The cyber threat is only getting bigger, both for businesses and citizens. Cybercrime groups often work in larger organisations or networks that enable them to carry out sophisticated and professional cyber attacks. Here's some advice on how you can strengthen your cyber security as a business in 2022.
Cyber trends in 2022
The cyber threat from ransomware is still on the rise
Ransomware attacks continue to be a huge threat. The European Union Cyber Security Agency observed a 150% increase in ransomware attacks in 2021 and expects this trend to continue in 2022.
The increase in ransomware attacks is due to the millions in ransom that the affected companies often end up paying. Cyber criminals reinvest some of that money to become more organized.
Security firm Kela, for example, discovered that hackers use analytics to determine the profile of the ideal "victim". Hackers are particularly interested in companies with at least $100 million (dollars) in revenue and that use VPNs, remote desktop protocols or tools from Citrix, Palo Alto Networks, Fortinet and Cisco.
In addition, cybercriminals have become greedier. They not only want money, but also threaten companies' reputations by exposing ransomware attacks or selling their business-critical data to competitors.
Therefore, organisations and businesses need to be better prepared when it comes to ransomware prevention.
Increase in attack opportunities
The amount of endpoints opens up new attack paths. Endpoints include anything that communicates back and forth with a network. Laptops, tablets, smartphones and other portable devices are all susceptible endpoints, along with IoT devices like security cameras, connected home appliances, voice assistants and many other things that consumers and businesses may not consider vulnerable.
A big problem is also that many of these use the same hardware to enable the connection, so a vulnerability can have a broad impact. There is likely to be an increase in attacks on IoT devices as a way to access networks, mine cryptocurrency or steal data.
According to US news media Threatpost, in the first six months of 2021 there was more than a 100% increase in cyber attacks targeting IoT devices in the US.
AI and machine learning systems can be both attacked and used to carry out attacks. Many organisations use AI to process large amounts of data, which is the primary target of most cybercriminals. In addition, AI and machine learning are also used for speech recognition, self-driving vehicles and online shopping. With so many areas using AI, this could create a huge increase in automated cyber attacks.
More attacks on AI systems are expected, such as hacking drones and self-driving vehicles. In addition, hacking AI systems can be used for political purposes, such as spreading misinformation.
Attacks on supply chains
Unfortunately, many companies have no, or imperfect, monitoring of the links in their supply chains. This is exploited by cyber criminals who find it relatively easy to attack companies via supply chains with malware, for example. In 2021, there were several major cyber attacks against supply chains - including Colonial Pipeline, SolarWinds and Kaseya. The latter was attacked by the ransomware group REvil, which managed to affect over 1,000 Kaseya customers and demanded a ransom of €460 million.
In 2022, more attacks are likely to occur on enterprise supply chains. This is likely to lead to several countries introducing new legislation to protect networks in both the private and public sectors.
5 steps to good IT security in 2022
Strengthen your IT systems
It is important that you as a business or organisation have the necessary IT systems and software in place to enhance your cyber security. As a company, you need to work very proactively to close gaps in your IT security.
It is important to have up-to-date and secure systems and make sure you are actively backing up data and storing it in a safe place. Test your systems regularly to make sure they are working optimally.
Use "zero-trust" methods
As cybersecurity becomes a growing concern, many organizations will shift to a zero-trust ("zero trust") network architecture. A zero-trust architecture is a security framework that always verifies each user, even if they are logged onto an enterprise network or LAN. It is ideal for remote working as it can secure communication between users, devices and applications.
"Zero trust" ensures the authentication and continuous validation of network usersbefore allowing them access to applications and data. Strong identity management, endpoint protection, encryption and continuous monitoring provide the foundation for a zero-trust environment.
The pandemic introduced new opportunities for cybercriminals to gain access to networks as employees quickly shifted to working from home and IT departments struggled to make network resources accessible outside the office walls.
Adopting a zero-trust architecture is a lengthy process and there is no single solution, but organizations must move quickly to implement access control policies and verifications that will protect valuable business-critical data and create strong network security.
Focus on employees
The weakest link in any company's cybersecurity is its employees. It is therefore important that companies, governments and public institutions focus on training their employees in cyber security awareness, also known as awareness training, when building network security.
Establish a cyber security culture in your company that gives your employees the knowledge and motivation to be constantly aware of cyber threats and make safe choices. Also, create security policies that explain how cyber threat management should work.
Music endpoint security
Endpoint security is becoming increasingly important. Protecting endpoints in your business, such as desktop and laptop devices in the workplace, is critical to preventing cyber threats.
Endpoint security can involve:
- Machine learning systems that can detect new threats
- Proactive web security systems and anti-virus software
- An integrated firewall that blocks network attacks even if they originate from your network using an endpoint
- Email gateways that block phishing that may target your employees
Another important aspect of endpoint security is once again ensuring that only authorised users have access to sensitive data.
Follow recommendations from Danish authorities
Every year, several companies and authorities analyse cyber security and cyber threats in Denmark and offer advice to Danish companies. Authorities such as the Centre for Cybersecurity and the Defence Intelligence Service can provide companies with the right tools to prevent and manage the crisis situations that can arise from cyber attacks.
They also conduct research in the field of cyber security and promote understanding of the critical risk that cyber threats pose to businesses.
Sofie Meyer is a copywriter and phishing aficionado here at Moxso. She has a master´s degree in Danish and a great interest in cybercrime, which resulted in a master thesis project on phishing.