures you can implement for your data protection.
1. Threat Exposure Management
Instead of relying solely on reactive measures, organizations can proactively identify and resolve vulnerabilities, reducing the likelihood and impact of successful attacks. Threat exposure management leverages automation and AI-driven solutions to streamline vulnerability detection, analysis, and repair.
Gartner’s projection for 2026 suggests that organizations prioritizing security investments through a continuous exposure management program will face a significantly lower risk of breaches, safeguarding their system three times more than most.¹
2. Human-Centric Security Design
Humans are often the weakest link in cybersecurity. Despite technological advancements, there are vulnerabilities attackers can exploit, such as:
- Social engineering, phishing, and other manipulative tactics.
- Bring your own device (BYOD) policies and personal computers used for work.
- Clout services and internet-related office access and work.
Human-centered cybersecurity recognizes the need to secure these dynamic environments by implementing access controls, authentication mechanisms, and security measures that accommodate user flexibility and mobility.
3. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA)
With the rise of cloud services, remote work, and mobile devices, the traditional perimeter that trusted internal networks as secure is no longer effective. ZTNA embraces the idea that trust should be established through rigorous authentication and authorization mechanisms.
It provides a fine-tuned approach to granting control and access that focuses on verifying the identity and trustworthiness of users and devices regardless of location.
Gartner predicts that ZTNA will experience rapid growth as the fastest-growing network security approach, with a projected 31 percent increase in 2023. Furthermore, Gartner anticipates that ZTNA will completely replace VPNs by 2025.²
4. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE)
SASE is an emerging architectural framework that combines network security and wide area networking (WAN) capabilities into a single cloud-native service model.
The aim is to provide secure access to applications and data for distributed and remote users by integrating network security functions with cloud-based infrastructure.
5. Cybersecurity Validation
Breaches often occur due to misconfigurations or inadequate deployments. However, cybersecurity can identify these issues and promptly fix the problem, preventing attackers from exploiting them.
It ensures that systems and networks are continually assessed and tested for vulnerabilities, providing a proactive defense against emerging threats.
Additional Steps You Can Take to Stay Ahead of the Cybersecurity Curve
Aside from following initiating the current trends, here are some proactive measures you can take to stay ahead of the cybersecurity curve:
1. Continuous Employee Education and Training
It’s essential to keep your employees informed about the evolving cybersecurity threats and attack techniques.
Consider investing in regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs for all employees. This helps create a security-conscious culture, educating your staff about the latest threats and best practices and empowering them to make informed decisions to protect sensitive data.
2. Robust Risk Assessment and Management
Regular risk assessments allow you to identify and prioritize potential vulnerabilities and threats. This enables you to implement appropriate controls, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions about cybersecurity investments.
Risk management is an ongoing process that adapts to new threats and emerging technologies.
3. Strong Access Controls and Identity Management
Robust access controls can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized accesses and data breaches. These solutions manage user identities, access rights, and permissions, ensuring that only authorized individuals can access sensitive data and systems.
- Multi-factor authentication (MFA)
- The least privilege principle
- Privileged access management (PAM)
- Identity and access management (IAM)
4. Regular Security Assessments and Penetration Testing
By conducting regular security assessments and penetration testing, you can proactively identify vulnerabilities, weaknesses, and potential entry points in your systems and networks. Simulating real-world attack scenarios helps you identify and address security gaps before malicious actors exploit them.
5. Threat Intelligence and Information Sharing
Consider leveraging threat intelligence services, collaborating with industry peers, and participating in information-sharing initiatives. These can provide valuable insights into emerging threats and best practices for defense.
Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort that requires continuous learning, adaptation, and vigilance to stay ahead of evolving threats.
You may also want to consider engaging with cybersecurity experts or partnering with managed security service providers (MSSPs) for additional expertise and support.
STAY AHEAD OF THE CYBER SECURITY CURVE WITH MANAGED SERVICES FROM STRATEGIC SYSTEMS
Want scalable and flexible solutions which are not only tailored to your specific needs but allow you to focus on core business while you get your cybersecurity requirements handled?
Strategic Systems is the right place for you! From minor updates to complete end-to-end solutions, our proactive vulnerability management, regular patching, and compliance support ensure that your systems are fortified against potential breaches and align with industry standards.
Contact us today to learn how we can help navigate the complexities of the digital ecosystem and deliver secure application delivery.
1. “Gartner Identifies the Top Cybersecurity Trends for 2023.” Gartner, 12 Apr. 2023, www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/04-12-2023-gartner-identifies-the-top-cybersecurity-trends-for-2023.
2. MacGregor, Sandra. “Gartner: Zero Trust Will Replace Your VPN by 2025.” Data Center Knowledge, 19 Oct. 2022, https://www.datacenterknowledge.com/security/gartner-zero-trust-will-replace-your-vpn-2025.