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The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Prepare for in 2024

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats to Prepare for in 2024

It’s a new year, and while businesses have been seeing a lot of new technologies emerge, cyberthreats have become increasingly dangerous and prevalent. With the increasing reliance on technology and the rise of remote work, it's crucial for decision makers to be aware of the top cyberthreats they may face and take proactive measures to protect their organizations. In this blog post, we'll discuss the top six cyberthreats that businesses need to be prepared for and how to mitigate their risks.

Zero-Day Exploits

Zero-day exploits are vulnerabilities in software or systems that are unknown to the vendor or recently discovered, and have not yet been patched. These exploits can be used by hackers to gain access to a business' network and steal sensitive information or cause damage.

Artificial intelligence has been helping cybercriminals sniff out these vulnerabilities so they can be taken advantage of. Historically, zero-day exploits have the biggest risk factor the moment the developer issues a security patch to fix them, because cybercriminals can reverse-engineer the patch, find the vulnerability, and take advantage of companies that are slow to apply the patch. Depending on the nature of the vulnerability, the impact can be massive, sometimes giving the criminals full access to anything they want to get their hands on.

To protect against zero-day exploits, businesses should regularly update their software and systems and conduct thorough vulnerability assessments. It's also crucial to have a response plan in place in case a zero-day exploit is discovered.

LLM-Enabled Malware

Just to get this out of the way, we’re going to be mentioning artificial intelligence a few times in this blog post. Large Language Model malware is a type of malware that uses AI tools to strengthen its abilities. This could mean malware that is better at evading detection, faster at spreading across networks, or better at taking advantage of exploits. In theory, this results in malware that can detect everything going on across your network, and find ways to get through your defenses.

It’s essentially automated malware that does all the work for a hacker.

There are already several Chat-GPT-like large language models available on the dark web that criminals can use to create malicious software, and this is something that will expand as quickly as legitimate artificial intelligence has over the last year or so.

To protect against LLM-enabled malware, businesses should regularly update their security software and conduct thorough network vulnerability assessments. It's also crucial to educate employees on the importance of not downloading or opening suspicious attachments or links. The typical antivirus and security software might not be adequate anymore unless what you are using is capable of monitoring your network and rapidly responding to threats.

Deepfakes

Deepfakes are a type of synthetic media that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to manipulate or generate images, videos, or audio that appear to be real. These can be used to create fake news, impersonate individuals, or even manipulate financial transactions. With the advancement of AI technology, deepfakes are becoming increasingly difficult to detect, making them a significant threat to businesses.

Deepfake fraud attempts went up 3,000 percent in 2023, and it’s getting to the point where someone with a fairly average online footprint can be used as a victim. 

To protect against deepfakes, businesses should implement strict security protocols for financial transactions and sensitive information. It's also crucial to educate employees on how to identify and report potential deepfakes to prevent them from spreading.

Deep Scams

Deep scams are similar to deepfakes, but instead of manipulating media, they could use AI to impersonate individuals or businesses. These scams can be used to trick employees into sharing sensitive information or making fraudulent transactions. They can also be used to impersonate high-level executives and request sensitive information or funds from employees.

While scams like this aren’t always assisted with AI, and they aren’t anything new, we are seeing more and more of them in the wild. They can be as innocuous as the CEO of a company asking HR to send some gift cards to a certain address or to send a payment to a different bank account than normal. The communication usually just happens via email, where the cybercriminal spoofs a legitimate email address. These attacks feel especially personal, but with AI, criminals can quickly mass-produce them to trick people across a wide target range.

To protect against deep scams, businesses should implement strict protocols for verifying requests for sensitive information or financial transactions. Employees should also be trained to recognize and report any suspicious requests.

Phishing/Social Engineering Scams

Phishing and social engineering scams are some of the most common and effective cyberthreats businesses face. These scams involve tricking individuals into sharing sensitive information or making fraudulent transactions through email, phone calls, or other forms of communication.

To protect against phishing and social engineering scams, businesses should educate employees on how to identify and report suspicious emails or phone calls. It's also crucial to have strict protocols in place for verifying requests for sensitive information or financial transactions.

Let’s Make 2024 a Safe and Secure Year for Your Organization

Remember, cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and businesses must stay vigilant and adapt to new threats as they emerge. By staying informed and taking proactive measures, businesses can stay one step ahead of cybercriminals and protect their networks, data, and reputation.

Datalyst can help protect your business from cyberthreats, all while managing your IT and keeping the gears turning. To get started, give us a call at (774) 213-9701.

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Wednesday, February 21 2024

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