It’s time to take a look at the latest Sophos 2023 Threat Report. This is the security company’s annual report that looks at emerging cyberthreats and trends over the next two years. It provides an in-depth analysis of cybersecurity threats, focusing on what enterprises should expect in terms of attacks and how they can protect themselves against them. The report also includes information about how these threats will evolve over the next few years—and what we need to do now to be ready for them when they arrive.
1. Imminent quantum computing breakthroughs.
The first, and perhaps most significant, insight from the report is that quantum computing will be making a huge breakthrough in 2023. The second is that this breakthrough will cause serious problems for cybersecurity.
In classical computing, bits are either 0 or 1; they have no other value. In quantum computing, however, bits can sometimes be both 0 and 1 at the same time — a state known as superposition. Quantum calculations are performed by manipulating these superpositions in order to solve complex problems with ease. This makes it possible to perform highly complex tasks like breaking encryption keys or simulating chemical reactions on an incredibly large scale in almost no time at all (which would require eons on classical computers).
However, while quantum computers may seem like they could do wonders for humanity if used properly — think about how much faster we could cure diseases or find new sources of energy! — there’s also some scary potential applications: using them to break encryption isn’t just potentially useful for stealing information but also terrifyingly dangerous because it could undermine security entirely across industries ranging from finance to defense.*
2. Advanced-threat actors using artificial intelligence for attack automation and lateral movement.
AI-powered automation and lateral movement: Advanced threat actors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to automate their attacks, increasing the speed and success rate of cyberattacks. Implications include:
- AI can be used to move laterally between networks, accelerating the process of compromising a system or an entire organization.
- AI allows attackers to predict future events and plan attacks accordingly—for example, by delaying an attack so as not to disrupt a competitor’s business operations when they’re most vulnerable.
- The increasing availability of machine learning frameworks means that even unsophisticated attackers can use AI techniques such as natural language processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis on social media data or publicly available information about your company in order to gather intelligence about its vulnerabilities before launching an attack against it.
3. A major shift in hacking techniques and toolsets from exploiting software to exploiting people.
The Sophos 2023 Threat Report highlighted a major shift in hacking techniques and toolsets from exploiting software to exploiting people. This is because, as technology becomes more hardened against cyberattacks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for hackers to gain access to systems.
To combat this trend, hackers are turning away from traditional methods of attack and instead focusing on compromising human vulnerabilities. They do this by tricking their victims into giving up their credentials; by socially engineering them into opening malicious emails or clicking on links; or even by using malware that only activates if the victim falls for one of these tactics (this is known as “living off the land”).
While these attacks are incredibly effective at breaching networks and stealing data, they can also be very hard to detect and recover from. As such, securing your organization against social engineering attacks requires a multilayered approach that includes training staff members in security awareness practices as well as technical solutions such as two-factor authentication (2FA) technology .
4. Emergency remote workers being left behind.
Many organizations have learned the hard way that remote workers are at risk of being left behind when it comes to cybersecurity training and education. These employees need to be trained, educated and aware of the risks; after all, they’re just as much a part of your organization as everyone else.
The same best practices apply to both office workers and remote workers: don’t share passwords or credentials with anyone outside your company or team; implement multi-factor authentication wherever possible; keep software up-to-date; use complex passwords that can’t be easily guessed or cracked by brute force attacks; and whatever you do, never click on links in suspicious emails!
5. Cloud users being forced to rethink their security strategies as ransomware gangs up their game.
It’s important to consider the ways in which ransomware is becoming increasingly targeted and sophisticated, as well as how it is evolving. Sophos found that ransomware attacks are targeting cloud users more than ever before. These users need to be aware of this growing threat, as well as its evolving nature.
It’s also key to keep tabs on how ransomware is being used by cybercriminals—specifically, how it has evolved from a tool for making quick profits into something far more dangerous. In addition to infecting systems via drive-by downloads or emails with malicious attachments or links (as they’ve traditionally done), criminals are using ransomware to extort money from businesses and individuals alike by holding sensitive data hostage until they receive payment through Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Is Your Cloud & Network Security Prepared for 2023’s Threats?
We’re entering a new era of cybersecurity. As Sophos reports, we are seeing more advanced threats and attacks on humans than ever before. This means that it’s time to rethink our strategies and put more emphasis on human-based security measures—both for individuals as well as organizations that need to protect their data against sophisticated attackers who have access to AI tools such as machine learning and automation.
NMX IT Solutions can help your Thames Valley area organisation with a full cybersecurity review and make suggestions for addressing any weaknesses in your IT security strategy.
Contact us today to schedule your consultation! Call 01628 232300 or reach out online.