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Will digitalization turn to be a catch-22 for cybersecurity in 2022?

 As organizations became increasingly interconnected globally, every business started adapting to the digital model for all their transactions, fearing that otherwise they would be left behind in the race. Unfortunately, this has turned out to be a catch-22 as threats to cybersecurity are continually increasing.
The rise in attacks was partly due to Log4j that helped to boost the cyberattack attempts to an all-time high in Q4 2021. The year 2021 was tricky, as some of the organizations were slow to adapt to the new security climate. Businesses suffered 50% more cyberattack attempts per week in 2021.
While the threat of ransomware attacks hangs like a sword of Damocles, let’s take a look at what is in store for the cybersecurity world as we progress in the year 2022.

Cybercrime is all set to increase

According to the Accenture Security report, 2021, there is a triple-digit increase in intrusion volume. The findings of the report show that there has been a 125% increase in incident volume year-over-year, impacting every industry and geography. This is due to increased cybercrime actors, targeted ransomware, extortion operations, and supply chain intrusions.

Though ransomware isn’t new, it continued to reign supreme and is expected to retain a pole position in 2022. While many large enterprises suffered breaches, small and medium businesses will be an easier target as they lack resources and security expertise. While all sectors will be affected, and as always, the least protected ones will be hit hardest as this is the area the hackers have their best ROI.

The home office makes it easy for hackers

Covid-19 has turned homes into offices and everyone works from home at their convenience using their own device. Cybercriminals are changing their tactics and are now targeting people in their homes, which in many cases, is now their office too.

As working from home becomes the new normal, it has opened the flood gates of data theft and increased cyber risks. Safeguarding their intellectual property is not the only threat to businesses, they now see employees as the weak link in the cybersecurity chain.

ALSO READ | The Top Cybersecurity Trends to Watch in 2022

Cybersecurity talent drought will become worse

The lack of cybersecurity personnel is going to get worse as ransomware, data breaches, and other cyberattacks are continue to increase. Many businesses will find it difficult to protect their networks and data. The lookout for cybersecurity staff will be on the increase. Big IT giants like IBM, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple have an ambitious goal to increase in this area while smaller organizations will hire graduates from local schools.

Supply chain cyberattacks will become more corporatized

Supply chain attacks can take down an entire organization’s supply chain and services, resulting in massive business disruptions. Cybercriminals will realize that supply chain attacks cause maximum disruption, and once inside the trusted networks, the hardest part of the job is already handled. Thus, supply chain attacks will be more commoditized or corporatized.

More Connected devices, more attacks

The Internet of Things is inevitable. We can expect more IoT devices, more connections, and more cyberattacks. The proliferation of such minimally protected devices can increase threat vectors and hackers can attack through these vulnerable devices.

The role of CISO just got bigger

Many organizations are beginning to realize the importance of a good cybersecurity strategy. The CISOs are involved more closely and liaison between the management and the team. They have to report more often and develop new security concepts.

The CISOs and their team play an important role in cybersecurity training. The new cybersecurity laws have also upped the responsibility of the CISOs. Cybersecurity spending will increase.

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the global spending on cybersecurity products and services will reach $1.75 trillion cumulatively for the five years from 2021 to 2025. New structures and new staff must be aligned with the widespread goals of the organization.

Law enforcement will be beefed up

Law enforcement agencies have stepped up their efforts and many cybersecurity laws are being imposed. Many of the cybersecurity laws enacted worldwide aim at not only protecting governments and organizations against cyberattacks but also safeguarding citizens’ data.

While many laws are already existing in European countries, China is a new entrant with its Personal Information Protection law which is a comprehensive legal attempt to regulate the storage, transfer, and processing of personal information. India too has tabled its own personal information protection law.

Small and Medium-sized companies need to be on guard

Cyberattacks on all businesses, but particularly small and medium-sized businesses, are becoming more frequent, more targeted, and complex. According to Accenture’s Cost of Cybercrime study, 43% of the attacks were aimed at small businesses, but only 14% were prepared to face the attacks.

While small and medium-sized companies are already struggling to establish themselves, a cyberattack will cause the organization not only financial loss but also reputational damage.

Therefore, small and medium-sized businesses have to engage with managed security providers, security operation centers, cyber defense centers, or CERTS, to prepare use cases and to enter into a professional partnership for normal business working or in case of an attack. If the right time is missed, the cost of damage will be expensive.

Quantum computing will make an entry

The breakthrough will be small in the beginning but more products will take advantage of the peculiar properties of quantum mechanics to do things like factor large numbers quickly or break current cryptography within a few years. This will be a challenge and requires a wholesale rethinking of how to protect our data.

Conclusion

2022 is quite a year ahead. Complacency is not an option as cyberattacks will become even more common resulting in massive business disruptions. Security must be adapted to the new situation and extraordinary risks must be minimized with partnerships.

The catch-22 business leaders face in 2022 is that if the business doesn’t undergo digital transformation there is a risk of being left behind and if it does there is an inherent and increased risk of cybercrime.

The year 2021 was slow to adapt to the new security climate, the sooner businesses adapt strategies, policies, technologies, and form useful partnerships, it will be better in the long run. Organizations should act now to avoid disappointments later!

References:

  1. Security – what will we face in 2022? – Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hämmerli
  2. Triple digit increase in cyberattacks: What next?

  3. Cybercrime To Cost The World $10.5 Trillion Annually By 2025

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