Cybersecurity predictions 2024: The rapid advancement of technology in recent years has brought us incredible conveniences and opportunities and sophisticated and increasingly complex cybersecurity threats. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to anticipate and understand the potential cybersecurity challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Let’s take a look at our top cyber trends that we expect to emerge during this new year.
Passwordless authentication takes centre stage
The adoption of passwordless authentication is set to accelerate in 2024. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is poised to become a standard requirement for most online services and applications. Traditional methods like SMS-based MFA will give way to more secure options, such as time-based one-time passwords (TOTP) generated by authenticator apps. The move towards passwordless authentication will continue, reducing reliance on traditional passwords. Innovative methods like passkeys, biometrics, hardware tokens, and public-key cryptography will either replace or supplement passwords for accessing accounts and systems.
Moreover, organisations recognise that passwords alone are not sufficiently secure, especially with the prevalence of data breaches and credential-stuffing attacks. CrowdStrike’s August 2023 Threat Hunting report showed that identity theft had established itself as the primary initial access method for threat actors in 2023, with 80% of breaches now involving the use of compromised identities. Therefore, the shift towards passwordless authentication enhances security while simplifying the user login process. This transition is expected to lead to a safer and more user-friendly digital environment.
Cybersecurity priority for law firms
The legal industry will prioritise cybersecurity more than ever before in 2024. A substantial number of law firms have reported data breaches, reflecting the increasing recognition of cybersecurity realities. Law firms will focus on scaling detection and response capabilities, particularly in evaluating and optimising their detection posture. Enhancing threat detection coverage for sensitive internal and client data while reducing risks for systems integral to their operations will be a key area of emphasis.
Law firms deal with highly sensitive information, and the legal profession’s digital transformation has expanded the attack surface, making them attractive targets for cybercriminals. The improvement of threat detection, client data protection, and secure document and file sharing will be vital to safeguarding confidential information.
AI and Large Language Models (LLMs) redefine threats
Cyber attackers are becoming more sophisticated, harnessing AI and LLMs to craft highly convincing and targeted phishing and Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. Personal information sourced from the Dark Web, social media platforms like LinkedIn, and other internet sources enable cybercriminals to create detailed and convincing personal profiles. The use of trusted services like Outlook.com or Gmail adds credibility to these attacks.
In 2024, we can also expect a rise in 3D attacks incorporating text, voice, and video elements. Deep fakes and impersonations of celebrities and executives will become more realistic. Attackers will leverage AI to impersonate trusted contacts, making 3D phishing and social engineering a significant concern. AI-driven attacks are expected to become more nuanced and adaptive, making them challenging to detect. Organisations must invest in advanced threat detection and response solutions to counter these evolving threats effectively.
Generative AI and endpoint compromises
Generative AI will play a pivotal role in making phishing lures harder to detect, resulting in more endpoint compromises. Attackers will automate the creation of zero-day exploits using machine learning, making their use more widespread in the wild. Additionally, the industry will witness the rise of ‘AI PCs,’ which will revolutionize user-device interactions. While AI-powered devices will enhance user experiences, they will also become higher-risk targets for threat actors.
The automation of attack techniques by generative AI poses a significant challenge to cybersecurity professionals. As attackers increasingly rely on AI-driven tactics, organizations will need to deploy advanced security solutions capable of identifying and mitigating these threats.
Skills crisis and endpoint protection
The cybersecurity industry is facing a skills crisis, with a record number of open vacancies. Organizations will be forced to do more with less while protecting against both known and unknown threats. Strong endpoint protection that aligns with Zero Trust principles will be essential for safeguarding sensitive data in this new age of AI.
The skills shortage in cybersecurity is a growing concern. Organizations will need to invest in training programs and technologies that enable them to maximize the effectiveness of their existing cybersecurity teams. Zero Trust security models will become increasingly important in ensuring that endpoints remain secure in the face of evolving threats.
AI-powered chatbot attacks
In 2024, we anticipate increased attacks on AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT or Bard. Hackers may attempt to manipulate prompts to extract sensitive information from datasets that AI programs may have missed or left unfiltered.
AI-powered chatbots have become increasingly prevalent in various industries, providing personalized interactions and support. However, if not properly secured, these chatbots may inadvertently expose sensitive information. Organizations using AI chatbots will need to implement robust security measures to protect user data and maintain trust.
Automation and AI-driven phishing development
Cybercriminals are expected to leverage chatbots for phishing campaigns in 2024, creating more convincing messages. Additionally, chatbots like ChatGPT can be used by hackers to program malware, scripts, and automation, further resembling the operations of a legitimate service-oriented business.
The use of AI-driven chatbots for phishing attacks adds a layer of sophistication to cyber threats. Such attacks can be challenging to detect, and organizations will need advanced email security solutions and user awareness training to mitigate this risk effectively. Unfortunately, a challenging point is the projected crisis in the cybersecurity sector. Leading strategic consulting firms, including Gartner, forecast a need for more cybersecurity professionals while the workforce’s actual numbers decrease. This gap is influenced by factors such as costs, management difficulties, and a lack of strong corporate culture in certain business segments.
New attacks exploiting AR/VR headsets and QR Codes
WatchGuard predicts a surge in attacks exploiting augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets and QR codes in 2024. These technologies have experienced rapid growth, reaching a point where expansion increases security issues.
Attackers will look for vulnerabilities to exploit as AR/VR headsets and QR codes become more prevalent in consumer and business settings. Organizations adopting these technologies should conduct thorough security assessments and implement safeguards to protect against potential threats.
How to prepare for cybersecurity challenges in 2024
Preparing for the cybersecurity challenges of 2024 requires a multi-faceted approach. Firstly, organizations must stay abreast of emerging threats and technologies. This involves continuous learning and adaptation and investments in research and development. Organizations should also consider partnerships with cybersecurity firms and experts to bolster their defences.
Secondly, organizations should prioritize employee education. As the human element often represents the weakest link in any security chain, employees must be aware of the threats they might face and how to mitigate them. Regular training and awareness programs can go a long way in ensuring that all staff members are equipped to deal with potential cyber threats.
Lastly, organizations should adopt a proactive approach to cybersecurity. This means not just responding to threats as they occur but also anticipating them and putting measures in place to prevent them. This could involve regular audits of security systems, penetration testing, and establishing incident response plans. The future of cybersecurity may be uncertain, but with knowledge, preparation, and cooperation, we can hope to face it with confidence.