Wed | Dec 7, 2022 | 3:09 PM PST

As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, cybersecurity remains a top priority for individuals, businesses, and governments alike.

From advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) to the continued evolution of ransomware and cyberattacks, the coming year is sure to bring significant developments in the world of cybersecurity. It will be crucial for everyone to stay informed and prepared.

Let's take a look at what the experts are saying should be on everyone's mind as we enter a new year.

Artificial Intelligence will be crucial

People have been saying that the evolution of AI will be key for cybersecurity, and everything else, for years now. But 2023 might be the year it all comes to fruition.

AI can be used to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, making it a valuable tool for detecting and preventing cyberattacks. In 2023, experts predict we will see even more widespread adoption of AI in cybersecurity.

One of the key ways that AI will be used is through the development of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms. These algorithms will be able to learn and adapt to changing patterns in cyber threats, allowing them to detect and respond to attacks in real time. 

In addition to improving the ability to detect and prevent cyber attacks, AI will also play a key role in automating many of the tedious and time-consuming tasks associated with cybersecurity. This will allow security professionals to focus on more important tasks, helping to improve the overall efficiency of cybersecurity operations.

If you have not already heard, OpenAI recently launched a new chatbot, called ChatGPT, that has tremendous potential to ease workloads for everyone. The bot can be used for almost anything, from answering simple questions to writing music or reports—even detecting vulnerabilities in code and helping write software. 

Many end-users have already gone to Twitter to share the capabilities they are discovering.

Though, the development of AI is sort of a double-edged sword. As cyber professionals continue to adopt the technology, so will malicious threat actors. It will be crucial to watch this development, as hackers continue to successfully use AI in cyberattacks. Scott Register, VP of Security Solutions at Keysight Technologies, discusses this trend:

"Deepfake technology to date has resulted in political confusion, internet chatter, and some amusing mashup videos, but expect this to change in the near term. Security experts have warned for years about the possibility of social engineering attacks with deepfakes, and the technology has matured enough for 2023 to see hackers successfully leverage it.

We will see an increase in image generation, generated audio, and conversations that appear realistic, designed to trick recipients into sharing personal data or other sensitive information. The deepfake threat isn't relegated solely to consumers; we'll likely see threat actors spoof a Fortune 100 CEO in an attempt to defraud or otherwise damage the organization."

Cybersecurity skills shortage will continue

One of the biggest challenges facing the cybersecurity industry is a skills and labor shortage. There is a high demand for qualified cybersecurity professionals, but there is a limited supply of people with the necessary skills and expertise.

(ISC)2 reported earlier this year that there is a shortage of about 3.4 million cybersecurity jobs worldwide. This has led to a competitive job market and has made it difficult for businesses to find, hire, and retain the talent they need to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

In 2023, we can expect this skills and labor shortage to continue. As the need for effective cybersecurity measures grows, the demand for qualified professionals is likely to increase, as well. This will put even more pressure on businesses to find and hire the talent they need to protect themselves from cyber threats.

A recent ISACA survey found that approximately 60% of organizations experienced difficulties in retaining qualified cybersecurity professionals and more than 50% felt they were either somewhat or significantly understaffed.

To address this skills and labor shortage, many businesses are turning to training and development programs to help develop the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. By investing in employee training, businesses can help to build the necessary skills and expertise within their own organizations, rather than having to compete for outside talent in the job market.

Asymmetric cyberattacks will continue to rise

Asymmetric cyberattacks are a growing threat in the world of cybersecurity. Unlike traditional cyberattacks, which are typically carried out by large groups or organizations, asymmetric attacks are typically carried out by individuals or small groups. These attackers use a wide range of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), making it difficult for traditional security measures to defend against them.

One of the key characteristics of asymmetric attacks is that they often target smaller, less well-protected organizations. These attacks are designed to exploit vulnerabilities in these organizations' security systems, allowing the attackers to gain access to sensitive information or disrupt operations.

Casey Ellis, Founder and CTO at Bugcrowd, discusses the rising threat of asymmetric cyberattacks:

"Cybercriminals are motivated by money, while nation-states are motivated by national interests. So, while neither of these adversaries play by the rules, both of their actions are somewhat predictable. The most dangerous aspect, in my opinion, is that most security organizations have spent the last five-plus years developing symmetric defensive strategies based on such threat actors with reasonably well-defined goals. However, when a chaotic threat actor is introduced into the mix, the game tilts and becomes asymmetric.

For example, consider the attacks we saw earlier this year by the extortion group Lapsus$, which were focused on opportunistic data thefts and subsequent threats to publicly release the stolen data. My main concern about Lapsus$ and other similar actors is that defenders haven't really been preparing for this type of threat for quite some time. Lapsus$ relies heavily on social engineering to gain an initial foothold, so assessing your organization’s readiness for social engineering threats, both on the human training and technical control levels, is a prudent precaution to take here.

While the stated goals of Lapsus$ and Anonymous/Antisec/Lulzsec are very different, I believe they will behave similarly as threat actors in the future. The evolution of Anonymous in the early 2010s saw various sub-groups and actors rise to prominence, then fade away, to be replaced by others who replicated and doubled down on successful techniques. Perhaps Lapsus$ has vanished completely and forever, but as a defender, I wouldn't rely on this as my primary defensive strategy against this type of chaotic threat."

To defend against asymmetric attacks, businesses and individuals will need to adopt a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. This will involve implementing robust security systems, training employees to recognize and respond to potential threats, and regularly monitoring and updating security measures to stay ahead of evolving threats. By taking these steps, businesses and individuals can protect themselves from the growing threat of asymmetric cyberattacks.

Cyber insurance trends in 2023

As the three previous trends discussed how certain aspects of the cybersecurity industry will continue to grow in 2023, expect the same from the cyber insurance market.

If cyberattacks continue to rise, then the cyber insurance market will continue to evolve and change in order to meet the needs of policyholders.

One key change that may occur is the development of new and more specialized policies. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, it is likely that insurers will begin to offer policies that are tailored to specific industries and types of businesses in order to provide more targeted coverage.

Another change that may occur in the cyber insurance market in 2023 is the adoption of new technologies and risk management strategies by insurers. As the use of technology in the insurance industry grows, it is likely that insurers will begin to use AI, ML, and other advanced technologies to assess and manage cyber risk more effectively.

Scott Register, again, discusses with SecureWorld:

"Historically, cyber insurers have embraced a yes/no approach to coverage based on the company's maturity level and the types of threats facing the organization. Expect this to evolve in 2023, with insurance companies declining to cover more enterprises and also introducing risk-based pricing in response to the dynamic threat environment. I believe we'll see more exemption clauses denying coverage for ransomware and other specific attack types."

Fostering workforce security education at all levels reduces risk

Over the last couple of years, it has become evident that a priority for organizations has been educating its own workforce on security to better protect against all types of cyber threats and risks.

In order to build a security-aware culture within an organization, it is imperative for employees to be educated on a wide range of topics, including best practices for password management, identifying phishing attacks, and protecting sensitive information.

Organizations will need to invest in comprehensive training programs that are designed to educate employees on the latest threats and how to protect against them.

In order to stay ahead of the latest threats, employees need to be regularly updated on new risks and how to protect against them. Things like in-person training sessions, online courses, and regular reminders and updates from security teams will be key.

Another important aspect of building a security-aware culture is the need to engage employees at all levels of the organization. To effectively protect an organization from cyber threats, it is important for everyone from senior executives to entry-level employees be actively involved in the process. 

Lance Spitzner, a senior instructor with SANS Institute, shared his thoughts on how workforce education can reduce cyber risks:

"Managing risk is no longer just a technological challenge, it is also a people challenge. Security leaders will start integrating human risk management into their overall security strategy. 

As such, we expect to see leaders elevating their security awareness teams to be far more integrated and playing a more strategic role within cybersecurity, focusing not on compliance but truly enabling and securing their workforce."

What do you think of these trends as we head into 2023? Let us know in the comments below.

And for an in-depth look at the evolving threat landscape, particularly for email attack vectors, join our eSummit event on December 13, 2022. Attendees can earn 6 CPE credits by participating in Vision 2023: Looking Ahead at Cyber Threats, which will be available on-demand following the live date.

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