Top cybersecurity predictions of 2024

2023 was the year geopolitical and economic clouds collided, and as we look to 2024, we are still experiencing the fallout. State actors continue to play a major part, with The Big Four —China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran— seen as the worst and most aggressive offenders. In the face of mounting complexity and evolving attacks, the cry for sophisticated and integrated security was heard from organisations across the UK last year, and it will no doubt continue in 2024. Standing at the crossroads of unparalleled challenges and pioneering technology, organisations are preparing for the battle ahead. We explore three key cybersecurity predictions and trends to arm security leaders for the year ahead.

1. Rise in Ransomware Attacks

Holding steady last year, ransomware continues to be a persistent threat in 2024. Larger organisations remain the top target, especially the education and healthcare sector. However, the threats faced by the mid-market cannot be underestimated. These data-rich organisations are truly in cybercriminals’ crosshairs.

The dangers faced by these organisations mirror their enterprise counterparts, although with a fraction of the resources to defend themselves. Internal budgets and the skills shortage will continue to plague them, making the potential for disruption and financial loss significant. Organisations need to prioritise robust backup solutions, employee training and vulnerability assessments to mitigate the impact of ransomware.

2. Increase of AI-Powered Attacks

The democratization of AI has been a game-changer in the world of cyberattacks, and will continue in 2024. Now, more than ever, bad actors can easily manipulate the power of AI to automate and advance attacks.

Over half (53%) of global IT decision makers are concerned about ChatGPT’s ability to help hackers craft more believable phishing emails. Generative AI (GenAI) and large language modules (LLMs) are giving hackers the helping hand they need to create highly persuasive content for their phishing, SMS and other social engineering attacks. To counter this, organisations must harness the power of AI themselves to stay one step ahead of these evolving threats.

3. AI as a Cyber Security Tool

It’s unsurprising then, that Forrester’s forecast revealed cybersecurity is the fastest-growing AI software category. Organisations are crying out for a way to fight the rising tides of cyberattacks, and significant investments are being made to harness the power of AI. This will be to not only strengthen detection and response capabilities, but also speed up analysis and other time-consuming tasks.

In 2024, the focus for AI is expected to be predictive analytics and proactive threat mitigation. By harnessing the power of machine learning and data analysis, AI systems can anticipate potential vulnerabilities and threats before they materialise, enabling a more proactive security posture even with the skills shortage.

Conclusion

Thor’s hammer was credited with having the power “as a weapon to destroy or as a tool to build”. Organisations now face the same test. In 2024, new technologies will aid security teams, but also expand their attack surface.

The rapidly evolving world of AI will give defenders the tools to strengthen their defences, reduce alert overload and close the widening skills gap. At the same time, it will provide attackers with new ways to conduct convincing phishing campaigns and cyberattacks at scale. It’s up to organisations to take the good with the bad, and ensure they are not only equipped with the latest technological advances but also adopt a proactive and dynamic approach to cybersecurity.

This means investing in continuous employee education and awareness programs, staying abreast of the latest cyber threats and trends, and ensuring that cybersecurity measures are integrated into every aspect of the business. It’s no longer sufficient to have a static defence strategy; organisations must be agile and able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing cyber threat landscape. Collaboration and information sharing among businesses, security experts, and governments will also play a crucial role in defending against sophisticated cyberattacks.

In conclusion, as we navigate the complex cybersecurity landscape of 2024, organisations must balance the power of new technologies with the responsibility of using them wisely. By embracing AI’s potential while being acutely aware of its risks, we can hope to stay a step ahead of cybercriminals. The future of cybersecurity is not just about the tools we use but how we choose to use them.

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