Unfortunately, us cybersecurity professionals do not need magical powers to look into the future when it comes to cyber incidents. Whatever the state of cybersecurity has been till now is a precursor to the scenario that will unfold over the months and years to come. We say ‘unfortunately’ because what we foresee is a little bleak. Why? Let us dive into the nature of our cybersecurity projections to understand.
Cybersecurity Projection #1: Attack Surfaces Will Continue to Expand
An attack surface is a set of points on the boundary of your digital ecosystem. More simply, it is the collection of all the different devices and users using the system from various remote and centralized locations. The more the number of variables in your attack surface, the more vulnerable you are to cyber risk. This is because you need to protect these many devices and users wherever they are operating from.
The major impetus to the sudden expansion of attack surface was the WFH culture imposed on us due to the pandemic. We shifted to working from home from our own devices on our own home networks. Now, these home networks and personal laptops / mobiles are not going to be as well protected as the devices and networks in your office environment, making you more susceptible to cyber-attacks.
Another contributing factor to the expansion of attack surface was the adoption of multi-cloud technologies. We have adjusted comfortably to the on-demand, always-on mode of accessing data and resources. However, cloud technologies are built to be flexible. A resource is made available only when it is requested, which changes the cloud architecture change dynamically to service your request. All of this is adding severe complexity to cybersecurity.
Possible solutions to these issues are the use of Zero Trust and Secure SD-WAN.
Cybersecurity Projection #2: Operational Technology Will Be Targeted More
Operational technology (OT) includes all the hardware and software that enable multiple devices of an ecosystem to communicate with each other. OT is a critical part of the boom of Internet of Things (IoT) as it manages the many devices that need to function with minimal human intervention.
IoT in turn plays a big role in the SMART automation that has become a hot trend of recent days. Several government and private sector are moving towards industrial automation. While this is a great leap of technology, securing OT from threats is a big hassle because they need to be in constant communication with your primary networks. Several cyber incidents have been successful because the hackers got to the main network via this operational technology.
One security practice that can assist in securing operational technology is to use even more stringent privilege-based access to primary networks, especially at the convergence of OT and IT. Zero trust will also be useful.
Cybersecurity Projection #3: Hackers will start Misusing AI
AI’s ability to mimic human behaviour will be a liability for security in the coming future. This is because hackers will use AI to launch successful social engineering attacks.
Also, AI is now being widely used to create content for business outreach. This knack of AI can very easily be used to create phishing pages and spoofed links that can fool even an experienced set of eyes.
Because AI has come so close to mirroring human behaviour, typical threat detection systems cannot make out bot or not. It will take a combination of human awareness, keen and diligent review of every digital interaction, and upscaling security services to combat this problem. Solutions like Cisco Email ATP are already implementing Talos Intelligence to introduce AI into the mix.
Threats are always going to be on the rise but…
You don’t have to fall prey to them. With proper edification and the adoption of the right technologies, you can stay protected from rising cyber threats.