News & Analysis

Expect a Sharp Rise in Cyberattacks

Global cybersecurity solutions provider Check Point predicts a continued sharp rise in ransomware exploits and state-mobilized hacktivism during 2023, which could be rendered even more critical by the rising gap in the global cyber workforce. Currently, projected at 3.4 million, this gap could widen further over the next 12 months. 


In a series of predictions released by the cybersecurity company, Check Point said industry attacks across sectors increased by 28% during Q3 of 2022 compared to a year ago, and said it expected this trend to continue into the New Year as well. It welcomed government initiatives across the world to introduce new cyber-regulations to protect their citizens against breaches. 


In 2022 cyber criminals and state-linked threat actors continued to exploit organizations’ hybrid working practices, and the increase in these attacks is showing no signs of slowing as the Russia – Ukraine conflict continues to have a profound impact globally. Organizations need to consolidate and automate their security infrastructure to enable them to better monitor and manage their attack surfaces and prevent all types of threat with less complexity and less demand on staff resources. 


Check Point’s cybersecurity predictions for 2023 fall into four categories: malware and phishing; hacktivism; emerging Government regulations;  and security consolidation.


Hikes in malware and hacking exploits


  • No respite from ransomware:  this was the leading threat to organizations in the first half of 2022, and the ransomware ecosystem will continue to evolve and grow with smaller, more agile criminal groups forming to evade law enforcement.


  • Compromising collaboration tools:  while phishing attempts against business and personal email accounts are an everyday threat, in 2023 criminals will widen their aim to target business collaboration tools such as Slack, Teams, OneDrive and Google Drive with phishing exploits.  These are a rich source of sensitive data given most organizations’ employees continue to often work remotely.  


Hacktivism and deepfakes evolve


  • State-mobilized hacktivism:  in the past year, hacktivism has evolved from social groups with fluid agendas (such as Anonymous) to state-backed groups that are more organized, structured and sophisticated.  Such groups have attacked targets in the US, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Poland and Japan recently, and these ideological attacks will continue to grow in 2023.


  • Weaponizing deep fakes:  in October 2022, A deepfake of U.S. President Joe Biden singing ‘Baby Shark’ instead of the national anthem was circulated widely.  Was this a joke, or an attempt to influence the important U.S. mid-term elections?  Deepfakes technology will be increasingly used to target and manipulate opinions, or to trick employees into giving up access credentials.


Governments step up measures to protect citizens


  • New laws around data breaches: The breach at Australian telco Optus has driven the country’s Government to introduce new data breach regulations that other telcos must follow, to protect customers against subsequent fraud.  We will see other Governments following this example in 2023, in addition to existing measures such as GDPR.


  • New national cybercrime task forces:  More Governments will follow Singapore’s example of setting up inter-agency task forces to counter ransomware and cybercrime, bringing businesses, state departments and law enforcement together to combat the growing threat to commerce and consumers.  These efforts are partially a result of questions over whether the cyber-insurance sector can be relied upon as a safety net for cyber incidents.


  • Mandating security and privacy by design:  the automotive industry has already moved to introduce measures to protect the data of vehicle owners.  This example will be followed in other areas of consumer goods that store and process data, holding manufacturers accountable for vulnerabilities in their products.


Consolidation matters


  • Cutting complexity to reduce risks:  the global cyber-skills gap grew by over 25% in 2022. Yet organizations have more complex, distributed networks and cloud deployments than ever before because of the pandemic. Security teams need to consolidate their IT and security infrastructures to improve their defences and reduce their workload, to help them stay ahead of threats. Over two-thirds of CISOs stated that working with fewer vendors’ solutions would increase their company’s security.


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