Cyber Security Trends To Watch in 2024

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As the world of cyber security continues to evolve at what feels like an ever-increasing rate, so do the threats. From highly personalized phishing scams to enhanced malware, U.S. businesses may begin to feel the squeeze to balance out the costs of increased cyber security and the costs of not being protected enough.

In 2023, the average cost of a data breach was $9.48 million—the highest amount on record, while spending on information security and risk management products and services is expected to grow by 14.3% in 2024, reaching more than $215 billion globally according to research by Gartner.

New threats have quickly emerged over the past year, with 85% of cybersecurity professionals reporting that recent security attacks are powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Cyber Security Trends To Watch in 2024

Staying informed of the year’s cyber security trends, changes in cyber security legislation and regulations, and the newest cyber threats is critical for businesses to protect their data better and plan ahead as the world of cybersecurity continues to evolve rapidly.

It also pays to implement an Information Security Management System (ISMS) certified to ISO 27001. Get ahead of the trend with our free ISO 27001 ISMS training course.

Generative AI Becomes Both Weapon and Tool

Generative AI and the deployment of Large Language Models (LLMs) at scale will become a game-changer in the world of cyber security—not just as a threat but also as a tool. This is especially true as LLMs spread from the confines of cloud-based systems into more user-controlled environments, allowing threat actors to craft and deploy their own malicious AI at scale.

These artificial intelligence technologies can create new content and material that mimics or simulates the data it’s trained on. For cybercriminals, this technology can make it easier for them to launch more convincing, targeted phishing attacks, effectively mimicking people or businesses.

Advances in AI have led to more sophisticated social engineering attacks, too, including the use of deepfakes—highly realistic and convincing digital forgeries of voices or images.

Businesses will need to accelerate workplace training in 2024 to help tackle these threats and implement measures to detect and prevent them to keep pace with AI deepfake threats.

But generative AI could be a game-changer in the role of cyber defense, too. With the ability to simulate and monitor ever-evolving cyber threats, it can help organizations anticipate attack tactics, identify vulnerabilities, and bolster their cyber defenses proactively by analyzing masses of data from past attacks, as well as identifying threats in real-time. This includes detecting anomalies in network traffic and identifying new malware variants.

The advancing sophistication of cyber threats, the rapid digitalization across sectors, and the increasing complexity of IT environments all contribute to generative AI’s rise as one of the biggest cyber security trends for 2024. As cyber threats continue to evolve, organizations need tools that can evolve with them to keep their data and clients safe.

Cyber security trends - generative AI

Passwordless Authentication Adoption Accelerates

Passwordless authentication will continue to gain traction in 2024 as it offers both a simpler user experience and increased security. This method protects against cyber security attacks that exploit weak or stolen passwords—a common vulnerability.

This security method involves a number of different authentication formats, from biometrics to one-time security codes or tokens that are more difficult for cybercriminals to replicate or steal. Combined with a Zero Trust security attitude and system, businesses could see their security further bolstered.

Many leading technology providers are deploying passwordless access, primarily biometrics such as facial recognition, and FIDO2 security. Examples include Microsoft Entra ID and Apple Passkey that deploys facial or touch ID coupled with private and public keys.

Zero Trust Becomes an Essential, Not a Nice-To-Have

Under a Zero Trust strategy, all users, devices, and systems are verified before granting access each time they are used. This approach bolsters cyber security by enforcing security layers, limiting access, and continually managing risk.

There are several reasons why Zero Trust Security is going to increase in 2024: the rise of remote and hybrid work environments, increasing cloud adoption, increased difficulty in securing network perimeters, and more complex cyber threats requiring more rigorous security measures.

Zero Trust Security addresses these challenges by treating every access request as potentially harmful, regardless of origin. This approach provides tighter control over network and device access, significantly reducing the risk of data breaches and enhancing overall cyber security.

The Cyber Security Skills Gap Narrows

As cyber security criminals and cyber security attacks become more sophisticated, the need for skilled cyber security professionals rises.

There has been a shortage of professionals with the skills to combat these attacks, leaving businesses vulnerable to various cyber security issues, including data breaches and ransomware attacks. According to research by the World Economic Forum, while the skills gap remains, it is set to narrow in 2024.

Potential solutions to bridge this skills gap include encouraging more people into the field with education initiatives at all levels and providing comprehensive training and continued professional development for current employees. Leveraging AI and automated systems to complete routine tasks could also allow cyber security staff to focus their skills where needed, reducing the skills overhead.

Cyber security trends - skills gap

Phishing Attacks Become More Prevalent

One of the most common cyber security attacks, phishing emails, are designed to convince the receiver to part with sensitive data or give the scammer access to sensitive data. In 2022, phishing schemes were the top reported complaint to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), with over 300,400 cases.

Previously, phishing email scams could be more easily identified by checking the sender’s email address, looking for spelling or formatting mistakes, or identifying common details that have been missed.

With the use of generative AI and scammers’ keener attention to detail to create more personalized attacks, businesses will need to increase their security measures to create robust, all-encompassing security strategies. These could include more complex authentication systems.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) systems could increase in popularity to defend businesses from enhancing phishing attacks. These require two or more verification methods that could stop scammers from accessing sensitive data, even if they have succeeded in scamming an employee into revealing some credentials.

Discover our Cyber Security Awareness—Phishing online training course.

Increased Regulations for IoT and Embedded Devices

Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded devices have become part of daily life for most, from wireless doorbells to medical devices. With the US IoT market predicted to have a 10.5% CAGR that will lead to a market value of $297 billion by 2028, this quick expansion could create new vulnerabilities that require increased regulation.

IoT and embedded devices, which can often lack robust security measures, can be exploited by cybercriminals, leading to data breaches or attacks on network infrastructures. Regulations are necessary to protect against these threats, ensuring manufacturers implement sufficient security measures from the very beginning.

While these rules can safeguard consumer privacy and corporate data, they might also add additional costs and administrative burdens on businesses. Compliance with new regulations could require significant investment in device redesign or upgrades, policy updates, and ongoing monitoring.

Remote Working Endpoint Security Hits Maturity

Our final cyber security trend for 2024. As of August 2023, one in five American employees reported working on a hybrid or remote basis. Working from home or remotely has posed many benefits, allowing employees to achieve a better work-life balance and increase productivity while employers save money on overheads.

However, it has also opened up a new threat vector for cyber security threats. The increased reliance on digital communication and data sharing can expose vulnerabilities in home networks and devices, which are often less secure than corporate ones, leading to their increased risk of cyber threats such as phishing attacks, malware and data breaches. The importance of endpoint security and the challenges of securing a distributed IT infrastructure, which are critical considerations in remote work scenarios, will need detailed wargaming by security teams as routes into corporate networks for threat vectors.

Businesses can mitigate these risks by implementing robust security software, like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and firewalls. It’s also crucial to provide regular cyber security training to employees, ensuring they know potential threats and how to protect sensitive information when working from home.

A subtrend of remote working could see further growth in the cyber security mesh concept in 2024. This concept involves creating a flexible, modular, and scalable security architecture that can interoperate with any asset, regardless of location. It’s a response to the growing need for security in distributed environments, particularly with the rise of remote work and cloud computing.

Read our guide to cloud data protection and help stay ahead of cloud security trends.

Cyber security trends - remote working

Get Ahead of 2024’s Cyber Security Trends With ISO Certification

The cyber security landscape is volatile, with cyber security trends accelerating developments and introducing new factors. While AI is likely to continue stealing the limelight, emerging developments such as evolving cyber warfare tactics, sustainable cyber security and the impact of quantum computing are set to take on greater importance over the coming years.

ISO standards such as ISO 27001 play a key role in developing an Information Security Management System (ISMS). ISO 27001 helps organizations establish and implement data security protocols to manage cyber security risks and comply with relevant laws—and can help businesses mitigate risks from cyber threats.

Contact our expert team today to start your ISO 27001 certification journey.

Written by

Julian Russell

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