More Cyberattack Surfaces and Improving Hacker Capabilities Spell Trouble for Businesses

MAY 9TH, 2023

We took great interest in a recent Forbes article by Chuck Brooks about 2023 cybersecurity trends. Brooks is an expert in cybersecurity and emerging technologies and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Graduate Cybersecurity Risk Management Program. He says there is “more treachery and risk ahead” as more attack surfaces are exposed, and hackers get more sophisticated.

Ransomware still tops the list of attack types, with 66 percent of respondents to the Sophos State of Ransomware 2022 study reporting that their organization had been hit by ransomware the previous year. Meanwhile, KPMG’s 2022 survey of 600 executives across multiple industries in North and Latin America found that a cyberattack had impacted 83 percent of their organizations in the previous 12 months.

But threats and costs don’t only come from the outside. The same KPMG study reported that 71 percent of those organizations had experienced internal or external fraud, and 55 percent had suffered losses due to regulatory fines or a compliance breach in the prior 12 months.

Focus On Cyberattack Vectors, Leverage AI for Good

Brooks writes that for 2023 and beyond, organizations need to focus on the cyberattack surface and vectors to figure out how to mitigate threats and ensure data resiliency and effective recovery capabilities.

He notes that the Metaverse is one example of a new attack vector to watch, while hackers are now using AI tools like ChatGPT to develop advanced attacks. But Brooks also points out that AI and machine learning (ML) can be used for predicting threats and mitigating risks. It seems likely that there will be a constant battle between cybercriminals’ AI innovations and AI-developed prevention measures. He also notes that the growth of the internet of things (IoT) has opened up many new exploitation opportunities for the bad guys.

Open Source Adds Cybersecurity Risks

Electronic design automation company Synopsys’ 2023 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis Report found that 84 percent of open source codebases contain at least one vulnerability. That’s a massive problem, given that 97 percent of apps and 90 percent of companies use open-source code.

To avoid the potential consequences of these vulnerabilities, Brooks recommends continually updating open source code by relying on a software bill of materials (SBOM). The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) says SBOMs—a nested inventory/list of all the ingredients that make up software components—have emerged as a critical building block in software security and software supply chain risk management.  

Phishing Continues to Catch More Victims

Brooks writes that phishing is still the tool of choice for many hackers, with Cisco finding that 86 percent of organizations had experienced a phishing attack in 2022. A report from Lookout found that cybercriminals used Microsoft’s brand name the most in phishing attacks, with over 30 million messages using its branding or mentioning its products.

Meanwhile, a Proofpoint survey found that 76 percent of organizations were targeted by a ransomware attack in 2022, with 64 percent of those attacks successfully infecting the target organization. The same survey found that only 50 percent of these victims got their data back after the attack.

Brooks advises that to protect against phishing and ransomware, you should back up your data in an encrypted format on a segmented device. More on that later.

Business Email Compromise and Fraud are Trending, Too

Business email compromise (BEC) is big business for cybercriminals. Brooks shares research by cybersecurity company Trellix that found a 64 percent increase in impersonation emails from Q3 to Q4 2022. And 75 percent of organizations worldwide reported an attempted BEC attack the previous year. The vast majority—78 percent—involved fake emails from CEOs using common email phrases.

Here, Brooks advises organizations to develop a corporate risk management strategy that includes people, processes, and technologies. First on the list is backing up all enterprise data—including email. Solutions like Arcserve SaaS Backup and Arcserve UDP are two options worth looking into. Brooks also recommends employing threat intelligence such as intrusion and detection systems (IDS), firewalls, and so on. He also mentions identity access management (IAM).

It's worth considering going beyond IAM to a zero-trust cybersecurity approach to protect your data. This multi-layered strategy can include role-based access controls (RBAC), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and more.

Brooks adds that your risk management approach must also include knowing your technology inventory, where your vulnerability gaps lie, integrating cybersecurity hygiene practices, and putting an appropriate cyber tool stack in place.

3-2-1-1: Immutability Makes the Data Protection Difference

We agree with Brooks’ take on the state of cybersecurity today and what you should do about it. Employing the 3-2-1-1 backup strategy is an important step to protect your data and ensure it can be recovered no matter what.

The strategy is simple: keep three copies of your data (one primary and two backups); store two copies locally on two formats (network-attached storage, tape, or local drive) and one copy offsite in the cloud or secure storage.

The last “1” stands for immutability. Immutable backups are saved in a write-once-read-many-times (WORM) format that can’t be altered or deleted. So you can be confident that your backups are safeguarded from encryption or deletion by ransomware, a hacker breach, or otherwise compromised.

Get Expert Help Fighting Back

Addressing many potential vulnerabilities while considering your data protection options can be overwhelming. That’s where Arcserve technology partners enter the picture. They offer you the expertise in data protection and cybersecurity you need to fight back against cybercrime.

Find an Arcserve technology partner here. To learn more about Arcserve products, check out our on-demand demos.

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