As technology continues to evolve, cybercrime is also growing at pace. Attackers are employing ever-more sophisticated tactics to target individuals, businesses and critical infrastructure. As of May 2024, it was reported that there were 35,900,145,035 known data breaches so far this year in 9,478 publicly disclosed incidents.

In this article, Securus examines the key cyberthreats that we will continue to encounter, equipping you with the knowledge to stay informed about the latest threats and best practices to protect yourself in the digital world.

1. Phishing and scamming
Phishing is a type of social engineering attack that is increasing in sophistication all the time. It targets the user and tricks them by sending fake messages and emails to get sensitive information, or trying to download malicious software and exploit it on the target system.

AI tools have significantly contributed to the growth of phishing, with chatbot AI tools like ChatGPT enabling attackers to quickly develop more targeted phishing campaigns.

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Sophisticated Man-In-The-Middle (MiTM) attacks are helping attackers bypass multi-factor authentication (MFA) security measures. An MitM attack occurs when the attacker intercepts communications between two parties, by secretly eavesdropping or modifying traffic between them. MitM attacks can hijack login credentials, corrupt data, sabotage communications or spy on the target to steal sensitive information.

The best defence against MiTM attacks is to deploy strong end-to-end application encryption, making it more difficult for hackers to reroute traffic to phishing sites. If the user has enabled MFA, it prevents the attacker from logging in to the account with only the stolen credentials.

2. AI-powered attacks
As AI increases in sophistication at an alarming rate, we will continue to see more sophisticated and smart AI-powered attacks. Generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT or Gemini, enable attackers to make smarter, more personalised approaches. Deepfake social engineering attempts will become increasingly prevalent, along with automated malware that intelligently adapts in order to evade detection

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The response to this will largely revolve around organisation-wide awareness and education, although AI and zero trust will play a growing role too. AI will also help detect, evade or neutralise threats, thanks to real-time anomaly detection, smart authentication and automated incident response.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware attacks are a very common type of cybercrime

Ransomware attacks are a very common type of cybercrime. It is a type of malware that has the capability to prevent users from accessing all of their personal data on the system by encrypting them and then asking for a ransom in order to give access to the encrypted data.

Ransomware attacks are likely to continue, targeting not just businesses but also individuals. Prepare for more sophisticated variants that not only encrypt data but also steal it, increasing pressure to pay ransoms.

4. IoT cyberattacks

Network of internet of things attacked by a hacker on one node

More devices talking to each other and accessing the internet means more potential ways in for cyber attackers. With home and remote working continuing, the risks posed by workers connecting or sharing data over improperly secured devices will continue to be a threat. Often, these devices are designed for ease of use and convenience rather than secure operations, and home consumer IoT devices may be at risk due to weak security protocols and passwords.

5. More breaches involving the human element

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In 2023, a staggering 74% of breaches involved the human factor, and this trend is only going to continue to grow. Increasingly convincing cyberthreats, coupled with sophisticated social engineering tactics, will make cybercrime more efficient and dangerous. This will result in more breaches linked to the human factor and a compelling need for organisations to establish a solid human risk management strategy.

6. Supply chain attacks

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Supply chain attacks have become increasingly common in recent years, and have been used in some high-profile cyberattacks. The aim is to exploit weaknesses in the vendor’s security measures to gain unauthorised access to the company’s network. Gartner estimated that by 2025, 45% of organisations worldwide will experience attacks on their software supply chains.

There are several security protection measures that can be taken to prevent supply chain attacks, such as secure software development, network segmentation, multi-factor authentication, continuous monitoring and a robust incident response plan.

Zero Trust
The fundamental concept of zero trust evolves as systems become more complex and security is integrated into business strategy. Zero trust states that there is no perimeter within which network activity can be assumed to be safe. As the threat landscape evolves, this principle extends beyond the corporate network to the ecosystem of remote workers, partnered organisations and IoT devices. Zero trust is now moving from being a technical network security model to something adaptive and holistic, enabled by continuous AI-powered real-time authentication and activity monitoring.

Cybersecurity regulation

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As cybercrime evolves, there are calls for stricter regulations on data privacy and cybersecurity practices, especially to hold tech companies more accountable.

Public sector institutions and critical infrastructure, like power grids or transportation systems, will remain prime targets for cyberattacks, potentially causing widespread disruption. Governments and organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the risks to economic growth posed by cyberthreats. The potential social and political fallout of large-scale data breaches is also a major factor in the emergence of new regulations around cybersecurity issues.

Businesses in the UK had a deadline of April 2024 to ensure they are compliant with the Product Security and Telecommunications Act 2022, which sets out minimum security requirements that networked products must adhere to (for example, they mustn’t be shipped with a default password). Implementation of the EU’s similar Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU has been delayed until 2025, but the topic is still likely to be high on the agenda of legislators throughout 2024.

Identity & Access Management (IAM)
As more organisations move to an identity-first approach to security, the focus shifts from network security and other traditional controls to IAM, making it critical to cybersecurity and business outcomes. While Gartner sees an increased role for IAM in security programs, practices must evolve to focus more on fundamental hygiene and hardening of systems to improve resilience.

Gartner recommends security leaders focus on strengthening and leveraging their core identity and leverage identity threat detection and response to ensure IAM capabilities are best positioned to support the breadth of their overall security.

Gartner also found that 68% of breaches involved a non-malicious human element, like a person falling victim to a social engineering attack or making an error. And 15% of breaches involved a third party or supplier, such as software supply chains, hosting partner infrastructures or data custodians.

How are people reacting to these threats?
The growing threats of cybercrime in 2024 are being faced with a mix of concern, frustration and hopefully, more adaptation. Public awareness campaigns and media coverage are making people more vigilant to cyberthreats, which is leading to a greater demand for cybersecurity education and resources. More and more organisations are recognising the importance of cybersecurity and are investing heavily in security tools, personnel and training.

There is also a growing emphasis on collaboration between governments, businesses and individuals to share information about cyberthreats and develop collective security measures.

The demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is growing rapidly, as organisations look to bolster their security defences. In the meantime, more people are taking individual action to protect themselves online, such as using stronger passwords, thinking twice before clicking on links and being more mindful of the information they share.

What can you do to try and prevent cybercrime?

What can you do to try and prevent cybercrime

  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails, calls or messages, even if they appear to come from a trusted source.
  • Regularly update your software and operating systems with the latest security patches, anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Implement the best possible security settings and implementations for your network environment.
  • Use strong passwords and enable multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Back up your data regularly and securely, so you can recover it in case of a cyberattack.
  • Don’t share sensitive information online or on your social media accounts.
  • Outsource to a cybersecurity provider like Securus, leaving your cybersecurity requirements to the experts.

Overall, the public response to cybercrime is evolving as the threats become more sophisticated.  It’s a complex issue that requires a multi-pronged approach, but by being aware of these trends and taking proactive measures through education, collaboration and investment in security, we can build a more secure digital future.

Cyber protection is an ongoing process, and staying aware of cybersecurity threats as they appear can be overwhelming. With millions of hackers working around the clock to develop new attack strategies more quickly than companies can update their defences, even the most robust cybersecurity system can’t provide guaranteed protection against cyberattacks.

However, Securus has a team of IT security experts on-hand to ensure your organisation remains as protected as possible. Our comprehensive approach combines in-depth vulnerability scanning with continuous network monitoring, so we can identify and neutralise potential threats before they can escalate.

For more information on our cybersecurity services, call Securus on 03451 283457.

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