Key cybersecurity trends to watch in 2024

Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan
IT Writer
Last updated: May 15, 2024
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As the digital age presses on, businesses are putting more money into their cybersecurity efforts to stay one step ahead of clever cybercriminals. The world of cybersecurity is always changing, with companies having to constantly update their protection to deal with new kinds of threats.

A lot of security problems happen because of simple mistakes, like not picking strong passwords or forgetting to use safe internet connections, like VPNs. Company networks also have their weak spots, often right at the edge, which gives hackers plenty of chances to sneak in.

Even with better security tech out there, hackers keep getting smarter and changing their tricks. This constant back-and-forth has made cybersecurity super important but also pretty tough for businesses everywhere.

Not having enough people who know their way around cybersecurity makes things even harder. This shortage means a lot of companies aren’t as ready as they should be to handle cyber attacks, highlighting the need for new and smart ways to keep data and systems safe.

Highlights

  • Companies need to get ready for new and old cyber threats that want to cause trouble.
  • Ransomware and harmful software are still huge issues. AI lets people who don’t know much about coding launch big attacks, and fake videos and photos are tricking more people.
  • The people in charge of keeping information safe are becoming more important. They need to know how to talk about safety plans and work with top company leaders.

As we look toward 2024, industry insiders have identified key cybersecurity trends that organizations should be aware of. These trends reflect the changing tactics of cybercriminals, the evolving technological landscape, and the growing need for robust cybersecurity measures. Here are the top nine trends to watch:

1. Ransomware: still the biggest cyber threat in 2024

Ransomware: still the biggest cyber threat

After a short break, ransomware attacks are making a big comeback, hitting as often as they used to. Richard Halm, a cybersecurity expert at Clark Hill, tells us that ransomware is not going anywhere. It’s still the biggest danger for businesses in 2024.

These ransomware gangs are getting better at what they do, finding new ways to attack and choosing their targets more carefully.

Why Ransomware Attacks Slowed Down, But Not for Long

For a while, the only thing that slowed them down was the war between Russia and Ukraine. But that didn’t stop them for long. Halm uses the MOVEit attack as an example to show how groups like Clop have gotten smarter in picking who to attack. They’re now going after companies that make or sell software, looking for weak spots they can use to break into a lot of places at once.

New Tricks from Old Dogs: How Ransomware Gangs Are Changing

Halm also talks about new groups on the scene, like Scattered Spider, that are trying new things with social engineering. That means they’re really good at tricking people into letting them into their company’s systems. Before, most ransomware gangs were from Eastern Europe or Russia, but that’s changing.

Ransomware Goes Global

Now, we’re seeing groups like Scattered Spider and LAPSUS$, who have attacked big names like Microsoft and Uber, with members from the US, the UK, and South America.

This mix of people from different places makes these gangs even trickier. They understand how people in Western countries think and act, which makes their tricks even more convincing.

What’s Next for Ransomware?

With all the money these attacks bring in, Halm thinks we’ll see even more diverse ransomware gangs in 2024. This means that ransomware isn’t just a problem of technology or security—it’s also about understanding people and cultures.

As these gangs get smarter and more varied, businesses everywhere need to be on guard for what’s coming next.

2. DevOps and DevSecOps: teaming up for tighter security

DevOps and DevSecOps: teaming up for tighter security

Joni Klippert, who runs StackHawk, a company focused on making apps safer, highlights how the world of creating and using APIs is changing fast. She points out that there’s a big push to catch security problems early on, even before the product is finished. This means the people making the software and those keeping it safe need to work together more closely right from the start.

The double-edged sword of automation

While automating the process of writing and sending out code can make things move faster, it also brings up some issues. Klippert warns that this rush might result in a lot of APIs being used before they’ve been properly checked for security risks. This makes it super important to quickly and effectively check these APIs to make sure they’re safe.

Working together is key

The relationship between DevOps, the folks who blend software development with IT operations to speed up the creation and release of software, and DevSecOps, which adds security into this mix from the get-go, is getting more important. Klippert believes that understanding how software is made, put out there, and checked is crucial for making everything not just faster but also safer.

Stepping up security plans

As the rules around keeping data safe get stricter, cybersecurity pros have to be on their game. They need to come up with solid security strategies that can be clearly explained and shown to work, all the way from the top brass to the boardroom. This means taking on more responsibility and making sure everyone’s on board with keeping things secure.

3. Quantum computing’s impact on cybersecurity

Quantum computing's impact on cybersecurity

Steve Tcherchian from XYPRO, a company that knows a lot about keeping information safe, says that quantum computing is something many businesses are starting to hear about. This new kind of computing uses the rules of quantum mechanics to solve puzzles that are too hard for regular computers.

Why it’s a big deal for security

Even though it sounds cool, quantum computing could make things tricky for keeping secrets safe online. Tcherchian points out that a lot of the ways we protect information right now depend on solving really tough math problems that normal computers can’t crack easily.

The threat to encryption

Quantum computers, on the other hand, can solve these problems much faster. This means they might be able to break the codes we use to keep things like bank details or emails safe from prying eyes. If quantum computing gets more common, it could mean that a lot of the encryption protecting important information might not work anymore.

Fighting back with new tech

But it’s not all bad news. Tcherchian says that experts are working on new ways to keep data safe that even quantum computers can’t crack. These new methods, called post-quantum cryptography, are being designed to be as tough as the encryption we use now but can stand up against quantum computers.

The challenge of switching over

Switching to these new encryption methods won’t be quick or easy, though. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to make sure these new defenses are ready and can be used everywhere. This means there might be a gap where information could be at risk until these new protections become the standard way of keeping things safe online.

4. Tech upgrades for small businesses

Tech upgrades for small businesses

Mike Caralis of Verizon Business has seen some big trends in how cyber threats are attacking small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Often, people who break into systems want money, with 95% of data breach investigation reports (DBIR) aiming to get rich quickly.

Mobile devices are the new target

It’s not just computers at risk anymore. Bad guys are using mobile phishing attacks more and more to get at private information. This kind of attack has jumped up by 15% for small businesses, showing that everyone’s phones and tablets are in the crosshairs.

Staying safe means staying updated

A big problem for SMBs is not keeping up with the latest tech and security training. This leaves a lot of doors open for attackers. But there’s hope. Caralis sees a future where small businesses use the latest technologies like AI to get ahead. This could help them manage fraud better, improve how they handle their supply chain, and process orders faster.

Investing in better connections

Another smart move is to boost internet speeds. This isn’t just about surfing faster; it’s about making sure all the tools and software that businesses use are up to the latest standards for safety.

Adapting to new ways of working

As work keeps changing, especially with more people working from somewhere other than the office, small businesses will need to lean on technology more than ever. But it’s not just about having the right tools; it’s about using them safely to keep everything running smoothly without letting the bad guys in.

5. New rules changing cybersecurity

New rules changing cybersecurity

Regulations and compliance are set to significantly influence cybersecurity trends, especially in the early half of 2024, according to Crystal Morin, a cybersecurity strategist at Sysdig, a company specializing in cloud security.

“Throughout 2023, the White House introduced executive orders on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), along with new disclosure rules from the Security and Exchange Commission,” she notes. “With these disclosure regulations coming into force by the end of 2023, and the AI executive order also being implemented around the same time, we can expect compliance and transparency in security practices to become major focuses.”

Getting serious about following rules

Thomas Segura from GitGuardian, a company that helps developers keep their code safe, says that the cybersecurity world is really growing up because of these new rules. Now, companies have to tell the SEC super fast, within four days, if they get hit by a cyberattack.

A wake-up call for companies

The SEC is taking this very seriously, as seen with the SolarWinds case, where they’re in trouble for not being upfront about their cybersecurity risks. This shows that companies have to take their cybersecurity responsibilities very seriously.

What this means for cybersecurity bosses

Thomas Kinsella from Tines, a company that helps automate security work, thinks that these new rules will make cybersecurity a big topic in company boardrooms. Cybersecurity leaders will need more resources to make sure they can protect their companies, and they’ll have to speak up more about what they need.

This shift towards stricter rules and more openness about cybersecurity is a big deal and will make companies think harder about how they protect their information and systems.

6. The rise of info stealer malware in cyber attacks

The rise of info stealer malware in cyber attacks

Trevor Hilligoss from SpyCloud has pointed out a significant trend in the cyber world: the rise of info stealer malware. This type of malware is especially sneaky because it goes after personal and sensitive information directly from people’s web browsers. It grabs everything from usernames and passwords to credit card details and banking info.

How cybercriminals use stolen data

What happens to this stolen info? A lot of it ends up for sale in the darker corners of the internet, where other criminals can buy it. They use this data to pretend to be real users, sneaking into company networks to do more damage without anyone noticing.

A favorite trick: hijacking sessions

One common way they use this info is for session hijacking. This means they take over someone’s online session, getting around even the toughest security checks like multifactor authentication. With the stolen data, they can do whatever the real user could do, from stealing more info to launching ransomware attacks, all without getting caught.

What the future holds

Looking ahead, Hilligoss believes that fighting off these info-stealing attacks will be a big focus for cybersecurity. Companies will need to come up with strong plans to find and stop the use of stolen data before it can be used against them.

Keeping stolen data from causing harm

After data is stolen, it can still cause problems for a long time unless it’s dealt with. That’s why it’s crucial to have a plan for after an attack happens. This includes keeping an eye out for stolen data showing up on the dark web and making sure any data that was stolen can’t be used to break into systems again.

This trend towards using info stealer malware is a reminder of the constant need to stay vigilant and proactive in cybersecurity efforts.

7. AI’s big role in Cybersecurity

AI's big role in Cybersecurity

The cybersecurity world is gearing up for a big shake thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI (GenAI). Chen Burshan from Skyhawk Security points out that as these technologies become cheaper and more accessible, expect to see more sophisticated attacks, especially targeting cloud services. The way to fight back needs to adapt, affecting how security checks are done and how attacks are simulated to spot weaknesses.

Smarter scams and convincing fakes

Brandon Leiker at 11:11 Systems warns that bad actors are getting better at tricking people with the help of GenAI. They’re crafting scams that feel personal, making it trickier to spot a lie. And as deepfake technology improves, telling if images or videos are real gets harder.

A cybersecurity lawyer, Halm, sees AI being used to create fake emails that look spot-on. These aren’t your average scam emails; they’re designed using info from social media to target people very accurately.

AI: good for both sides

Ron Reiter, with his background in military and cybersecurity, notices that AI is making waves across various fields, including security. But there’s a cautionary note: not to get lost in the hype and to really test these AI solutions to make sure they work.

Nima Baiati from Lenovo brings a slice of optimism, highlighting that defenders can harness AI too. It’s about making repetitive security tasks faster and more precise, like spotting dangers and responding quickly without always needing a human in the loop.

Learning and adapting

The journey into AI-driven cybersecurity isn’t just about facing newer threats but also about transforming defense mechanisms. Systems that learn from each attack to better detect and prevent future threats are becoming a reality. This proactive stance isn’t just about reacting; it’s about predicting and stopping attacks before they happen.

Innovation must be balanced with caution

In the rush to adopt AI, the importance of balancing innovation with security is critical. New tools and systems can also introduce risks if not implemented with care. Thorough testing and ensuring security before full integration into cybersecurity strategies are essential steps.

Sharing is caring in cybersecurity

The rise of AI in this field also underscores the importance of community and sharing knowledge. No single entity can keep pace with AI developments and the evolving threats alone. Sharing insights and experiences strengthens collective defenses far beyond individual efforts.

Peering into the future

AI and GenAI are setting the stage for a new chapter in cybersecurity. As the digital landscape changes, so too must the approach to security. Embracing AI as a powerful ally in defense offers a path towards a safer digital environment for everyone.

8. CISOs and CIOs: working together better

CISOs and CIOs: working together better

In a complex enterprise security and IT management ecosystem, the roles of Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are crucial. Arthur Lozinski, who helps run a technology management company called Oomnitza, says CISO teams create rules to maintain security, and CIO teams have to make sure everyone follows those rules. But they need different things, and that can be a headache, especially when it comes to money.

Money problems and slow projects

The big issue is that they both need money for different stuff, but they have to share the same budget. This can lead to disagreements and can slow down projects or make them cost more than expected.

A new way to do things with tech

But there’s good news. In companies that really care about using the latest tech, especially stuff in the cloud, things are starting to get better. They’re using automation to make new projects that are safe from the start. This means the CISO and the CIO can work together more smoothly.

The cloud makes it easier

The cloud is helping a lot with this. It’s making it easier for the CISO and the CIO to work as a team. Arthur thinks if they can’t figure out how to get along, we’ll really start to see the problems by 2025. So, it’s important they start working together now, making sure security is part of everything from the very beginning.

9. CISOs boosting communication skills

CISOs boosting communication skills

Jonathan Trull from Qualys, a company focused on keeping information safe, points out that cyber threats are now a big worry for those at the top of companies. It’s not just about data breaches; these threats can hurt a company’s financial health and reputation.

New pressures on security chiefs

This spotlight on cybersecurity means Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) have a lot more on their plates. They’re not just fighting off hackers; they have to make sure the big bosses understand the risks and what’s at stake in terms of money and company safety.

The shift in CISO roles

CISOs used to work behind the scenes, but not anymore. Now, they’re in the spotlight, expected to explain complex security issues in simple terms that everyone in the boardroom can understand.

The importance of soft skills

Looking ahead to 2024, Trull believes CISOs will need to get even better at this. They’ll have to sharpen their soft skills, like communication, to make sure they can explain the technical side of cybersecurity in a way that impacts company decisions. This means talking about risks and protections in a way that connects with financial health and the overall strategy of the company.

Keeping safe in a world full of cyber threats

As the new year rolls in, cyber safety is becoming crucial for businesses. The internet is filled with risks that are constantly evolving, making it vital for every company to guard against cyber attacks.

Imagine the internet as a big city with its share of dangers. Businesses have valuable data that cybercriminals are after, which could cause big problems if stolen.

What should businesses do? They need to:

  1. Stay alert: use strong passwords and antivirus software, and keep systems updated.
  2. Educate everyone: teach employees how to recognize scams and safe practices online.
  3. Follow rules: comply with laws on data protection to avoid fines and damage to reputation.
  4. Have a plan: know what to do if a breach happens to minimize damage and learn from it.

Leaders in cyber safety will need to communicate risks and strategies clearly to everyone in the company. Making cyber security a part of the company culture is key to protecting against online threats.

In essence, gearing up for the new year means being proactive, educated, and ready to act against cyber dangers.

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Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan
Maryan Duritan, a seasoned U.S.-based copywriter and SEO specialist, excels in making complex ideas accessible. She crafts compelling website content, blogs, articles, ebooks, press releases, and newsletters, tailoring tone and voice to match client goals and audience needs. Her creative precision transforms ideas into impactful content.

Why Trust Us

Our editorial policy emphasizes accuracy, relevance, and impartiality, with content crafted by experts and rigorously reviewed by seasoned editors for top-notch reporting and publishing standards.

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