Emerging Cyberthreats in 2024

March 6, 2024 by
Mark Nash

The global average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, representing an increase of 15% over the past three years. Now firmly in 2024, it's crucial to be aware of emerging technology threats that could potentially disrupt and harm your business. Technology continues to evolve at an increasing pace, bringing new opportunities and challenges for businesses and individuals alike. However, some of those innovations can pose serious threats to our digital security, privacy, and safety. In this article, we'll highlight some emerging technology threats to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

Data Poisoning Attacks

Data poisoning is the malicious practice of corrupting datasets that are used to train AI models to skew the algorithms' outcomes. These attacks aim to trick users into making incorrect decisions in critical sectors like healthcare or finance that hackers can exploit. In order to protect against these types of attacks, it is vital to safeguard the integrity of AI's training data and implement robust validation mechanisms. Additionally, businesses should use AI-generated data cautiously, and it should be heavily augmented by human intelligence and data from other sources.

5G Network Vulnerabilities

The widespread adoption of 5G technology has also come with the unfortunate downside of introducing new attack surfaces, especially with an increased number of connected devices. IoT devices reliant on 5G networks are likely targets for cyberattacks. Securing these devices and implementing strong network security protocols is imperative to prevent large-scale attacks. Additionally, ensure your business has a mobile device management strategy that can track and manage any devices that are able to access business data.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Manipulation

AI has the potential to be a major transformative force in society, both for better and worse. Cybercriminals are already exploiting AI algorithms to spread misinformation, create convincing deepfakes, and automate phishing attacks. Vigilance is essential in order to identify AI-driven threats as they continue to become more sophisticated, and it becomes harder to discern genuine from malicious AI-generated content.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Exploits

AR and VR technologies offer the potential for incredibly immersive experiences that could have all sorts of benefits. However, like any new technology, we must consider what vulnerabilities they might present and how they might be exploited. Ensuring the security of AR and VR applications is crucial to prevent user manipulation and privacy breaches, especially in sectors like gaming, education, and healthcare.

Ransomware Evolves

Ransomware attacks have evolved beyond just encrypting your data to hold it for ransom. Threat actors now use double extortion tactics where they steal sensitive data before encrypting the original files. Then, if the victims refuse to pay the ransom (which is the correct choice; you should never pay the ransom), hackers leak or sell this data, causing reputational damage. Some defenses against this evolved ransomware threat include:

  • Robust backup solutions
  • Regular cybersecurity training
  • Proactive threat hunting

Supply Chain Attacks Persist

Supply chain attacks remain a persistent threat, with cybercriminals infiltrating third-party vendors or software providers to compromise larger targets. Strengthening supply chain cybersecurity is critical in preventing cascading cyber incidents. Businesses can do this through rigorous vendor assessments, multi-factor authentication, and continuous monitoring.

Biometric Data Vulnerability

Biometric authentication methods, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, are becoming commonplace. While it is far more difficult for them to be compromised, it's not impossible, and users can't change biometric data once compromised like they can passwords. Protect biometric data through secure encryption or ensure service providers follow strict privacy regulations. These are paramount to preventing identity theft and fraud.

Advanced Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are one of the oldest and most common forms of cyberattacks, and as such, have had some of the most time to become more advanced. This issue is only being further exacerbated by AI, which hackers use to customize spear phishing attacks to a specific individual or organization. They do this using personal or professional information found publicly available online, frequently from social media profiles. AI deepfake technology is even enabling vishing attacks. These use voice calls or voice assistants to impersonate legitimate entities and trick their victims. Ongoing employee phishing training is vital, alongside automated solutions to detect and defend against phishing threats.

Tips for Defending Against These Threats

As technology evolves, so do the threats that we face. Thus, it's essential to be vigilant and proactive in protecting ourselves. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Regularly educate yourself and others about the latest technology threats and how to avoid them.
  • Use strong passwords and multi-factor authentication for all online accounts.
  • Regularly update your software and devices to fix any security vulnerabilities.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments in emails or messages.
  • Verify the identity and legitimacy of any callers or senders. Do this before providing any information or taking any actions.
  • Back up your data regularly to prevent data loss from a cyberattack.
  • Invest in a reliable cyber insurance policy that covers your specific needs and risks.
  • Report any suspicious or malicious activity to the relevant authorities.