Cyber attacks have evolved – Are you prepared for 2023?

Cybersecurity continues to be a top concern for organizations. A recent study of close to 2900 IT decision makers of organizations with 10 to 300 employees, found that between 20% and 50% of their IT budget is allocated to cybersecurity. As technology service providers, we support the focus on cybersecurity because it means that we can work with our customers to help them reduce cybersecurity risks. 

However, budgets are not limitless and knowing what the cybersecurity landscape is expected to look like in the coming year, helps prioritise the investments. 

So let’s have a look at what we can expect for 2023.

1. The weakest link in cybersecurity continues to be humans

The vast majority of successful cybersecurity attacks begin with social engineering strategies and phishing scams. The cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated every year and  2023 will be no different. Employees will continue to be targeted which can lead to fatigue with frequent password changes, multi-factor authentication requests, and other security requirements. Continuous cybersecurity awareness training, updates, and phishing simulations can help mitigate the risks. Education remains key to helping employees defend themselves and the organization against the attacks.

2. Ransomware threats will continue to be a menace

According to Statista there were 236.1 million ransomware attacks globally in the first half of 2022. If we assume the same amount in the back half of 2022, the number of attacks would be in the 475 million range. This would be a decline form the 623.3 million ransomware attacks in 2021. What the statistics don’t show is that the efficiency and success rate have increased due to the sophistication of the ransomware attacks. In addition, the costs of a ransomware attack, beyond the ransom itself, which has increased, have also increased. The operational, productivity, reputational, legal, financial, and other costs related to dealing with a ransom attack continue to rise. The takeaway here, other than having a good, layered cybersecurity strategy is to be prepared and have a plan to respond to a ransomware attack. 

3. Use of social media as a weapon for targeted cyber attacks

It will come as no surprise to anyone that cybercriminals are leveraging social media profiles to research potential phishing targets. They use publicly viewable profiles to help make their phishing emails seem more legitimate by including personal information about the recipient or the sender. 

We also know that the social media platforms themselves can be taken advantage of to target social engineering attacks against employees on a non-corporate platform. Cybercriminals can reach out to employees via social platforms, such as LinkedIn or other platforms, to trick them into disclosing sensitive company information. 

Educating employees, developing company policies regarding social media usage, and securing and monitoring corporate social media accounts can mitigate some of the risks associated with social engineering.

4. Increase of cybercrime-as-a-service 

The ability to rent cyberattack capabilities, think ransomware-as-a-service, malware-as-a-service, and other versions, has significantly impacted who can participate in the cybercrime business. It has become increasingly easy to launch attacks using ready-made tools and even outsourced cyber-attack services. This “as-a-service” business model has lowered the bar for other bad actors to launch their own attacks that might otherwise have been beyond their technical capabilities. 

5. Cloud applications and services will need advanced security

More and more organizations are adopting cloud services and software-as-a-service applications. According to Gartner estimates, public cloud services grew by over 20% in 2022 and are expected to continue to grow in 2023. Add to this more remote workers, more connected equipment, and the increased use of both company-owned and personal mobile devices for business purposes, and it is easy to see that the potential attack surface is increasing exponentially. This leads to the need for more sophisticated security tools to reduce the risks inherent to cloud based services and applications.

Understanding the cybersecurity landscape and the impact cyberattacks can have on your organization helps prioritise your security investments. Let’s start a conversation to see what your cybersecurity priorities should be for 2023. Contact MicroAge today.

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