In 2021 and 2022, cyber attacks against enterprises increased exponentially. Every day, Gmail blocks more than 100 million phishing emails. While previously, attacks were an occasional threat, in the last couple of years almost every corporation suffered a data breach or was subject to ransomware demands.
As organizations are speeding up their digital transformation journey, managing cybersecurity functions with potential resources has become crucial to safeguard against risks. Regardless of the size of an organization, attacks in 2022 have caused sleepless nights to many in the IT industry. Below are the threat trends that are likely to shape the cyber security industry in 2023;
- The rise in ransomware threats
In 2022, the same trends in ransomware unfolded and going forward, expect more of the same- with greater sophistication. The ransomware threat continues to grow and become more complex with each successive year and 2022 has been no exception. Here’s a quick overview of the 5 major attacks;
- Nvidia, the world’s largest semiconductor chip company was compromised by a ransomware attack in February, 2022. The company confirmed that the threat actor had started leaking employee credentials and proprietary information online.
- The attack on Costa Rica’s government has probably been the most talked-about attack in 2022 as it’s the first time a country declared a national emergency in response to a cyber-attack. The first ransomware attack on the nation began in early April and brought the ministry of finance to its knees, impacting not just government services but also the private sector engaged in import/export, according to Cyber Management Alliance.
- In September, Australia’s Optus suffered a data breach as a result of a cyber attack on the telecommunications company. Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said both current and former customers may have potentially been affected by the cyber attack. She added that the amount of people affected was “significant” but stopped short of revealing a specific number.
- Between February and March 2022, three Toyota suppliers were hacked, showing us that no matter how secure your organization may be, a determined threat actor can and will find a way to break in.
- When Toyota’s supplier, Kojima Industries, was hit by a cyber-attack (not necessarily a ransomware attack), the company had to halt operations in 14 of its Japanese plants. This hack is said to have caused a 5% dip in the company’s monthly production capability, according to reports.
- India’s airline SpiceJet faced an attempted ransomware attack earlier this year, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in several locations in the country.
- Using Automation to Counter?
All the above incidents point to the fact that one of the best ways to counter these attacks is embracing automation. Traditional restoration procedures following a ransomware attack are both costly and time consuming for organizations. Public sector organizations have become a favorite target for cybercriminals, due to the fact that their cybersecurity policies are outdated. Armed with automated botnets, hackers rummage through computer systems to locate “soft targets.” The demand for AI cybersecurity products is anticipated to be valued at close to $139 billion in 2030, according to Forbes.
In 2023 we will see organizations look to automation, via infrastructure as code (IaC), to reduce downtime, according to Christian Borst , EMEA CTO and Brian Neuhaus, CTO, Americas at Vectra AI. Through IaC, organizations can develop scripts that enable key infrastructure to self-heal so they can automatically return to action.
In other words, machine intelligence-based automated remote monitoring will be used to continuously detect fraudulent activities. These kinds of anomaly detection need to be adaptive, and requires a mix of human and machine intelligence.
- Greater adherence for ‘Zero Trust’ adoption
Companies globally are increasingly turning to digital ecosystems of partners, vendors, and even competitors to reimagine and grow their business. Ignoring the threats originating from these ecosystems represents a blind spot which needs to be addressed in an urgent manner. One way of reducing the probability of an attack within digital supply chains is to implement a ‘Zero Trust’ policy.
‘Zero Trust’ is a significant departure from traditional network security which followed the “trust but verify” method. The traditional approach automatically trusted users and endpoints within the organization’s perimeter, putting the organization at risk. ‘Zero Trust’ is applied to humans as well as machines.
As Tata Communications’ Amitabh Sarkar, Vice President & Head of Asia Pacific and Japan – Enterprise puts it: “Digital Trust” programmes will be one of the highest priorities of business leaders in Asia Pacific. Enterprise businesses must continue to build trust across their digital ecosystems.” What this means is maintaining the integrity and security of all transactions and data, being transparent about data privacy, and complying with regulations.
‘Zero Trust’ is a top cyber security priority for firms in the Asia Pacific over the next 12 – 18 months, with IT leaders considering it a vital aspect of their security strategies, according to a survey by BeyondTrust and iTNews Asia.
However, implementing Zero Trust remains a challenge in the face of constantly evolving threats, lack of security skills and stringent data privacy requirements. Further, managing and reducing risk will become even more complicated with remote working and the adoption of 5G and IoT.
This evolving landscape requires businesses to deploy an average of over 45 cybersecurity-related tools, increasing the complexity of their security and reducing its effectiveness. In July, a TCS survey said that only 16 percent of chief risk officers (CROs) and chief information security officers (CISOs) ranked digital ecosystems as a concern when assessing expected cyber targets.
Only 14 percent listed the risks from such ecosystems as the top priority arising out of board-level discussions. This attitude reflects where companies are in their zero trust journey.
Finally, as Zero Trust is expected to move beyond being a buzzword, it also opens up implementation challenges, as companies need to have all the links in their business chain secured.
- Cloud’s security issues
The shift from traditional client/server to ‘service-based’ models has transformed the computing landscape. However, cloud computing has also created new security vulnerabilities, including security issues whose full impacts are still emerging. According to a report from the Cloud Security Alliance released in February, outlined a dozen key threats:
- Data breaches
- Weak identity, credential and access management
- Insecure interfaces and APIs
- System and application vulnerability
- Account hijacking
- Malicious insiders
- Advanced persistent threats
- Data loss
- Insufficient due diligence
- Abuse and nefarious use of cloud services
- Denial of service
- Shared technology issues
- No chat show host again
When mapping out priorities between now and 2025, CISOs rank governance, strategy, and talent acquisition highly. Ranking highest is the prioritization of the security posture of the company and defining the controls and standards. Ranked second is establishing a more robust cybersecurity strategy, followed by investing in security talent acquisition and development.
A report from Frost & Sullivan and (ISC)2 pointed out that the global cybersecurity workforce fell short by 1.5 million unfilled positions in 2020.
In 2023, to address the security talent shortage, organizations have adopted automated security tools, which offer cost efficiencies. However, managing these tools requires specialized skills. While automation may solve the current security skills gap, it may create another one—by requiring a level of specialization that many security workers don’t currently have.
CIOs need a partner who can help them manage risks, simplify operational complexity, and ensure all customer data and interactions are secure and handled with trust. Organizations in the Asia Pacific will invest more in cybersecurity as cyber threats continue to rise. Supply chains and governments were the core targets of bad actors this year, so cybersecurity will continue to be a key focus for all organizations in 2023.
As organizations continue their digital transformation, new cyber risk concerns have emerged. Protecting this needs to be the priority for leaders looking to help their organizations adapt to these changes while continuing to innovate.