The cybersecurity landscape, or cyber threat landscape, refers to the scope of current cyber threats affecting a particular region, industry, or group of people. The cybersecurity environment is changing rapidly, and new challenges are developing annually, defining a wider cybersecurity landscape.
The rapid expansion of the Internet has outpaced advancements in cybersecurity, creating vulnerabilities for both businesses and individual users. Given the heightened geopolitical tensions, there is an increased focus on this issue, necessitating the involvement of professional cybersecurity services, such as those provided by GuidePoint Security, to provide meticulous attention and robust protection.
This article overviews the cyber threat landscape in 2023 with quick tips for protection.
Table of Contents
What Affects Cybersecurity Landscape?
Cyber attacks primarily rely on the power of available technology. However, the influence lines overflow into the political, economic, and cultural spaces. Here are several key factors that contribute to the intensity of the current cybersecurity landscape:
- Power and sophistication of available technology (for example, the computing power coupled with advanced software features);
- Growing manufacturing of IoT (Internet of Things) devices;
- Hasty software releases with open vulnerabilities;
- Business industry dependence on third parties (Cloud services, SaaS contracts, etc.);
- The availability of cryptocurrency for criminal payouts;
- The availability of cybercriminals with skill sets for sophisticated cybercrime;
- Global repercussions of Russo-Ukrainian war;
- Intercontinental Covid-19 pandemic aftermath.
Global Cyber Threat Landscape 2023
As you can see from the list mentioned above, the influences vary from tech to human resources to global politics. Depending on the threat actors, the exact type and smoothness of cyber-attacks significantly differ. Below you will find the list of the most common threats for casual Internet users and businesses.
The list has been compiled using The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity cyber threat report 2021, with additional research corresponding to the worsened cybersecurity landscape at the beginning of this year. Where possible, we will provide quick tips for specific threat protection.
Data Breaches and Account Security
Social networks store billions of individual data units. Cybercriminals do their best to penetrate their cybersecurity protocols to acquire private information for further exploitation. For example, data leaks are often used to improve Phishing campaigns and increase their legitimacy with facts.
At the same time, Credential Stuffing attacks are widespread. Hackers exploit weak or reused passwords to target various online services. For example, a Facebook password data leak could be used to target Netflix, Spotify, and Disney+ accounts. If the same passwords were used for Facebook and another service, cybercriminals would take over the account and sell it on black markets.
Cybersecurity experts recommend limiting what you share over social media. Furthermore, you should trust your data only with social networks that provide advanced cybersecurity protection, such as end-to-end encryption. Regarding password security, password managers efficiently and quickly solve this problem. They will allow you to have dozens of different and complex passwords for all your services, storing them in a secure encrypted vault.
Phishing is a hacking method that heavily relies on social engineering. Frequently cybercriminals send tons of fraudulent letters disguised as something else. For example, Covid-19 Phishing scams soared during the lockdown, with cybercriminals impersonating healthcare officials. The possible damages range from barely noticeable (spyware infection with no sensitive data leak) to colossal (password leaks that lead to business network infection, as per the Colonial Pipeline example.) Other Phishing scams may include fraudulent telephone calls, SMS, mirror sites, etc.
Forming healthy online browsing habits significantly decreases the chance of falling victim to Phishing scams. You should be aware of letters with a sense of urgency and carefully inspect their backlinks and attachments before clicking on them. An Antivirus with real-time E-mail protection is advantageous. Education on the latest popular scams will give you an idea of what to look for.
Disinformation-Misinformation campaigns rely on technology to exploit social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc. The emergence of viral social networks contributed to the growth of “information bubbles.” They are semi-open spheres often defined by ideological and political affiliations designed to spread misinformation and mistrust in a particular region. For example, Russia uses bots on social networks like 9gag to spread false news regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war.
Education is of utmost importance when facing such campaigns. Moreover, bots can be identified by the account attributes: recent creation date, a mixture of subjective political and meme posts for “organic view,” VPN or proxy IP address.
Ransomware is one of the worst cyber threats capable of wreaking chaos on a city-level scale. These attacks penetrate targeted network security and start encrypting accessible data. It rapidly spreads throughout the network, encrypting each segment along the way. After it is done or stopped, a ransom note appears with specific demands, frequently demanding payments in cryptocurrency.
Ransomware depends on several critical factors. Firstly, advanced encryption algorithms require massive computing power. Computer network intrusion relies on high-level hacking knowledge and highly developed software. Ransom transfer security depends on crypto exchange networks and so on. Launching large-scale ransomware attacks require enormous resources, primarily available to nation-states. Once again, the recent spike in ransomware incidents is related to Russian ransomware gangs known for advanced hacking techniques and state-back support.
Ransomware attack protection is complex, but here are a few easy steps to begin with:
- Backup crucial information in safe storage units (preferably online and offline);
- Segment the network with healthy user permissions to limit the spread of malware;
- Establish a direct response team to issue a real-time action plan.
Is Antivirus enough to protect my device?
No. AntiVirus is a mandatory part of the broader cybersecurity toolkit. Alongside a reliable AV, you should use a VPN for public Wi-Fi protection, a password manager for account safety, and web browser security extensions.
I don't have anything to conceal, so why should I protect my data?
Data protection is not only about securing private life. Cybercriminals use personal information to improve their hacking techniques. Even if you have nothing to hide, they can target you with personalized Phishing letters and infect your device with viruses. That could make you lose important data you only store on your electronic devices.
Can I use free cybersecurity software?
Yes and no. Free cybersecurity software often lacks sufficient resources for robust online protection. However, some reputable companies provide free CySec software with monetized additional features. You should carefully go through reviews before signing up.
Should I protect my smartphone?
Yes. Over the last decade, hackers developed numerous smartphone hacking techniques. It's essential to be mindful of public Wi-Fi and suspicious SMS messages.
Your company’s cybersecurity procedures must be of a high standard if you want to maximize the return on your investments. Knowing and comprehending the cyber security strategy and hazard landscape is essential.
By doing this, you can be sure to incorporate a network of unparalleled security that will shield your company from online threats. It is always a good idea to use the best security tools available and seek advice and assistance from a certified cybercrime specialist.