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A look back at the top cybersecurity trends of 2023

A look back at the top cybersecurity trends of 2023

December is the time when we pause and reflect on the past year. Keeping with the mantra that the past is a prologue, looking at what occurred may help us understand and prepare for what is coming. This week, we’re looking at some of the top cybersecurity trends that emerged in 2023, and next week, we’ll look at some of the biggest news stories. As ranked by various experts, here are some top trends that emerged and persisted throughout 2023.

Artificial intelligence

AI was the biggest buzzword on the cybersecurity scene. Yes, AI has existed for some time, but ChatGPT brought AI into everyone’s living rooms and offices. For most of 2023, AI dominated the discussion. ChatGPT ushered in the era of AI, and everyone from term-paper corner-cutting college students, to journalists, to recipe bloggers, and more, started using AI. But so did cybercriminals. Even novices could now cook up code and launch their attacks. Cybercrime is no longer for the cyber-savvy, and experts warned that with the help of AI, anyone could launch an attack. Time will tell whether these predictions bear out.

“AI has the potential to be a huge disruptor in cybersecurity circles. In 2023, though, AI was dominating the discussion more than it was an actual threat; we’ll have to see what happens next year to begin to see how potent of a weapon AI is for hackers,” says George Maxwell, a cybersecurity specialist in Las Vegas.

Remote vs. office

The tug-of-war between the corporate campus and the kitchen table continued in 2023. Some companies demanded workers come back. Others cajoled, begged, and practically pleaded. The statistics vary, but about 70 percent of workers have returned to the office full-time, up from a pandemic low. However, Covid appears to have permanently altered the contours of remote work.

Along with this comes cybersecurity risks. Employees being scattered across the country have caused MSPs to adopt a patchwork approach, whereas the corporate campus has a single perimeter to defend. “The trend back towards the office makes it easier for cybersecurity specialists; it’s just easier to secure one office campus perimeter when you have people who are at home using their computers, their devices, their teenagers use them, they are using unsecured networks, it’s just a headache,” Maxwell adds.

Supply chain attacks

The attacks kept coming, wreaking havoc on supply chains and causing cybersecurity specialists and MSPs to scramble. So much so that Infosecurity Magazine reported a tripling of upstream supply chain attacks in 2023 compared to 2019-2022, and it doesn’t seem as if the trend will slow down anytime soon. Snyk’s “2023 Software Supply Chain Attack Report” reports a 15 percent year-over-year increase in software supply chain attack damages through 2031.

“These attacks are just a continuation of hacker tactics of searching for the soft underbelly and upstream where malicious code can be injected into third-party libraries or open-source projects used by other developers,” Maxwell shares.

Ransomware

It just won’t go away. Cybercriminals have become increasingly adept at tapping into people’s emotions. For example, when people see an enticing link with free Taylor Swift tickets or are asked to help fire victims in Maui. They might be more inclined to click dangerous links.

“There simply is no foolproof way to defend against ransomware, as long as cybercriminals continue to plumb the depths of human psychology and figure out ways to dupe them into clicking a link, then there will continue to be ransomware,” Maxwell warns.

IoT

As a result of home and office automation using IoT, the gusher of devices for “smart” homes and offices is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2025. Smart devices, smart offices, smart homes, and voice assistants are part of our lives. Each device, though, can be breached by hackers. For example, the percentage of hacking automotive systems is growing—safety airbags, climate control, and other essential functions are increasingly connected to the Internet. It is expected that with the expansion of the number of automated vehicles on the roads in 2023, the number of attempts to take them over or eavesdrop on conversations will also rise. “The hacking of autonomous vehicles may well be the next front in the war with hackers,” Maxwell says.

Goodbye 2023, you’ve taught us so much! Stay tuned for next week’s look at the biggest news stories from 2023.

Photo: 13_Phunkod / Shutterstock

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