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Nov 21, 2023

Adapting to the Ever-Evolving Threat Landscape

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This blog is part of the 2024 Cyber Predictions blog series where Armis Experts share their thoughts on trends and technologies shaping the future of cybersecurity.
Check out all our 2024 predictive blogs →

 

As we look ahead to the cybersecurity landscape of 2024 and beyond, it’s evident that the challenges and threats facing organizations are evolving at an unprecedented pace. In 2023, we saw a significant surge in cyberattacks, and this is poised to continue and intensify. According to proprietary data from the Armis Asset Intelligence Engine, attack attempts against global organizations grew by 63% only from April to July 2023. In this blog, I share four important forecasts for 2024 that highlight why it’s crucial to strengthen your defenses against upcoming cyber threats promptly.

1. In 2024 outsourcing all aspects of an attack value chain will become a reality, from initial entry vectors to lateral movement services and data exfiltration.

The emergence of Ransomware as a service (RaaS) is one of the most alarming developments in recent years, and its evolution is even more concerning. In the near future we anticipate a further professionalization of services. Although the cybercrime ecosystem is already a reality, as highlighted by the NCSC and National Crime Agency (NCA) in the whitepaper Ransomware, extortion and the cyber crime ecosystem, its advancement in the upcoming year, powered by innovations as GenAI, will commoditize cybercrime, making it more accessible to a broader range of threat actors.

Organizations must prepare for this new reality where only by gaining a complete understanding of the environment with cyber intelligence will enable them to secure and protect any asset from the threats emerging from every direction.

2. As cyber defenses become more robust and law enforcement agencies intensify their crackdown on cybercrime, threat actors are pivoting towards decentralized platforms to maintain operational resilience and anonymity.

Decentralization is rapidly gaining traction in the cybercriminal underworld, and its implications are profound. In the upcoming year, we will witness a surge in the adoption of decentralized platforms by threat actors. These platforms, which distribute data and operations across multiple nodes, offer a level of resilience and anonymity that traditional centralized systems cannot match. A notable example is the decentralized marketplace “OpenBazaar”, which operates without a central authority or middleman, making it difficult for authorities to regulate or shut down. While OpenBazaar itself is a legitimate platform, its decentralized nature has attracted various illicit activities, from the sale of prohibited items to unregulated transactions. The private sector, especially blockchain enthusiasts and advocates, has been at the forefront of decentralization. However, its very strengths are being co-opted for malicious intent. Cybercriminals are leveraging decentralized web hosting to reduce the risk of takedowns and using blockchain-based communication tools for encrypted, untraceable communications.

As we move forward, it’s imperative for cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement agencies to understand and adapt to this evolving landscape, ensuring that decentralization doesn’t become synonymous with a safe haven for illicit activities.

3. As organizations continue to embrace connected assets, and the attack surface keeps expanding, we will see an increased number of cyber events causing physical disruption.

The increasing interconnectivity of infrastructure in all sectors poses a growing risk to cybersecurity and physical safety. As everything becomes more interconnected, the potential for cyberattacks to have physical implications and cause substantial damage grows exponentially. While cyber-physical attacks are often associated with major infrastructure incidents, such as the 2022 attack on an Iranian steel company, they can also have physical consequences in more everyday settings. For example, a recent attack on a casino chain locked guests out of their rooms.

It’s imperative that organizations invest in comprehensive cybersecurity measures that not only protect their digital assets but also safeguard the physical assets they rely on.

4. In the perpetual race between attackers and defenders, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly pivotal role. But to truly embrace the potential of GenAI for defense strategies companies will need to adhere to upcoming government guidelines to ensure a more secure and ethical deployment of AI-driven defense mechanisms.

As AI becomes more integrated into defense strategies, ethical and regulatory considerations will come to the forefront. Governments and international bodies are likely to introduce new guidelines to ensure the responsible use of AI in cybersecurity. A notable instance is the U.S. National AI Strategy’s call for public input, which reflects a commitment to collaborative governance. These regulations will aim to prevent unintended consequences, such as algorithmic bias or misuse of AI for unauthorized surveillance.

5. As threat actors become increasingly sophisticated, and to effectively counter the heightened threat activity, organizations will champion competitive innovation and open information sharing in the industry.

Collaboration has become a buzzword in the cybersecurity community, and for good reason. In the upcoming year we will see enhanced collaboration in cybersecurity, particularly for threat intelligence. The private sector has been leading the way in this space, especially regarding threat intelligence sharing, with initiatives like the OT Cyber Coalition. In the years to come, governments will increasingly recognize the value of such partnerships and will more actively engage in initiatives to defend against cyber threats more effectively.

In conclusion, the cybersecurity landscape of 2024 will be characterized by evolving threats, increased collaboration, and the ever-present challenge of defending against an expanded attack surface. To navigate this complex environment successfully, organizations must embrace AI-driven defenses, prioritize threat intelligence sharing, and fortify their security posture against the emerging threats on the horizon.

2024 Cyber Predictions

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