Cyber Threats in 2023 – You’re Surrounded by Them

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The advent of cloud technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoTs), ushered in a tidal wave of new and exciting technological advances, but their popularity also created new, unlimited ways to be hacked. Adding to cyber security risks, was the unprecedented shift from traditional office settings to remote work that began with the pandemic. 

We’ve written countless articles about how businesses can protect themselves using a multi-layered approach to cyber security – including ongoing training for employees and making sure that 3rd party vendors are compliant with cyber security protocols – but, as cyber security specialists, we would be remiss if we didn’t also talk about the latest (ever-changing) cyber threats.

Gone are the days when you only had to worry about the security of a single technological infrastructure that existed inside a brick-and-mortar office building. Now smart technology can be on your body (watches, phones), in your car, and found everywhere in your home.

Let’s take a closer look at the latest cyber threats…   

Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats in 2023

According to excerpts from an article by simplilearn, they wrote, “With the Digital revolution around all businesses, small or large, corporates, organizations, and even governments are relying on computerized systems to manage their day-to-day activities and thus making cybersecurity a primary goal to safeguard data from various online attacks or any unauthorized access. Continuous change in technologies also implies a parallel shift in cybersecurity trends as news of data breaches, ransomware, and hacks become the norm. Here are the top cybersecurity trends for 2023…

1) Rise of Automotive Hacking 

Modern vehicles nowadays come packed with automated software creating seamless connectivity for drivers in cruise control, engine timing, door lock, airbags, and advanced systems for driver assistance. These vehicles use Bluetooth and WiFi technologies to communicate that also opens them to several vulnerabilities or threats from hackers. Gaining control of the vehicle or using microphones for eavesdropping is expected to rise in 2023 with more use of automated vehicles. Self-driving or autonomous vehicles use an even further complex mechanism that requires strict cybersecurity measures. 

2) Potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) 

With AI being introduced in all market segments, this technology with a combination of machine learning has brought tremendous changes in cybersecurity. AI has been paramount in building automated security systems, natural language processing, face detection, and automatic threat detection. Although, it is also being used to develop smart malware and attacks to bypass the latest security protocols in controlling data. AI-enabled threat detection systems can predict new attacks and notify admins of any data breach instantly.

3) Mobile is the New Target 

Cybersecurity trends provide a considerable increase (50 percent) for mobile banking malware or attacks in 2019, making our handheld devices a potential prospect for hackers. All our photos, financial transactions, emails, and messages pose more threats to individuals. Smartphone viruses or malware may capture the attention of cybersecurity trends in 2023.

4) Cloud is Also Potentially Vulnerable 

With more and more organizations now established on the cloud, security measures need to be continuously monitored and updated to safeguard the data from leaks. Although cloud applications such as Google or Microsoft are well equipped with security from their end still, it’s the user end that acts as a significant source for erroneous errors, malicious software, and phishing attacks.

5) Data Breaches: Prime target

Data will continue to be a leading concern for organizations around the world. Whether it be for an individual or an organization, safeguarding digital data is the primary goal now. Any minor flaw or bug in your system browser or software is a potential vulnerability for hackers to access personal information. 

6) IoT with 5G Network: The New Era of Technology and Risks 

With the advent and growth of 5G networks, a new era of interconnectivity will become a reality with the Internet of Things (IoT). This communication between multiple devices also opens them to vulnerabilities from outside influence, attacks or an unknown software bug. Even the world’s most used browser supported by Google, Chrome was found to have serious bugs. 5G architecture is comparatively new in the industry and requires a lot of research to find loopholes to make the system secure from external attacks. Every step of the 5G network may bring a plethora of network attacks that we might not be aware of. Here manufacturers need to be very strict in building sophisticated 5G hardware and software to control data breaches. 

7) Automation and Integration 

With the size of data multiplying every day, it is eminent that automation is integrated to give more sophisticated control over the information. Modern, hectic work demand also pressures professionals and engineers to deliver quick and proficient solutions, making automation more valuable than ever. Security measurements are incorporated during the agile process to build more secure software in every aspect. Large and complex web applications are hard to safeguard, making automation as well as cyber security a key concept of the software development process.

8) Targeted Ransomware

Another important cybersecurity trend that we can’t seem to ignore is targeted ransomware. Especially in developed nations, industries rely heavily on specific software to run their daily activities. Generally, ransomware threatens to publish the victim’s data unless a ransom is paid and it can affect organizations, or in some cases, nations too. 

9) State-Sponsored Cyber Warfare

There won’t be any stoppage between the western and eastern powers in attempts to find superiority. The tension between the US and Iran or Chinese hackers often creates worldwide news though the attacks are few; they have a significant impact on an event such as elections. And with more than 70 elections bound to be held this year, criminal activities during this time will surge. Expect high-profile data breaches and political and industrial secrets to top cybersecurity trends for 2023.

10) Insider Threats

Human error is still one of the primary reasons for data breaches. Any bad day or intentional loophole can bring down a whole organization with stolen data. 34 percent of total attacks were directly or indirectly made by the employees. So, make sure you create more awareness within premises to safeguard data in every way possible.”

We felt that a couple of the items listed above needed a deeper dive to understand how deeply embedded our lives are with technology. We 5 topics that we felt needed a bit more attention are: the IOTs, Cloud, AI, Insider Threats, and Cyber Awareness.

A Deeper Dive Into the Top Five 

In excerpts from an article by Forbes, they wrote, “In recent years we have seen the topic of cyber security move from the IT department to the board room. As attacks have proliferated and the potential penalties, both regulatory and in terms of loss of customer trust, have increased, it has become a priority at every organizational level.

We often think of cybersecurity as an ongoing battle between hackers and criminals, and security experts, which is constantly escalating due to constant advances in technology. This is the “glamorous” side of the business that we sometimes see depicted in TV shows and movies. And indeed, threats sometimes come from hostile foreign states or devious, tech-savvy criminal masterminds. In reality, however, threats are just as likely to emerge due to improperly secured networks leaving sensitive data accidentally exposed, or unwary or indiscreet employees using non-secured devices while working from home.

A shift to a culture of home and remote working that started during the Covid-19 pandemic and has persisted in many organizations, as well as the spread of the internet of things (IoT) into every area of business and society, means there has never been more opportunity for lax security to cause headaches and expense. Because of this, cybersecurity is top of everyone’s agenda in 2023, so here’s a look at some of them…

Internet of Things and cloud security

The more devices we connect together and network, the more potential doors and windows exist that attackers can use to get in and access our data. And in 2023, analysts at Gartner predict, there will be 43 billion IoT-connected devices in the world.

IoT devices – ranging from smart wearables to home appliances, cars, building alarm systems and industrial machinery – have often proven to be a bugbear for those with responsibility for cybersecurity. This is because, as they are often not used to store sensitive data directly, manufacturers haven’t always been focused on keeping them secure with frequent security patches and updates. That has changed recently, as it’s been shown that even when they don’t store data themselves, attackers can often find ways to use them as gateways to access other networked devices that might. Today, for example, you’re less likely to find a device shipped with a default password or PIN that doesn’t require the user to set their own, as was frequently the case in the past.

In 2023, a number of governmental initiatives around the world should come into effect designed to increase security around connected devices, as well as the cloud systems and networks that tie them all together. This includes a labeling system for IoT devices set to be rolled out in the US to provide consumers with information on possible security threats posed by devices they bring into their homes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly prominent role in cybersecurity

As the number of attempted cyberattacks has grown rapidly, it has become increasingly tricky for human cybersecurity experts to react to them all and predict where the most dangerous attacks will take place next. This is where AI comes into play. Machine learning algorithms can examine the vast amount of data moving across networks in real-time far more effectively than humans ever could and learn to recognize patterns that indicate a threat. According to IBM, companies that use AI and automation to detect and respond to data breaches save an average of $3 million compared to those that don’t.

Unfortunately, thanks to the ever-growing availability of AI, hackers, and criminals are growing increasingly proficient at using it too. AI algorithms are used to identify systems with weak security or that are likely to contain valuable data among the millions of computers and networks connected to the internet. It can also be used to create large numbers of personalized phishing emails designed to trick receivers into divulging sensitive information and become increasingly good at evading automated email defense systems designed to filter out this type of mail. AI has even been used to artificially “clone” the voice of senior executives and then to fraudulently authorize transactions!

This is why the use of AI in cybersecurity is sometimes referred to as an “arms race,” as hackers and security agents race to ensure the newest and most sophisticated algorithms are working on their side rather than for the opposition. It’s been predicted that by 2030 the market for AI cybersecurity products will be worth close to $139 billion – a near tenfold increase on the value of the 2021 market.

Work-from-home cybersecurity becomes a priority for businesses

Recently, a cybersecurity priority for many organizations has been to secure the millions of devices worldwide that are being used for home and remote working since the start of the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, when we were all office-based, it was simple enough for security agents, probably based in IT departments, to regularly check and update company laptops and smartphones. This made it relatively simple to ensure they were free of spyware and malware and were running the latest versions of anti-virus software and other preventative measures. In 2023, when workers are more likely than ever to use personal devices to remotely connect to work networks, a new set of challenges has emerged.

Connecting to networks with non-secured devices can lead to employees unwittingly falling victim to phishing attacks, where attackers trick users into divulging passwords. With more people working remotely, it’s increasingly likely we may find ourselves working in teams where we don’t know each other as well and are at risk of falling for impersonation scams. It also enables ransomware attacks, where software is injected into networks that erase valuable data unless users pay a ransom to attackers. The risk of this also increases in remote working situations, where it’s more likely that devices may be left unattended.

Building a security-aware culture

Perhaps the most important step that can be taken at any organization is to ensure that it is working towards initiating and fostering a culture of awareness around cybersecurity issues. Today, it’s no longer good enough for employers or employees to simply think of cybersecurity as an issue for the IT department to take care of. In fact, developing an awareness of the threats and taking basic precautions to ensure safety should be a fundamental part of everyone’s job description in 2023!

Phishing attacks rely on “social engineering” methods to trick users into divulging valuable information or installing malware on their devices. No one needs technical skills to learn to become aware of these types of attacks and to take basic precautions to avoid falling victim. Likewise, basic security skills like the safe use of passwords and developing an understanding of two-factor authentication (2FA) should be taught across the board and continually updated. Taking basic precautions like this to foster a culture of cybersecurity-awareness should be a core element of business strategy at organizations that want to ensure they build resilience and preparedness over the coming 12 months.”

Let’s move onto the topic of cyber security prevention trends…

Cybersecurity Prevention Trends You Can Expect In 2023

In excerpts from a separate article by Forbes, they wrote, “2022 was a record-breaker for the sheer volume of phishing scams, cyberattacks, data breaches, and crypto heists. There was also a rise in hacktivism cases where state-sponsored cyber legions disrupted critical infrastructure and services, defaced websites, launched DDoS attacks, and stole information.

It’s not hard to imagine that 2023 will top records in cybercrime. Here are six cybersecurity (prevention) trends we can certainly expect in 2023…

1. Greater Privacy And Regulatory Pressures

Governments around the world are stepping up efforts to protect the data privacy of citizens. Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2023, “65% of the world’s population will have personal data covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10% in 2020.” In the U.S. alone, five major states will have new comprehensive data privacy laws rolling out in 2023. 

Additionally, nearly 40 U.S. states introduced or considered more than 250 bills dealing with cybersecurity in 2022. A federal reporting requirement issued in March 2022 mandates that critical infrastructure organizations must report cyber incidents and ransomware payments. The SEC also proposed new cybersecurity disclosure requirements for public organizations that obligate them to disclose the cybersecurity expertise of board members and report cybersecurity practices periodically.

2. Zero Trust Replaces VPN

Remote working trends will likely continue. Virtual private networks are unable to meet scalability demands, and the technology itself can be prone to cyberattacks and vulnerabilities. Zero trust, on the other hand, is a multitiered approach that is both scalable and highly secure. 

A zero-trust strategy is based on the concept of “never trust, always verify,” which means that just because users can be identified and authenticated, they must not be granted blanket access to all resources. In a zero-trust environment, users are continuously validated, reassessed, and reauthorized using multiple authentication methods.

The Biden administration has already released a memo mandating federal agencies to adopt a zero-trust architecture (ZTA) by the end of the 2024 fiscal year. Gartner believes that zero-trust network access (ZTNA) is the fastest-growing form of network security, will grow by 31% in 2023 and will replace VPNs entirely by 2025.

3. Threat Detection And Response Tools Go Mainstream

Cyberattacks aren’t a question of “if”; they’re a question of “when.” The only way organizations can stop an attack or reduce its impact is by identifying unusual activity across their entire ecosystem of users, applications, and infrastructure. Threat detection and response tools like endpoint detection and response (EDR), extended detection and response (XDR) and managed detection and response (MDR) can analyze historical data using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to spot unusual patterns as well as leverage threat intelligence and advanced file analysis to detect and block advanced threats that are designed to evade traditional defenses. Gartner predicts that the demand for cloud-based detection and response solutions like EDR and MDR will significantly increase in the coming years.

4. Increased Demand For Third-Party Risk Management

Many adversaries are circumventing sophisticated defenses that large enterprises deploy by hacking smaller supply chain organizations that might have access to the same information but do not have an equal level of protection. Supply chain attacks grew four-fold in 2021. Organizations have long used third-party applications to improve productivity, but such tools can have a number of vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit to gain access to victim environments.

Gartner predicts that by 2025, 45% of organizations will experience attacks on their software supply chains, which will be three times as many as in 2021. Boards and CEOs are demanding security improvements in their supply chains, which is why we can expect an increased demand for tools, services and vendor questionnaires that can help catalog and monitor cyber risks in third parties and suppliers.

5. More Organizations Will Outsource Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity has become far too complex for organizations to manage on their own. Most organizations are neither experts in cybersecurity nor do they have the skills or resources to manage a full-fledged security operations center (SOC). Security teams are overwhelmed, and a major skills shortage for cybersecurity talent makes it difficult to recruit and retain security experts. For these reasons, many organizations will be forced to think creatively and could decide to outsource their day-to-day security operations to an experienced consulting firm or leverage the leadership services of a virtual CISO.

6. Cyber Insurance Will Drive Demand For Risk Assessments

Cyber insurance premiums are climbing, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for companies to afford or obtain coverage. To negotiate insurance premiums and better risk coverage, businesses will be required to present evidence across a broad spectrum of security areas in order to prove compliance with leading cybersecurity standards and best practices Organizations will begin to conduct enterprise risk assessments that highlight the maturity level of their cybersecurity program and proactively address any underwriting concerns. When buying cyber insurance, risk assessments can serve as guidance—defining priorities as well as identifying risks deemed acceptable and those that need to be transferred to insurers. Risk assessments can help determine decisions around insurance gaps, limits, and coverage.

The threat landscape will undoubtedly continue to evolve in 2023, probably at the same pace as what we’re seeing currently—if not more. Organizations must stay vigilant, never compromise and, if needed, leverage security expertise for advice and guidance.”

Quick, Essential Cybersecurity Tips for SMBs

While the following tips aren’t exhaustive, they are essential for the security of your data. If you haven’t already incorporated the following practices, start today…

Here’s what BusinessNewsDaily had to say, “Statistics show that cybersecurity is a legitimate threat to small businesses, but owners don’t always act on that knowledge. It’s not fair to conclude that small businesses don’t care about cybersecurity, but they do seem willing to ignore concerns. Despite alarming statistics and articles peppering the internet, many smaller firms consistently underplay the risk of cyberattacks.

Unfortunately for small businesses, this “out of sight, out of mind” mentality can have consequences. If you fail to protect your business from cybersecurity threats, you may lose critical company information while also damaging your brand and losing money.

‘Small business owners cannot think their business is too small to be hacked,’ said Monique Becenti, product marketing manager at Zimperium. ‘While the breaches that make headlines tend to be associated with large enterprises, no business is immune to cyber threats.’

How to quickly improve your cybersecurity

Introducing and implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity program will inevitably take more than an hour. You won’t be completely protected by making the quick changes below, but you can take drastic strides in 60 minutes or less by implementing these techniques. Here’s a checklist of the things you should do ASAP: 

1. Perform a cybersecurity audit

Start by figuring out where your business stands. Are you well protected against cyber threats? Are you secure in some areas but lacking in others? Figure out how secure you are (or aren’t) now so you understand where you can improve.

Cybersecurity includes policies as well as systems. Formulating an acceptable use policy for devices, data, and the network can be an important first step if you don’t already have one in place. If even this is too daunting, spend that hour locating an IT professional in your area who can help you out.

2. Train your employees to recognize common cybersecurity threats

Teaching staff how to identify threats is central to a proactive and positive company-wide cyber security policy. Specialist cybersecurity firms can send your staff a bogus email of the type a spammer or hacker might produce. If they click on a link or open an attachment, they’re shown a message along the lines of “This was a test, but next time you might have infected the network with a virus.” Staff will remember this, discuss it, and – most importantly – learn from it.

‘If SMBs spent one-hour training staff on basic internet hygiene – spotting phishing emails, good browsing practices, not downloading suspicious files or clicking links – cybersecurity would be greatly improved,’ said Sean Allen, digital marketing manager at Aware. ‘Employees and emails are still the leading causes of breaches for SMBs, rather than master hackers.’ 

3. Improve your password strength

Too many employees and executives use passwords that are easy to hack, often sharing them across several platforms and websites. If one password is compromised, the potential harm increases exponentially. 

Brute-force attacks are when hackers run automated programs that plug in various potential password combinations. They’re particularly effective against obvious username data and simple passwords. 

Strengthening your organization’s passwords immediately reduces the risk of a successful cyberattack against your business, and it doesn’t take long. You can change a weak password to a secure one in seconds.

“All passwords should have at least 10 characters or more, including at least one uppercase, one lowercase, one number, and one special character,” said Myles Keough, CEO of Spade Technology. Since each online account or service should ideally have a different password, it’s often easier to use a password manager tool to remember them all through your web browser.

4. Implement multifactor authentication on business accounts.

“One quick win for small business owners is setting up multifactor authentication on their accounts, especially those related to financial transactions,” said Stacy Clements, founder of Milepost 42. “Multifactor authentication provides an extra layer of security beyond a username and password to protect your accounts, usually by requiring you to enter a code sent to your mobile device or provided by a separate hardware security key.

Two-factor authentication means a criminal would have to deeply embed themselves in your system architecture to gain access, and there’s a good reason that blue chip brands like Google have started implementing it by default. 

There’s no excuse for small businesses to completely ignore cybersecurity in 2023. Over 300,000 new pieces of malware are created every single day, and many of these malicious software codes don’t discriminate between larger or smaller enterprises. Irrespective of its size, your business can – and must – protect sensitive data by improving cybersecurity.”

At Adaptive Office Solutions, cybersecurity is our specialty. We keep cybercrimes at bay by using analysis, forensics, and reverse engineering to prevent malware attempts and patch vulnerability issues. By making an investment in multilayered cybersecurity, you can leverage our expertise to boost your defenses, mitigate risks, and protect your data with next-gen IT security solutions.

Every single device that connects to the internet poses a cyber security threat, including that innocent-looking smartwatch you’re wearing. Adaptive’s wide range of experience and certifications fills the gaps in your business’s IT infrastructure and dramatically increases the effectiveness of your cybersecurity posture.

Using our proactive cybersecurity management, cutting-edge network security tools, and comprehensive business IT solutions you can lower your costs through systems that are running at their prime, creating greater efficiency and preventing data loss and costly downtime. With Adaptive Office Solutions by your side, we’ll help you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity so you can achieve business success without worrying about online threats.

To schedule a Cyber Security Risk Review, call the Adaptive Office Solutions’ hotline at 506-624-9480 or email us at