The information technology and information security industries are in a state of constant high alert. A series of new and advanced cybersecurity threats are being constantly unleashed by rogue elements. Hi-tech cyberattacks involve machine learning, AI, malware, phishing, and crypto technology. They place the critical data and assets of organizations and governments at high risk.
According to experts, the acute scarcity of cybersecurity professionals and experts has further aggravated the situation. They warn that the stakes are higher than ever.
Recent studies reveal an increased possibility of data disruption, distortion, and deterioration.
There is an over-dependence on poor connectivity, which creates the grounds for intentional internet outages leading to disruptions. Such developments can mean that hackers will use sophisticated tools such as ransomware to hijack the Internet of Things.
Distortion is achieved by the deliberate and planned spread of misinformation. Hackers often use bots and automated sources to achieve their nefarious goals. This results in a lack of trust in the integrity of information.
Some organizations are unable to control and secure their own information because of rapid advances in intelligent technologies. They also have to deal with conflicting demands posed by advancing national security and privacy regulations.
Let’s have a closer look at the most significant cybersecurity risks for data in 2022.
Phishing Becomes More Sophisticated
Phishing attacks carry out through cautiously directed digital messages. They lead people into clicking on a link. The click can introduce malware or provide easy access to sensitive data. Also, in recent years, phishing has become more sophisticated.
Not many employees are aware of email phishing or the high risk involved in clicking on links that appear suspicious. Likewise, hackers are raising the stakes by using machine learning and artificial intelligence to create and distribute fake messages that sound convincing. They use this modus operandi to gain entry into databases unlawfully.
Such attacks enable hackers to steal logins, credit card details, and other types of personal financial information. They can also gain access to private databases loaded with critical information.
Ransomware Strategies are Constantly Evolving
Businesses around the world lose billions of dollars to ransomware attacks every year. Hackers are constantly sharpening their cyber weapons to deploy technologies that literally lock up data. Plus, the affected organization loses all access to its database as hackers hold all of the information for ransom. Additionally, the rise of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin allows ransom demands in anonymous payments, making the job of hackers easier.
Companies are continuing their efforts to build more robust defenses to protect their data from ransomware breaches. That has not deterred hackers as they keep finding newer, more sophisticated ways of targeting businesses and high-net-worth individuals.
Cryptojacking – The Newest Threat
The cryptocurrency movement has affected cybersecurity in multiple ways. A major cybersecurity risk for data is cryptojacking, which is a cybercrime that’s catching up fast. Cybercriminals capture third-party home or work computers for the purpose of “mining.” Mining requires enormous amounts of computer processing power, which is an immensely expensive task. By surreptitiously piggybacking on other systems, they can mine BTCs and other currencies at zero cost. Businesses with crypto-jacked systems can suffer severe performance issues and costly downtime.
The cyber-physical attack is powered by the very technology used to streamline and automate critical infrastructure. So, this is the flip side of technology. This type of threat can result in hacking targeting electrical grids, water treatment facilities, transportation systems, etc.
The Internet of Things is becoming more pervasive with each passing day. The devices connected to the IoT are expected to reach a whopping 75 billion by 2025. Apart from laptops, tablets, and routers, these connected devices include other things. These are webcams, smart watches, medical equipment, automobiles, household appliances, and even home security systems.
Connected devices are helpful not only for consumers but for companies as well. They now use them to cut costs by collecting enormous volumes of insightful data. They also help streamline business processes. However, more connected devices indicate heightened cybersecurity risk. When hackers get control of IoT devices, they can run amok. The whole system can be held to ransom by overloading networks or locking down essential equipment.
Risk from Third Parties
Third parties associated with a business, such as contractors and vendors, pose a considerable risk. Additionally, most companies do not have a secure system or dedicated team to manage third-party employees. Nearly 60 percent of data breaches are believed to originate from a third party. Certainly, with cybercriminals using advanced features and tools, third-party vulnerability can become a massive threat to organizations.
Hackers are upgrading their technology continuously by exploring more sophisticated methods. Of late, they are also leveraging the power of psychology to dupe unsuspecting victims. They look closely for a weak link found in nearly all organizations, and that is human psychology. They use various media resources, including phone calls and social media, to trick people into providing access to sensitive information. These social engineers know how to exploit such weaknesses to get their hands on valuable data.
It is apparent from various research projects that cybercrime has become an epidemic of sorts. The frequency of cybercrime has escalated rapidly in recent years. Indeed, companies are struggling to hire qualified cybersecurity professionals to safeguard against the growing threat. That’s why it is hard to see this problem getting controlled in the near future.
The huge scarcity of trained and competent cybersecurity specialists is a cause of alarm. So, with a robust and digital workforce, companies seem at a better advantage to combat the sophisticated cybersecurity risks for data emanating from multiple resources.