Cybersecurity in 2024: Trends and Predictions

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With 2024 in full swing, it’s a good time to assess the trends we already see developing—and what to expect as the year unfolds.

The amazing advances we’ve seen in AI, machine learning, and other fields will continue, leading to broader and more enhanced cybersecurity, along with tighter regulation of the cybersphere generally. Unfortunately, cybercriminals will also be upping their game, so the security sector will need to work hard to keep up.

According to Cyberint, 2023 was the most successful year yet for ransomware gangs. In the fourth quarter alone, 1,154 ransomware events were reported worldwide. In other words, business is booming in the cybercrime sector. We should expect the bad actors to keep doing what works—and to relentlessly raise the sophistication of their operations.

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5 Predictions for the Cybercrime Industry

  1. Like their adversaries in the cybersecurity field, cybercriminals will increasingly use AI and machine learning to refine their attacks.
  2. Ransomware will evolve, targeting larger organizations and critical infrastructure with more complex and covert methods.
  3. Criminals will increasingly launch “double extortion” attacks—encrypting data and holding it for ransom while threatening to leak it if the ransoms aren’t paid.
  4. Phishing attacks will become more sophisticated. AI-generated content will be used to create convincing emails and websites, and attackers will leverage data from social media to tailor attacks to individual targets.
  5. Supply chains will be targeted more frequently as attackers exploit vulnerabilities in interconnected business networks.

As Connectivity Expands, So Will Vulnerability

Everything in our world is becoming increasingly interconnected. That creates a wealth of new opportunities for cybercriminals. In 2024, three ongoing trends will contribute to the vulnerability of organizations large and small:

Expansion of 5G networks. The speed and convenience of today’s 5G networks benefit businesses, governments, and organizations of all types. Those same qualities make them attractive to hackers. They can launch their attacks quickly and efficiently, reaching huge numbers of potential targets.

Expanded use of the Internet of Things (IoT). Every connected device, from security cameras to automated checkout systems, offers a potential portal of entry for hackers. Many of these devices are not adequately protected, and cybercriminals know this.

The trend toward remote work. Responsible companies devote significant resources to the security of their on‑site computer systems. But those same companies often have employees or contractors who work from home. The personal devices of remote workers are typically less protected, and therefore, offer tempting targets for hackers. Workers may intermingle business and personal activities on the same device, making it even easier for bad actors to access important data. And if a worker allows a child to use the same computer, the risk of exposure increases dramatically.

5 Predictions for Cybersecurity:

  1. Responsible organizations will implement advanced security measures to protect their 5G networks and all connected devices from sophisticated attacks. They will also focus on securing their supply chains and vetting third-party vendors.
  2. Smart companies will formulate response plans, training employees to act effectively in the event of cyberattacks.
  3. Zero Trust security architecture will be adopted more widely. This model requires strict identity verification for all persons and devices seeking access to a private network.
  4. Cybersecurity teams will rely increasingly on AI and machine learning to protect their systems, employees, and customers. The ability of these technologies to analyze huge datasets will help security professionals identify unusual patterns, predict attacks, and automate responses. Teams will also be able to identify new threats faster and quickly formulate efficient response strategies.
  5. Cloud security will become a priority, as organizations rely increasingly on cloud services for data storage. Demand for stronger encryption methods, improved identity, and access management will increase. Specialized tools for securing multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud environments will also be required.

3 Predictions for the Regulatory Environment

Governments worldwide have recognized cybersecurity as an urgent priority, on par with anti‑terrorism protection. The European Union was an early actor in this sphere, enacting the General Data Protection Regulation in 2016.

In the US, the California Consumer Privacy Act was enacted in 2018. At this writing, twelve more states have enacted similar legislation to protect the privacy of consumer data: Oregon, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Another sixteen have similar legislation in process.

As a result of this rising awareness, here are three things to expect in 2024:

  • Privacy regulations will increase worldwide.
  • Data protection laws will be more strictly enforced.
  • Companies will need to invest more in compliance measures to avoid penalties and protect customer data.

The increasing incidence and sophistication of cybercrime will stretch the resources and imagination of most organizations in 2024. However, today’s tools allow them to defend effectively against these threats. Adapting quickly to the ever-evolving trends will help organizations protect their assets, employees, customers, and the general public in 2024 and beyond.

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