The Latest Cybersecurity Threats to Watch for in 2024

Date: 26 December 2023

Cybersecurity threats can be defined as digital acts performed by individuals with a harmful intent such as stealing data, leaking it, encrypting it or making computing systems unavailable.

At present, data awareness and cyber incident preparedness are quite significant considering the dependency that most individuals and organisations have on computing systems and their storage. Stakeholders, employers, and customers must understand the significance of data security awareness. They must also use technology tools such as a data breach checker or password managers to keep basic security levels high. 

Categories of Cybersecurity Threats

Below we discuss the various types of common cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2024. It's important to mention here that these threats also work as a good indication for the Cyber Tabletop Exercise Scenarios that you should rehearse to strengthen your incident response in the coming year. 

cyber tabletop scenarios

Malware and ransomware

Malware is short for malicious software, entailing worms, trojans, viruses, spyware, and ransomware. It is the most common form of a cybersecurity threat involving system infiltration. It could originate via a link from an untrusted website or a suspicious phishing download. In ransomware attacks, this malware is used to either steal data or encrypt it until a ransom is paid. It is critical that all businesses understand how malware works and are prepared for ransomware attacks with strong ransomware response protocols. 

Data Breach

Data breaches refer to a security incident where unauthorised parties get access to confidential information or sensitive data. The effects of the data breach would include damage to the company’s reputation, especially if it handled consumer information. It could also lead to a loss of revenue if the pieces of data stolen were of proprietary value. Data breach checkers may assist organisations in detecting issues in a timely manner. It is also critical to have robust Cyber Incident Response Plans in place so that you're able to respond to a data breach correctly and minimise chances of heavy penalties and regulatory fines.  

Phishing and Social Engineering

Social engineering occurs when a web user is tricked into doing something against their interests online. It could be a deception, so the attacker gains control of the computer to steal financial information. Phishing is a type of social engineering, but on a smaller scale, when a scammer sends an email to the user pretending to be something they are not. Phishing scams are widespread and very easy to fall victim to. It is imperative that all employees are given at least a basic level of cybersecurity awareness training so that they can identify and steer clear of these scams. 

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking is exploiting a computer to mine a crypto-currency using websites when a person is unaware or against their will. The threat may embed itself in a mobile device or computer and then use its toolkit to mine the cryptocurrency. One example of this is an incident that occurred in January 2023. Cybercriminals used automation to create 130,000 free trial accounts to exploit GitHub Action workflows for crypto-mining reasons.

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Insider Threats

Insider threats may occur when a person in an organisation decides to trade secrets for personal gain. It may come from employees, contractors, or business associates with particular information about organisation practices or data systems. In April 2023, a Massachusetts Air National Guard member was arrested by the federal authorities because they leaked top secret documents.

Zero-Day Vulnerabilities

Zero-day vulnerabilities are cyber security threats that target software vulnerabilities unknown to the vendor or antivirus. It refers to flaws that vendors or developers have only just learned of. That means there are zero days to fix the issue. One typical zero-day attack was Stuxnet, a worm that infected manufacturing computers that ran programmable logic controller software.

 

Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity Threats

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Threats

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly included in attackers' arsenals to orchestrate sophisticated cyberattacks. That is, from target selection to weaponization, payload delivery, command, and control. These two may also be used for launching targeted as well as personalized attacks utilizing social engineering so users can download infected material. One example of an attack is chatbots manipulated by hackers via prompt injection. That is when a user initiates a model to behave unintendedly, like generating offensive content.

Quantum Computing Threats

Quantum computing threats are a concern in cybersecurity because of the potential for these devices to break the typical cryptographic algorithms. Quantum controllers have the potential to do calculations faster than a classical device. As quantum computing technology advances, attackers will begin pre-computing encrypted data stores and decrypting it for their uses.

Cloud Security Concerns

Most organisations reliant on cloud platforms need better security, allowing customers, stakeholders, and team members to access applications and online data from different locations securely. A few associated cloud security risks may result if there is no vigilance. One is unmanaged attack surfaces. The adoption of microservices may lead to a publicly available workload. Human error is also a risk when it comes to building business applications. Cloud services would magnify the risk.

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Proactive Cybersecurity Practices

Organisations globally must opt to implement some cybersecurity best practices to keep themselves protected from these common cyber threats in 2024. 

Multi-factor authentication is a simple and critical cybersecurity protocol that must be adopted with the greatest agility. This prevents accidental or malicious access to files or systems across the board.

Organisations must also mandate that employees  use difficult passwords to reduce the chances of brute-force hacking. Additionally, a firewall should be installed to protect the security perimeter. All antivirus and system software should be updated to ensure security patches are current and operational.

It is also necessary to take a deep and incisive look at your current cyber breach readiness and work on the findings of the report. If you need assistance in improving your cybersecurity maturity over time, consider cost-effective and convenient options like our Virtual Cyber Assistant Cyber Security Consultancy Services

Never Underestimate How Damaging a Cyber Threat Can Be

Cybersecurity threats are an increasingly significant threat to organisations worldwide, considering the number of ways criminals can gain access to sensitive documentation. Malware, data breaches, social engineering, cryptojacking, and insider threats are cybersecurity issues threatening businesses of every size and industry today.

Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and quantum computing also pose rising threats that need attention as technology advances.

At present, proactive security measures do a good job of preventing most attacks, but more effort is required regarding the increasing tenacity and innovation of cybersecurity threats.

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