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Five Cyber Trends to Watch For

In a World of Uncertainties, It’s Certain You’ll Need Cybersecurity 

No matter what your 2023 attitude is, you’ve likely heard the phrase “unprecedented times” tossed around for… well, certainly a few years now. A pandemic, global conflict, and an increasingly worrying load of cybercrime certainly make you feel like the only thing constant is change.

Over the last few years, the digital landscape has been threatened, and violently disrupted, by cyberattacks.

Attacks on large companies like Twitter and Microsoft affect millions of users, while attacks on smaller or less protected organizations have just as many devastating effects. Ransomware and data breaches make headlines each week, and the rippling effects mean that businesses of all sizes, and across all industries, are worried about incoming threats.

They should be: threat actors are becoming more dynamic. As technologies like cloud-native applications and IoT devices increase in popularity, the types, frequencies, and sophistication of attacks will continue to change from moment to moment.

In these ‘unprecedented’ and uncertain times, companies need the best cybersecurity plans they can muster. Building cyber resiliency and looking for ways to reduce risk are our best options when responding to a changing landscape.

Here are 5 trends to consider while you forecast:

1. The Rise of Digital Mercenaries

As Mike Wilson writes for Forbes, the chaos of the physical world is mirrored in the digital realm. With federal and state governments cracking down on cybercrime, some industry experts predict that rogue hackers will emerge as digital mercenaries, willing to launch attacks at the command of the highest bidder. In fact, we’re already seeing advertisements for this ‘work’–threat actors are offering salaries and bonuses to those willing to compromise. The potential fallout from such attacks could be catastrophic, as these mercenary hackers operate outside the constraints of national borders and legal jurisdictions.

2. The Cybersecurity Industry Will Remain Stable

The cybersecurity industry will likely remain steadfast even as the world faces supply chain issues and another recession. Despite global and financial turmoil, investment in technology and systems that mitigate risk will continue to be a top priority for organizations. The demand for cybersecurity talent remains high, creating an uphill battle for companies seeking to protect their assets. Even in the face of mass layoffs, organizations are still looking for experts and leaders in the field—because there are so many emerging technologies that even the experts don’t know everything.

3. More Consultants = More Vulnerabilities

Layoffs aside, the workforce is changing. Terms like ‘quiet quitting’ and ‘the Great Resignation’ indicate not only shifts away from an in-person 9-5 job market but continued change, too. Employees have left their jobs in droves, looking for better fits. When this happens, organizations turn to consultants and external groups to fill the productivity vacuum. Unfortunately, this practice can introduce new security vulnerabilities unless proper authentication measures are put in place (and all too often, they aren’t). Contractors, freelancers, and third-party groups often use unsecured Wifi connections, access business material on personal devices, and blur security boundaries. As a result, experts predict an increase in breaches tied to external groups in the coming years.

4. Cyber Insurance Plans Will Shift

As cyberattacks become more frequent and sophisticated, the demand for cyber insurance continues to rise. However, recent changes in cyber insurance policies may leave companies vulnerable. For example, Lloyds of London announced that nation-backed attacks will no longer be covered by their policies. While this is understandable—they realize the risks are too high—the change opens the door for new players to enter the cybersecurity insurance market. As this happens, cyber insurance plans will likely have many intricate and stringent requirements, and also have high premiums. As the industry collectively realizes both the need for, and the risks around, cyberattack, this market is going to inflate quickly.

5. The Password Predicament

For years, experts have predicted the end of passwords as a primary authentication tool. However, progress has been slow, and passwords remain ubiquitous. While new technologies like Apple’s latest OS release enable a lower-friction passwordless sign-in, widespread adoption is still uncertain. The key hurdle is the user experience, as solutions that are not easy to use or cause friction will not be widely adopted. As a result, passwords will likely remain a primary authentication tool for the foreseeable future—and with them, all the security concerns.

The reality is clear: no organization is immune to the threat of a cyberattack. As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, businesses must take proactive steps to address vulnerabilities and protect their assets. The stakes are high; the consequences of a breach can be catastrophic for individuals and businesses.