Introduction

Cyber threats are becoming more and more sophisticated compared with previous years in response to increased mitigation measures and changes in the tech industry (AI, automation, cybersecurity), thus presenting new challenges and risks to organisations.

It is vital to understand these threats and the measures that should be taken for prevention and  detection as a way to protect the business, staff, partners, and customers against their data and information being irresponsibly accessed, stolen, and leveraged.

This POV will highlight cybersecurity trends that organisations should look out for in 2024.
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5 Trends to Look Out For in 2024

As technological innovation progresses at a rapid pace, so does cybercrime. Organisations should be aware of the threats to their digital assets as their digital footprint and attack surfaces broaden in the year ahead.

Data Protection and Security Regulation

As technology advances and new attack surfaces and risks arise, governments and industry regulators attempt to regulate and govern the landscape. Multiple regulations have been implemented over the years to combat and clamp down on responsibility for protecting data, including GDPR, SOX, and ISO27001.

Newer regulations such as the Network and Information Systems Directive (NIS2) are expanding the baseline for cybersecurity risk management, with members needing to incorporate provisions by the end of 2025 both in the EU and the UK.

NIS2 regulation holds organisations accountable for implementing technical and organisational security measures, keeping up to date with cybersecurity training, ensuring risk assessments are carried out, and that all risks are managed appropriately.

New data privacy regulations place a greater responsibility on organisations to secure user and customer data. Regulatory non-compliance results in reputational damage and large fines, even if data is not stolen or breached. Organisations should invest in robust data protection tools including access controls, encryption, and other data management practices to ensure they are not at a higher chance of a data breach or non-compliance.

DORA

The Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) is a regulation specific to the Financial Services that seeks to improve the operational resilience of digital infrastructures and services within the industry.

The regulation includes addressing ICT risk management practices and governance to provide visibility of financial entities ICT systems. The regulation requires to organisations conduct continuous risk assessments, document steps to mitigate any risk identified, and document and classify cyberthreats. Organisations must also establish systems to report, monitor, and manage ICT related incidents. It further ensures that organisations test their ICT systems regularly to identify vulnerabilities and evaluate the strength of the protections used.

Organisations should be working to invest in tools and processes that will ensure compliance, lower risk of cyber-attacks, and harmonise security practices to keep data safe.

EU Data Act

The EU Data Act is a regulation that focuses on enabling a fair distribution of the value of data by establishing fair and clear rules for using and accessing said data. Connected products, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, will need to be designed and manufactured to ensure ease of use, provide secure access, and share the generated data safely. The Act applies to organisations that provide and manufacture connected products (IoT devices), data holders that make the data available in the EU, businesses providing data processing services to customers in the EU and more. Therefore, organisations need to start implementing risk management and tooling that will ensure compliance and secure data management.

EUCS

The EU Cyber Security Act is an EU-wide cybersecurity certification framework for ICT services, products and processes. Certifications like this will provide organisations with a comprehensive set of standards, technical requirements, and procedures to follow. This will provide evidence that ICT products and services are compliant and businesses can be assured that the product or service is secure.

Implementing certifications like the EUCS will allow organisations to build reputation and trust with customers who want to ensure that the services provided are keeping their data safe.

Cybersecurity Skills Gap

A 2023 study of 1,855 organisations found a struggle to recruit and retain cybersecurity talent in resulting in a skills shortage. Particularly hard to find skills include security operations, cloud security, and network security. This has hindered organisations in achieving their cybersecurity objectives as they haven’t the people to implement and maintain the desired security services.

68% of organisations in the study share that this skills gap has created additional risk to their business.

The lack of cybersecurity skills available to businesses means there cannot be the level of ongoing procedure required to maintain awareness of vulnerabilities and attack vectors. When breaches and attacks do occur, there is likely to be increased time to identify and contain due to the lack of resource capacity to focus on the issue without jeopardising day-to-day operations.

To minimise this challenge, organisations can look to hire and retain talent with an eagerness to learn new skills, as well as leveraging automation and other technologies to streamline processes alongside these security professionals. Organisations can also look to outsource their security needs to cybersecurity companies that specialise in providing these hard-to-find skills on an ad-hoc basis to keep costs controlled with the knowledge they have the resources available when required.

On top of the need for technical security skills, other department employees also have a responsibility to be resilient and understand the implications of cyber threats; taking their own steps to mitigate risks for the safety of wider company. This starts with educating staff on potential attack vectors such as compromised credentials, ransomware and phishing attacks, and physical security (e.g., leaving paperwork or devices open in the office).

AI: a Double Agent

Businesses must actively mitigate risks that endanger their data and keep up with new cybersecurity trends.

As AI is increasingly used and becoming more sophisticated, so are the cyber-attacks that leverage AI. Hackers use adaptive technology to attack organisations through tactics such as deepfake social engineering that spread misinformation through hyperreal content, automated malware that adapts to stay undetected, and AI generated phishing emails that deceive users.

At the same time, on the defence, AI can be utilised to detect and neutralise threats with real time anomaly detection, automated incident response, and smart authentication capabilities.

Cybersecurity monitoring can be automated with AI, which increases an organisation’s threat intelligence capabilities and reduces the time of identify threats. As AI continuously learns, it can pick up on and identify new forms of cyberattack and how they are blocked.

Implementing AI for the purpose of providing cybersecurity offers a wide range of benefits including AI’s capability of ongoing learning as it learns from new data, discovering unknown threats, and rapid detection of untrusted data and files.

Increased Zero Trust Adoption

Zero Trust is a principle that requires strict identity verification of all devices and users, meaning no one is trusted by default.

The adoption of this model looks to expand in 2024 as organisations understand the need to enhance security and protect sensitive data, especially with the continuation of remote working and distributed/decentralised computing systems.

The main benefit of using a zero-trust approach is the reduction in the likelihood of the initial attack vector being stolen credentials, which, at 15% of breaches, was found to be the second highest cause of data breaches in 2023.

The use of multi-factor authentication to access business and personal accounts reduces the ability to access an account using only the stolen credentials, minimising the risk from this vector.

cost of data breach by attack vector

Figure 1; Cost and frequency of a data breach by initial attack vector

Applying zero-trust within an organisation will add another layer of security thanks to the continuous monitoring and validation, device access control, least privilege access, and multifactor authentication. If not in place already, organisations should prioritise implementing identity and access management controls to strengthen their cybersecurity defences.

Cloud Jacking and Misconfiguration

With the increase of cloud adoption seen with cloud-first initiatives and strategies, companies are ultimately adjusting their data access to be available from any device. Attackers can take advantage of this.

Cloud jacking occurs when an attacker hijacks cloud accounts, exploiting vulnerabilities to steal data or disrupt services. Misconfiguration and compromised user credentials are popular ways attackers gain access to an organisation’s cloud.

Organisations can work to prevent breaches through two factor authentication, using the rule of least privilege and use cloud security tools such as IBM Randori and IBM Guardium to reduce risk of cloud jacking. Tools like these will be able to monitor logins, look for anomalies and scan attack surfaces to minimise risk.

Conclusion

These are just some of the trends that will be seen within cybersecurity in 2024, both from an attack and defence perspective. The ability to develop cybersecurity best practices, increase cyber resilience, and procure the right tools and services should be a priority for organisations in 2024.

With the ever evolving digital and cybersecurity landscape, companies must understand the risks emerging from their new technologies and be equipped with the knowledge, understanding, and strategy to mitigate risks. These risks include (but aren’t limited to) cloud jacking, AI attackers, and regulatory non-compliance.

Various steps can be taken to battle these emerging trends, such as using robust data protection tools, cybersecurity training for all staff, the automation of security processes, and setting strict and consistent user access controls.

Responsiv Security

Responsiv has a wealth of security skills in tools such as the Responsiv Cloud Security Service, IBM Randori, and IBM Guardium to help keep businesses secure in 2024. Responsiv Consultants partner with your teams to understand and configure a solution that fits your cybersecurity needs.

With deep understanding of cybersecurity, we can work together to implement solutions into your IT landscape to reduce vulnerabilities across your organisation.

Get in touch today to find out how Responsiv can support your cybersecurity journey in 2024!

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