Stay proactive to keep your organization safe
A lot has happened over this past year, and cybersecurity has been front and center for many. The President issued a few cyber-related executive orders, artificial intelligence (AI) has been the hot topic, and we've seen demand for cybersecurity roles increase. As the threat landscape evolves and cyberattack tactics get increasingly sophisticated, it’s more important than ever to look to the future and stay proactive against these rising threats.
Cybersecurity trends for 2024
As we look to 2024, we have several predictions. While it can seem challenging to narrow down, below are 7 cybersecurity trends that will be key in the coming year.
Cyberattacks will get better. We'll start to see more complex and elaborate methods. Cyber actors are already using AI to develop new tools and methods. WormGPT has provided a malicious alternative to ChatGPT, but without ethical boundaries to prevent malicious requests. Recent phishing attacks are already using more sophisticated language, making them harder to distinguish from other emails.
Threat actors will continue to become more menacing. Octo Tempest (also known as Scattered Spider) which Microsoft has called “one of the most dangerous financial criminal groups,” is a prime example.1 After their recent success with MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment in Las Vegas, Nevada, they continue to leverage a wide range of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) that other cyber criminals will look to emulate.
In addition, several threat actors will operate based on political or religious goals. We have already seen hacktivist groups operate on behalf of both sides of the fighting between Ukraine and Russia, as well as the Israel-Hamas conflict.2 We can expect to see this become more commonplace as other geo-political issues arise.
AI will create cybersecurity opportunities and risks. Generative AI can provide benefits such as better threat detection, automated incident response, and better enforcement of zero trust (even amongst remote workers).3
Gartner has predicted that in 2024, at least 50% of organizations will use AI-driven Security Operations Centers (SOCs).4 Many outsourced services that provide Managed Detection and Response (MDR) for organizations are leveraging AI. This allows for more enhanced threat-hunting and detection, as well as remediation of threats.
However, there are concerns that AI will create risks — not just by threat actors, but internal users too. Some experts believe that unsanctioned AI tools will become the new shadow IT, used outside the knowledge of, or protection through, security operations.
The federal government is already getting ahead of this prediction. The White House recently issued an executive order on safe, secure, and trustworthy artificial intelligence which outlines national objectives and standards for AI and cybersecurity.5
IOT and cloud: threats and security. With the prevalence of smartphones, smartwatches, and similar devices, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become part of our everyday lives. And while the future of electronic vehicles (EV) is still uncertain, they are on the road today. They open the doors for malicious actors to deploy malware, steal data, and even take control of these devices.
Additionally, organizations and individuals are using cloud platforms — Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Drobox, and Adobe Creative Cloud for example — for collaboration. Data is accessible from anywhere and replicated to prevent loss. While this adds flexibility, it also opens the risk of exposure. Cybersecurity experts will need to mitigate this risk without compromising the convenience these platforms offer.
Identity-based attacks and defenses. Along with IoT and cloud platforms, there will need to be a greater defense to protect user identity— usernames, domain names, email addresses, passwords, personal data, or digital certificates. Cyber criminals leverage these to masquerade as legitimate users to get unauthorized access to systems, data, and resources. Threat actors have used several tactics including phishing, credential stuffing, social engineering, and even finding ways to compromise multi-factor authentication (MFA).6
Even post-pandemic, we see increased work-from-home (WFH) availability. There has also been more adoption of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. This, coupled with greater organizational cloud migrations, can bring speed, innovation, and cost savings. But it can also introduce higher risks.
To address these issues, more organizations are turning to zero trust (ZT). According to the Cloud Security Alliance, “a ZT approach aims to reduce the success of cyberattacks and data breaches through risk-based access requirements, that is, by requiring authentication and authorization prior to granting access to resources (data and/or systems).”7
Closing the gap on talent shortages. There has been plenty of discussion on the shortage of experienced cyber professionals. Studies have outlined that the world needs 3.4 million cybersecurity experts to support the current economy.8 This is a global need that will require an effort between the private sector and governments.
According to CyberSeek, the national total of cybersecurity job openings has risen from 582,818 in 2021 to closing 2022 with 720,727 vacancies.9 Even with a 10.9% increase in the workforce from 1,000,702 to 1,102,311 nationally, the number of open needs has gone up.
Several organizations are looking to increase their talent pool by diversifying the workforce. One approach has been to open opportunities to neurodivergent individuals, many of whom have valuable traits, such as attention to detail, hyper-focus, and pattern recognition, and can thrive in cyber roles. Many of these organizations have adopted programs to integrate neurodivergent people into their workforce. Similarly, organizations are also looking to attract more women and minorities into these roles, developing initiatives to attract this talent.
While there are many entry-level candidates eager to fill cybersecurity roles, it takes time to provide on-the-job training. We should expect to see employers make the investment in building a stronger cyber workforce.
Growth of cybersecurity insurance. There has been a number of cyber breaches over the past few years, with more expected in the future. The latest study from the Ponemon Institute shows the global average cost of a data breach at $4.45 million.10 This was a 15% increase over the past three years. Organizations are looking for ways to transfer this risk.
Cybersecurity insurance is a growing market. According to the Insurer, current global premiums are valued at $11.9 billion, with the market reaching $29.2 billion by 2027.11 Insurers are looking towards risk selection and risk modeling to better understand and gain confidence with cyber risk.
Despite its growing popularity, cybersecurity insurance can be expensive, and this may deter organizations from seeking it out. However, improving your cybersecurity maturity posture may allow for better premiums.
Greater collaboration over competition. In 2013, General Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Association (NSA), delivered the keynote speech at Black Hat. He was heckled by several members of the audience. By the time of the 2023 Black Hat, the US Government has become both a welcomed and more active participant. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) had a strong presence, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced their AI Cyber Challenge to the community.
Cybersecurity collaboration has been a topic for a while, mostly within an organization, such as between internal audit and cyber. However, it is becoming more critical to have that collaboration between organizations. This breaks down the traditional competitive model. With a more collaborative approach, organizations can share expertise and knowledge to enhance their security posture.
Earlier in 2023, the White House released the National Cybersecurity Strategy. This includes enhancing public and private collaboration to better combat adversaries. It also discusses strengthening international partnership to pursue shared goals of a secure cyberspace. We should expect to see more of that in the coming year.
The above is certainly not an exhaustive list, but there are other experts providing many similar predictions for the coming year. The need to secure our most critical data and systems will remain top of mind.
Prepare for the future of cybersecurity
As your organization assesses the future of the cybersecurity landscape and begins to plan accordingly, it can be difficult to identify where to start. In many cases, a maturity assessment can help you identify your current state and help guide areas for growth and development. Once you’ve completed an assessment, develop a roadmap based on specific criteria that provides a framework for your cybersecurity improvements and optimizations. With these in place, you’ll be better suited to leverage best practices to improve your security posture and reduce your overall risk.
Selecting the right partners to help navigate the changing landscape will be key. At CAI, we take a proactive approach to preventing cybersecurity threats before they happen by assessing your current cybersecurity environment to find vulnerabilities and gaps. Then, we assist in cybersecurity assessment and management that includes threat detection, response, and post-breach remediation services.
To learn more about our cybersecurity services, contact us.
- Microsoft Incident Response, Microsoft Threat Intelligence. “Octo Tempest Crosses Boundaries to Facilitate Extortion, Encryption, and Destruction.” Microsoft Security Blog, October 25, 2023. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/security/blog/2023/10/25/octo-tempest-crosses-boundaries-to-facilitate-extortion-encryption-and-destruction/. ↩
- Scroxton, Alex. “What Are the Cyber Risks from the Latest Middle Eastern Conflict?: Computer Weekly.” ComputerWeekly.com, October 18, 2023. https://www.computerweekly.com/news/366555872/What-are-the-cyber-risks-from-the-latest-Middle-Eastern-conflict. ↩
- “Generative AI with Cybersecurity: Friend or Foe of Digital Transformation?” ISACA, October 16, 2023. https://www.isaca.org/resources/news-and-trends/industry-news/2023/generative-ai-with-cybersecurity-friend-or-foe-of-digital-transformation. ↩
- Candano, Beatriz M. “Gartner Top Eight Cybersecurity Predictions from 2023-2024.” LinkedIn, March 17, 1680. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/gartner-top-eight-cybersecurity-predictions-from-beatriz-m-candano/. ↩
- “Fact Sheet: President Biden Issues Executive Order on Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence.” The White House, October 30, 2023. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/10/30/fact-sheet-president-biden-issues-executive-order-on-safe-secure-and-trustworthy-artificial-intelligence/. ↩
- Poireault, Kevin. “Is MFA Enough to Protect You against Cyber-Attacks?” Infosecurity Magazine, October 17, 2023. https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news-features/cybermonth-mfa-enough-protect/. ↩
- “Zero Trust Principles and Guidance for Identity and Access.” CSA, July 13, 2023. https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/artifacts/zero-trust-principles-and-guidance-for-iam/. ↩
- “Here’s How to Address the Global Cybersecurity Skills Gap.” World Economic Forum, May 2, 2023. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/05/the-cybersecurity-skills-gap-is-a-real-threat-heres-how-to-address-it/. ↩
- “Cybersecurity Supply and Demand Heat Map.” Cybersecurity Supply and Demand Heat Map, 2023. https://www.cyberseek.org/heatmap.html. ↩
- “Cost of a Data Breach 2023.” IBM, 2023. https://www.ibm.com/reports/data-breach. ↩
- “Cyber Insurance: Overcoming the Risk Barriers and Moving Forward with Growth.” The Insurer, October 24, 2023. https://www.theinsurer.com/viewpoint/cyber-insurance-overcoming-the-risk-barriers-and-moving-forward-with-growth/. ↩