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It’s Christmas already? In lower than every week, 2023 will likely be within the rear-view mirror. This implies it’s not too early to look forward at what 2024 might convey for cybersecurity.
All through its historical past, the cybersecurity business has consistently reacted to attacker pivots in addition to operational actuality shifts, and the brand new 12 months will likely be no totally different. The cat-and-mouse recreation between attackers and defenders is bound to accentuate and grow to be extra advanced as newer applied sciences like AI and the cloud change the cybersecurity panorama.
Add different components, corresponding to extra aggressive authorities motion on cybersecurity dangers and the 2024 election, and the brand new 12 months is shaping up as significantly dynamic.
Listed here are 5 tendencies to count on within the coming 12 months.
1: The accelerating information explosion will pressure a safety technique rethink
The world has been speaking about exponential development in pc information for years, however actuality remains to be managing to exceed the hype. One report predicts that the quantity of knowledge a typical group must safe will soar by 42% within the subsequent 12 months and improve by a staggering 7X within the subsequent 5 years.
I consider there are two primary causes for this: the ever-increasing prevalence of data-generating digital units and surging adoption of AI programs that require large quantities of knowledge for his or her coaching and enchancment.
In in the present day’s multifaceted expertise panorama, enterprises face a brand new problem. Knowledge generated in software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs climbed 145% within the final 12 months, whereas cloud information was up 73%. By comparability, on-premise information facilities noticed a 20% rise. Oh — and don’t neglect somebody has to pay the cloud and SaaS payments, that are going up virtually as quick as the info is rising.
What this all means is that in 2024, organizations will face a stiffer problem in securing information throughout a quickly increasing and altering floor space.
That will likely be a significant cybersecurity focus for a lot of organizations subsequent 12 months. Extra will acknowledge that your complete safety assemble has shifted: It’s now not about defending particular person castles however moderately an interconnected caravan.
2: Attackers will broaden their assaults on virtualized infrastructure
As organizations develop extra refined in defending conventional targets corresponding to computer systems and cellular units, some unhealthy actors have already pivoted to attempting to penetrate different infrastructure elements corresponding to SaaS and Linux purposes, APIs and bare-metal hypervisors.
In a telling signal of the risk, VMWare warned earlier this 12 months that attackers exploited vulnerabilities in its ESXi hypervisor and elements to deploy ransomware. Different reviews in the course of the 12 months additionally confirmed that ESXi-related ransomware breaches are increasing.
Let’s not neglect: Attackers learn the information too. They’re largely a “follower” economic system that quickly pivots to recognized successes.
Lastly, these kind of assaults current many attacker benefits round velocity and scale for his or her intrusions. The expertise cuts each methods.
These applied sciences symbolize greenfield alternatives for attackers, and I believe we’ll hear extra about these sorts of incidents in 2024.
3: Edge units will develop as a goal for “boutique” hacker teams
In September, U.S. and Japanese authorities companies announced that hackers linked to the Folks’s Republic of China used stolen or weak administrative credentials to compromise Cisco routers with the set up of hard-to-detect backdoors for sustaining entry.
The disclosure exemplified an rising development we’ll see extra of within the new 12 months: Authorities intrusion teams viewing assaults on edge units as a solution to differentiate themselves from garden-variety ransomware gangs.
As a result of these sorts of intrusions take appreciable technological prowess, are sometimes troublesome to detect and might do a substantial amount of injury, they’re virtually undoubtedly a significant separator throughout cyber threats.
Edge units virtually definitely will likely be a significant cybersecurity battlefront in 2024 and can present a chance for hacker teams to indicate off their capabilities. There will likely be teams that may pull this off (and can). To push this prediction all the best way to the sting (pun meant), authorities applications could even “defend” this edge entry from different cybercrime teams and push them out to keep up their stealthy entry.
4: AI will dominate the cybersecurity dialog
Should you assume you haven’t already heard rather a lot about AI’s potential for cybersecurity, simply wait till 2024. AI will likely be entrance and heart in a variety of cybersecurity discussions.
Each attackers and defenders will step up their use of AI. The unhealthy guys will use it extra to generate malware, automate assaults and strengthen the effectiveness of social engineering campaigns. The nice guys will counter by incorporating machine studying (ML) algorithms, pure language processing (NLP) and different AI-based instruments into their cybersecurity methods.
In the meantime, the Brennan Heart for Justice calls 2024 the primary presidential election of the generative AI period. Candidates doubtless might want to deal with the “AI anxiety” that many citizens really feel. And, concern is rampant that the expertise might be used to spread disinformation via deepfakes and AI-generated voices.
I consider there may be virtually no state of affairs the place AI-driven deepfakes gained’t be a part of the pending U.S. Presidential election amongst others.
We’ll additionally hear extra concerning the function AI can play in fixing the persistent cybersecurity talent gap, with AI-powered programs taking on increasingly more of the routine operations in safety operations facilities.
With regards to cybersecurity in 2024, AI will likely be in every single place.
5: CISOs (and others) will really feel stress from latest authorities actions
In late October, the Securities and Trade Fee announced expenses in opposition to SolarWinds Company — which was focused by a Russian-backed hacking group in one of many worst cyber-espionage incidents in U.S. historical past in 2019 — and its chief data safety officer, Timothy G. Brown.
The grievance alleged that for greater than two years, SolarWinds and Brown defrauded buyers by overstating SolarWinds’ cybersecurity practices and understating or failing to reveal recognized dangers.
The fees got here almost six months after a choose sentenced Joseph Sullivan, the previous CISO at Uber, to 3 years of probation and ordered him to pay a $50,000 effective after a jury discovered him responsible of two felonies. Sullivan had been charged with protecting up a ransomware assault whereas Uber was underneath investigation by the Federal Commerce Fee for earlier lapses in information safety.
However many critics of the decision have questioned why Sullivan might be held criminally chargeable for negotiating a deal to repay the ransomware attackers to guard his firm’s fame.
On prime of all that, new SEC rules on cybersecurity and disclosure of breaches took impact Dec. 15. They require private and non-private firms to adjust to quite a few incident reporting and governance disclosure necessities.
All of it will have CISOs wanting over their shoulder in 2024. As if defending their organizations from unhealthy actors wasn’t difficult sufficient, now they must pay extra consideration to documenting completely every thing. The CISO function will tackle a heavier regulatory compliance taste.
Your entire C-suite will even doubtless should recalibrate their personal/public sector discussions in 2024.
Together with the factors above and their ripple results into different peer positions, the geopolitical panorama is altering. The final three years have proven unparalleled interplay and advocacy for working throughout personal and public divides. These are due largely to goodwill created from the community-wide SolarWinds response efforts and near-universal assist for Ukrainian cyber efforts.
SolarWinds and the SEC will shift the previous level — and the Israel-Hamas battle is much extra divisive than the Russian invasion of Ukraine. All of this will likely result in a demonstrable shift in how senior leaders communicate of, and with, governments.
As these 5 predictions present, 2024 ought to be an particularly attention-grabbing 12 months within the cybersecurity area. The brand new 12 months is upon us, and I’m buckling up for the journey.
Steven Stone is head of Rubrik Zero Labs at zero belief information safety firm Rubrik.