As technology continues to evolve in 2024, so do the tactics used by cybercriminals to carry out attacks against businesses. Emerging cyber threats are becoming more sophisticated, targeting companies across all industries and businesses of all sizes.
From ransomware to AI-powered attacks, the cyber risk landscape is growing more complex. Understanding what threats to watch out for in 2024 is the first step toward creating a cybersecurity plan that protects your business and your customers.
The Evolving Threat of Ransomware
Ransomware remains one of the most dangerous cyber risks facing organizations today. This type of malware encrypts data and systems until a ransom demand is paid. The average ransom payment in 2023 was $1.5 million, nearly twice as much as in 2022.
There are two key trends influencing the continued evolution of ransomware:
- Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS): Affiliates can now pay for ransomware services from developers, resulting in more widespread attacks.
- Double extortion: Attackers will not only encrypt data but also threaten to publish sensitive stolen information if their demands are not met.
To guard against ransomware, businesses need layered security measures, ongoing employee education, and solid incident response plans. It’s also important for businesses to regularly back up their data and maintain cyber insurance coverage.
Deepfakes, powered by artificial intelligence, are fake audio, video, or images that look convincingly real. As deepfake generation becomes more accessible in 2024, companies face risks such as:
- Brand impersonation: Scammers can impersonate brands in fake videos or content.
- Media manipulation: Deepfakes could be used to spread false news or manipulate events.
- Identity fraud: Attackers can create fake identities using deepfake images and video.
Detecting deepfakes is extremely challenging. Businesses will need advanced media forensic tools, authentication systems, and staff training to identify fake content. Policies limiting information sharing are also important to reduce exposure.
Emerging Threats from Quantum Computing
Quantum computing has the potential to break current encryption standards. Quantum computers can theoretically crack cryptographic keys protecting sensitive data like passwords, communications, and financial information. While full quantum systems don’t exist yet, their emergence could let hackers access years of encrypted organizational data.
To prepare, companies should inventory where quantum computing risks exist in their systems and data. Migrating to next-generation quantum-resistant encryption will also grow increasingly important.
Risks from the Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT devices are becoming increasingly more prominent, making cyberattacks a serious risk. IoT devices are challenging to secure and often have default weaknesses attackers can exploit to infiltrate business networks.
To guard against IoT threats, organizations should maintain an updated inventory of devices, enforce strong access controls, implement network segmentation, and deploy monitoring tools. Regular password changes and software updates are also a must.
Evolving Cloud Security Threats
While cloud computing offers advantages, it also introduces new risks. Cloud threats, including compromised credentials, insider threats, and vulnerabilities in third-party services data, are at risk.
Businesses using the cloud need robust access controls, data encryption, visibility tools, and procedures to rapidly respond to suspicious activity. A zero-trust approach, multi-factor authentication, and using multiple providers also reduce cloud risks.
The Threat of State-Sponsored Attacks
As geopolitical tensions grow, state-sponsored cyberattacks are increasing. These well-resourced attackers have financial, strategic, or ideological motives as they target sensitive networks and critical infrastructure. Tactics include phishing, supply chain compromise, and exploiting vulnerabilities.
Stringent technical controls, staff training to identify social engineering, and collaboration with law enforcement can help protect organizations from nation-state threats. Cyber insurance policies may also cover some losses from state-sponsored attacks.
Payment Card Skimming
Payment card skimming surged as chip cards were adopted in the US, as thieves sought to counter enhanced POS security. This threat can pose a serious threat to any business that accepts in-person payments using card readers.
Fraudsters attach skimming devices on legitimate payment terminals or ATMs to steal credit and debit card information for cloning cards or online fraud.
To combat skimming, businesses need to train staff to regularly inspect payment devices for tampering. Keeping hardware and software updated per vendor recommendations is also key.
The Importance of Cyber Insurance
Given the many evolving cyber risks facing modern organizations, having cyber insurance coverage in place is crucial. Cyber policies help offset costs that businesses incur related to incidents like data breaches, ransomware attacks, and financial fraud. Common covered expenses include:
- Legal costs, regulatory fines, and lawsuit settlements
- Forensics to determine the cause of the breach
- Notifying customers and providing credit monitoring
- Restoring compromised data and systems
- Business interruption losses from outages
- Ransomware extortion payments
- PR services to help repair brand reputation
Partnering with an insurer that specializes in cyber policies optimized for emerging threats is key to ensuring adequate protection. Be sure to accurately complete applications and fully disclose your IT environment and controls.
Get a Free Risk Assessment
In 2024 and beyond, ransomware, deepfakes, quantum-based attacks, connected devices, cloud threats, state-sponsored actors, and payment fraud will pose growing cyber risks. By implementing layered security and staff training, maintaining insurance protection, and partnering with IT security specialists, companies can effectively manage emergent cyber threats. Vigilance and proactive preparation will be vital in the ever-evolving threat landscape.
KSA partner Coalition offers a free cyber risk assessment, providing an overview of your risks and vulnerabilities. In addition to highlighting your vulnerabilities, the assessment includes a summary of recommended actions to help you mitigate your risk. Coalition also offers access to trained cybersecurity experts who can answer any questions you may have about the assessment or the recommendations you are provided.