Just as things seemed to be settling down post-pandemic, 2023 turned out to be a year of global political upheaval, conflict and climate catastrophe. Recession impacts and rising prices for business basics like electricity have seen closures rise and start-ups decline. Congratulations are in order if your organization still has its head above water.
The last thing any business needs in 2024 is a highly damaging and costly cyberattack or data leak. IBM’s 2023 Cost of a Data Breach report found, “The average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high in 2023 of 4.45 million US dollars,” having increased over 15 percent in the past three years.
Keeping track of how cyberthreats are changing and adjusting your cybersecurity strategy and resourcing accordingly will help businesses avoid the punishing cost of a breach. Here are some of the changing and new threats Kaspersky researchers think you should prepare for in 2024.
AI and other interconnected technologies – think augmented reality (AR,) 6G, data spaces and more – made a huge splash for business in 2023, and we’ll soon be releasing some exciting new research about the impact of their widespread adoption. On top of that, we think these changes will loom large for AI in 2024:
1. AI tools will make scams more convincing
Scammers use many techniques to get past our defenses. AI tools can now effortlessly create stunning images, even designing whole landing pages. Malicious actors will, of course, use these to craft more convincing materials for fraud, like fake marketing emails and login screens. Expect fraud-related cyberthreats to increase.
What to do about it: Improve your employee cybersecurity awareness education to help them become more vigilant to potentially fraudulent content. Use robust antivirus software to block scam emails and warn about suspicious websites.
2. Concerns about pre-trained AI models will rise
As more organizations start using AI chatbots and large language models (LLMs) to help professionals with their work, privacy and security concerns around the data fueling these models will rise, especially in large businesses that deal with a lot of information. And for good reason – training common LLMs often relies on public datasets containing sensitive information, raising uncertainty about whether corporate data fed into these models will stay confidential or be used to train the model further.
What to do about it: Businesses must adopt policies limiting how employees can use AI products and educate staff about these policies to reduce the risk of data leaks. They may also adopt Private Large Language Models (PLLMs) – these models are trained only with datasets owned by the organization using them.
3. AI regulation will ramp up
More countries and international organizations will join efforts to regulate AI in the coming year, especially African and Asian nations that are engaged in discussions but haven’t yet begun regulating AI domestically. Those already involved will expand regulation, adopting more specific rules, for example, around creating training datasets and using personal data.
With their experience developing and using AI, businesses can offer invaluable insight for discussions on AI regulation. Policymakers worldwide are actively seeking input from businesses, academia and the public on shaping AI governance.
In 2023, the Bletchley Declaration promoted greater uniformity in AI regulation. But with rising geopolitical tensions, cooperation between countries may reduce, derailing efforts to keep it consistent.
What to do about it: Ensure your business is staying ahead of developments in regulation and planning for how it will comply. Take opportunities to get involved in developing AI regulation.
Financial services threats
4. Fraudsters will target direct payment systems
Cybercriminals will exploit increasingly popular direct payment systems like Brazil’s Pix, the US’s FedNow and India’s UPI for fraud. We’ll also see more clipboard malware – malware that steals data users copy to their clipboard – designed to attack new direct payment systems. Mobile banking trojans will increasingly exploit these systems as a quick and efficient means of cashing out ill-gotten gains.
What to do about it: Direct payment systems have enormous benefits for business but must be appropriately secured. Businesses can also educate customers to help reduce their likelihood of accidentally downloading clipboard malware or mobile banking trojans – often disguised as legitimate apps in trusted app stores.
5. Mobile Automated Transfer Systems (ATS) will spread worldwide
Mobile Automated Transfer System (ATS) attacks are fairly new and involve banking malware making fraudulent transactions when the user logs in to their banking app. Mobile ATS has only been seen in Brazilian malware types but could go global in 2024.
What to do about it: Those who make banking apps must ensure their security is capable of defending against Mobile ATS.
6. Brazilian banking trojans will also keep spreading
Cybercrime originating from Brazil is well-known to be growing. As many Eastern European cybercriminals have shifted focus to ransomware, Brazilian banking trojans will fill the void left by desktop banking trojans. Trojan Grandoreiro has already targeted more than 900 banks in 40 countries.
Grandoreiro attacks start with a malicious link in a phishing email, including fake shared documents, utility bills and tax forms. It then harvests data using keyloggers, screen-grabbers or overlays on online banking login pages.
What to do about it: Despite the growing sophistication, cybersecurity awareness education still helps employees and customers avoid falling prey to phishing. Businesses must also make sure users feel comfortable reporting their suspicions.
Advanced persistent threats
7. Creative exploits of wearables and smart devices will grow
In 2023, Kaspersky discovered Operation Triangulation – a stealthy new espionage campaign targeting Apple devices. Kaspersky’s investigation found five vulnerabilities in Apple’s operating systems that affect everything Apple – from smartphones to wearable devices to smart home gadgets like Apple TV and Apple Watch.
In 2024, we’ll see more advanced attacks on consumer devices and smart home technology, including other operating systems.
Devices like smart home cameras and connected car systems are attractive for threat actors because of their surveillance potential and tendency to run on outdated software, which makes them easier to attack.
What to do about it: Secure your business Internet of Things (IoT) devices and ensure that if they don’t need to connect to the internet, they don’t.
8. Supply chain attacks-as-a-service: Bulk-buying access
There is a growing trend of attacking businesses through their suppliers. Small and medium companies that may lack advanced protection become gateways for hackers to access the data and infrastructure of big players. 2022 and 2023 saw breaches through identity management company Okta, which serves over 18,000 customers worldwide.
What to do about it: Supply chain attacks expert Eliza-May Austin has great advice on preventing supply chain attacks in this Tomorrow Unlocked video:
9. More attacks on Managed File Transfer systems
Managed File Transfer (MFT) systems that let businesses securely exchange sensitive information with partners have become a cornerstone of organizational efficiency. But housing confidential information like intellectual property, financial records and customer data puts them in the crosshairs of cyber adversaries.
What to do about it: Undertake comprehensive reviews of your MFT solutions to identify and reduce security weaknesses. Implement robust Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions, encrypt sensitive data and build a cybersecurity awareness culture among employees.
With attention to where threats will likely grow, the year ahead need not be daunting for business. From getting ahead of AI regulation to improved cybersecurity awareness education, organizations of all sizes can stay secure even as threats grow.