How Data Threats Are Evolving in 2024

Date: 22 March 2024

There is a reason why, in 2024, people are taking data protection into their own hands. According to the latest studies, we generate around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, leaving all of us vulnerable to data misuse, cybersecurity attacks and breaches, and serious identity theft. 

To deal with the rising risks to sensitive personal information, many are now focussed on ways to delete personal data from the internet, minimising their digital footprint to stop data brokers from attaining it and misusing it. 

Data threats are not going anywhere anytime soon. Although data removal tools are becoming more widely available, the data threats that we face are evolving, developing alongside technology to become even more of an ethical problem.

The Data Broker Threat

Some of the most significant players in the data landscape are data brokers – online entities that collect data from your digital footprint and sell it to other companies. By doing this, they are collecting information that can be pieced together to create a digital profile, including everything from your name, your age, your profession, your email address, your home address, and your phone number. 

With big data becoming such a crucial part of business success in the last few years, the demand for data has grown stronger, which has subsequently helped data brokers to grow despite GDPR, PDPA, CCPA, and other data protection acts

Just last year, the market for data brokers was valued at around $280 billion, and this is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% over the next four years, eventually reaching a projected market size of $545.431 billion in 2028. As the industry gets bigger, their tactics and technology are allowed to develop, helping to evolve their impact and become even more of a threat as time goes by.

cyber tabletop scenarios 

Evolving Technology & its Connection to Data Threats

Speaking of technology, this is another key factor to consider in the evolution of the data landscape. One of the reasons personal data collection is such a problem is not necessarily due to the businesses collecting it, but what those businesses are doing to protect your data and keep it out of the hands of malicious entities.

While new technologies like artificial intelligence can positively impact cybersecurity, according to recent studies, they have also led to an 8% rise in cybercrime, as hackers utilise developing tech to infiltrate systems and steal important data. With artificial intelligence, specifically, hackers are able to generate convincing phishing emails at a rapid rate, automate DDoS attacks, create deep fakes, and evolve their malware and ransomware to take advantage of weak cybersecurity. 

Even with fewer resources or skills, more cyber criminals than ever will be able to carry out successful cyber breaches in the next few years, making online data even more vulnerable than it is right now. 

What Can You Do?

In 2024, individuals and businesses face a complex and ever-evolving landscape of data threats that demand a proactive and layered approach to data protection. For individuals, this means adopting strong cybersecurity habits such as using multi-factor authentication, employing strong, unique passwords for different accounts, and staying vigilant about phishing attacks and scam emails.

Regularly updating software and operating systems to patch vulnerabilities and using reputable antivirus and anti-malware solutions are also critical steps. For sensitive information, individuals should consider using encryption for data storage and communication. On the social front, being cautious about the amount of personal information shared online can mitigate the risk of identity theft and fraud.

Businesses, on the other hand, require a more structured approach to deal with evolving data threats.

This includes conducting regular risk assessments and implementing a comprehensive cybersecurity framework like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Training employees on cybersecurity best practices and the latest threat landscapes is crucial, as human error remains one of the biggest security vulnerabilities. Additionally, businesses must ensure they have a strong Cyber Incident Response Plan in place,  which includes not just the technical response but also communication strategies with stakeholders. Staying informed about the latest cybersecurity trends and threat intelligence is key to adapting defences in a timely manner.

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These are two of the main areas where data threats are evolving, but the problem is multi-faceted. Even with new data policies being put in place, so long as we are leaving a digital footprint, we are going to be leaving ourselves open to these threats. 

To deal with this, then, it’s important to take your data into your own hands and do everything you can to delete your information from the internet. As we mentioned before, the tools and services are available to do so, but it’s up to you to take action first. Fight back against evolving data threats by evolving your defences, cutting them off before they have a chance to abuse your data.

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