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  • Writer's pictureMatt Ferguson

Beware of these emerging cyberthreats in 2024

The global cost of a data breach last year was $4.45 million. This is an increase of 15% in three years. As we step into 2024, it's critical to be aware of emerging technology threats--threats that could potentially disrupt and harm your business.

Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. It’s bringing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and individuals alike. Rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and quantum computing are leading companies across all industries to radically reconsider their approach to cybersecurity and systems management.

While these technologies are poised to make our lives easier, they're also being used to launch sophisticated, large-scale attacks against the networks and devices we depend on.

In this article, we’ll highlight some emerging technology threats to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

Data Poisoning Attacks

Data poisoning involves corrupting datasets used to train AI models. By injecting malicious data, attackers can skew algorithms' outcomes. This could lead to incorrect decisions in critical sectors like healthcare or finance. Some actions are vital in countering this insidious threat. These include protecting training data integrity and implementing robust validation mechanisms.

Businesses should use AI-generated data cautiously. It should be heavily augmented by human intelligence and data from other sources.

5G Network Vulnerabilities

The widespread adoption of 5G technology introduces new attack surfaces. With an increased number of connected devices, the attack vector broadens. IoT devices, reliant on 5G networks, might become targets for cyberattacks. Securing these devices and implementing strong network protocols is imperative. Especially to prevent large-scale attacks.

Ensure your business has a robust mobile device management strategy. Mobile is taking over much of the workload Organizations should properly track and manage how these devices access business data.

Quantum Computing Vulnerabilities

Quantum computing, the herald of unprecedented computational power, also poses a threat. Its immense processing capabilities could crack currently secure encryption methods. Hackers might exploit this power to access sensitive data. This emphasizes the need for quantum-resistant encryption techniques to safeguard digital information.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Manipulation

AI, while transformative, can (and is) being used to facilitate the spread of misinformation. Cyber criminals are already creating convincing deepfakes with AI, and automating phishing attacks. Vigilance is essential as AI-driven threats become more sophisticated. It demands robust detection mechanisms to discern genuine from malicious AI-generated content. Regulatory bodies and watchdog groups have proposed mandatory watermarks for AI generated content to make it easily discernible from human-generated (or human-reviewed) content.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Exploits

AR and VR technologies offer immersive experiences. But they also present new vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals might exploit these platforms to deceive users, leading to real-world consequences. 

Ensuring the security of AR and VR applications is crucial. Especially to prevent user manipulation and privacy breaches. This is very true in sectors like gaming, education, and healthcare.

Ransomware Evolves

Ransomware attacks have evolved beyond simple data encryption. Threat actors now use double extortion tactics. They steal sensitive data before encrypting files. If victims refuse to pay, hackers leak or sell this data, causing reputational damage.  

Some defenses against this evolved ransomware threat include:

  • Robust backup solutions

  • Regular cybersecurity training

  • Proactive threat hunting 

Supply Chain Attacks Persist

Supply chain attacks remain a persistent threat. Cybercriminals infiltrate third-party vendors or software providers to compromise larger targets. Strengthening supply chain cybersecurity is critical in preventing cascading cyber incidents. Businesses can do this through rigorous vendor assessments, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring.

Biometric Data Vulnerability

Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, are becoming commonplace. But users can't change biometric data once compromised, like they can passwords. Protect biometric data through secure encryption. Ensure that service providers follow strict privacy regulations. These are paramount to preventing identity theft and fraud.

Advanced Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the oldest and most common forms of cyberattacks. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated and targeted thanks to AI. For example, hackers customize spear phishing attacks to a specific individual or organization.

Hackers do this based on online personal or professional information.

Another example is vishing attacks. These use voice calls or voice assistants to impersonate legitimate entities, convincingly persuading victims to take certain actions.

Ongoing employee phishing training is vital, as well as automated solutions to detect and defend against phishing threats. At Geeks for Business, we believe that a proactive approach to cybersecurity is critical. With our trusted cybersecurity partner, Huntress, we are able to hunt for threats within networks before they become breaches. With complexity in cyberattacks rising, reacting to an attack just isn't enough; our 24/7 managed endpoint detection and response approach allows us to go on the offense against prospective cyber criminals.

Tips for Defending Against These Threats

As technology evolves, so do the threats that we face. Thus, it’s important to be vigilant and proactive. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Educate yourself and others about the latest technology threats.

  • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all online accounts.

  • Update your software and devices regularly to fix any security vulnerabilities.

  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.

  • Verify the identity and legitimacy of any callers or senders. Do this before providing any information or taking any actions.

  • Back up your data regularly to prevent data loss in case of a cyberattack.

  • Invest in a reliable cyber insurance policy. One that covers your specific needs and risks.

  • Report any suspicious or malicious activity to the relevant authorities.

Need Help Ensuring Your Cybersecurity is Ready for 2024?

Last year’s solutions might not be enough to protect against this year’s threats.  Don’t leave your security at risk. We help small and medium businesses throughout Central North Carolina manage their IT, reduce costs and complexity, expose vulnerabilities, and secure critical business assets.

Reach out to Geeks for Business today to schedule a chat.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press. 

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