While 2021 presented some of the greatest security challenges in decades, it has also prompted government and industry leaders to prioritize cybersecurity.
As we turn to 2022, here are the top ten challenges facing CISOs in the new year.
To generate this list, we analyzed internal Silent Breach data, discussions with clients and industry leaders, as well as a general review of global trends, technologies, and threats.
In many ways, 2021 served as a proof of concept for hackers. The JBS and Colonial Pipeline attacks demonstrated the massive scope and high financial gains that can be realized through a single ransomware attack. 2022 will bring a tidal wave of similar copy-cat attacks.
Ransomware has already proven itself to be one of the fastest growing attack strategies, with attackers making off with more money in the first quarter of 2021 than in all of 2019. According to data published by the US Treasury, over half a billion dollars in ransomware payments were paid during the first half of 2021 alone, and this number is expected to climb further in 2022.
2. Supply Chain Attacks
According to a recent survey of 1,200 security leaders across a dozen industries, over 90% of organizations have suffered a security breach due to vulnerabilities in their supply chain. Pair this with the fact that the average vendor ecosystem now includes over 3,700 companies (up from 1,013 in 2020), and it's no surprise that supply chain cyberattacks have quadrupled in the last year.
For example, the Kaseya attack disrupted operations at 1000s of downstream companies, demonstrating once again that who is attacked is often far more important than how they're attacked. As software stacks and dependencies balloon, hackers will spend 2022 searching for key supply chain operators to take down. As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
3. Growing Attack Surface
Unfortunately, organizations across nearly every sector are still struggling to secure their public-facing applications. In 2021, Silent Breach security consultants found that 92% of web applications tested contained serious or critical security flaws.
A major contributor to this trend lies in the fact that, for most organizations, their attack surface continues to grow rapidly. CISOs are finding that they must defend against cyberattacks on multiple fronts: web, mobile, social, physical, wireless, and cloud, to name just a few.
4. Hybrid Work
Millions of businesses are continuing their remote or hybrid work policies going into 2022. Consequently, the usual network and endpoint protections that served as the frontline defenses are no longer sufficient. Employees now work off of home WiFi networks, personal devices, and under unsupervised conditions.
As we turn toward 2022, it seems that remote work is here to stay, at least for the near future. Over the last year, CISOs have taken steps to address these security gaps, but securing remote working conditions will remain a major challenge for the cybersecurity industry throughout 2022.
5. Lack of Threat Intelligence / Analytics
Capturing data is no longer the issue. Now, the challenge is to comb through and analyze it all. Those who excel at data analytics will be able to stay ahead of the curve and have far more visibility into their network's health, activity, and needs.
Building out your organization's AI/ML capabilities will be key here. Industry reports indicate that investments in AI/ML-powered security solutions will increase by double digits compared to 2020. For example, Silent Breach's Quantum Armor combs through numerous threat intelligence sources (from security agencies like NATO, dark web data dumps, and IOCs from our industry partners) and cross-references these against our clients' cloud logs.
6. Nation-State Attacks
2021 has seen many blatant cyberattacks committed by nation-states, either directly or through intermediaries. The China-backed group, HAFNIUM, spearheaded the attack that compromised Microsoft Exchange Server. Meanwhile, Russian groups such as REvil, DarkSide, and Nobelium, were responsible for the SolarWinds, JBS, Kaseya, and Colonial Pipeline attacks. And similar, if smaller, attacks were launched by North Korea, Iran, and others.
While there is little that individual companies can do to counter these groups, a coordinated effort both at the industry level as well as at law enforcement agencies will be required. CISOs should expect to see increased regulations around breach disclosures, data protections, and vendor approval requirements.
7. Quantum Computing
While Quantum Computing is still in its infancy, advancements at Google and IBM indicate that standard RSA encryption will no longer be secure by the end of the decade and possibly even sooner. It's high time, then, that security professionals begin planning for post-quantum future.
While the NSA does not advise companies to begin transitioning to Quantum Resistant Cryptography just yet, they have released an interim policy to help guide organizations in the meantime.
Due to the ease of exploitation and prevalence across enterprise applications, the Log4j vulnerability is considered to be one of the most severe software flaws identified in decades.
While it remains difficult to determine the full extent of the compromise, nearly a third of all web servers in the world employ the vulnerable code. These include popular enterprise and consumer technologies such as Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Oracle, Cisco, Google, and Minecraft. U.S. officials estimate that hundreds of millions of devices have been exposed and that more than 4,000,000 hacking attempts have been made to date, nearly half of which were conducted by malicious groups.
9. Phishing Emails
Phishing emails are by far the most common and successful route for attackers. And increasingly, attackers will pose as a legitimate third-party vendor. According to a recent estimate by the World Economic Forum, 70% of sales representatives still fall prey to phishing emails during attack simulations.
While automated tools can lend a hand here, it's important to introduce cyber-awareness into the company culture. Fortunately, the WEF found a 9-fold reduction in successful phishing attacks once a company began conducting regular phishing drills.
10. Endpoint Security
Endpoint security will remain a major challenge for the foreseeable future, but stringent frameworks such as zero trust, least privilege access, and strong identity management will help CISOs turn the tide.
About Silent Breach: Silent Breach is an award-winning provider of cyber security services. Our global team provides cutting-edge insights and expertise across the Data Center, Enterprise, SME, Retail, Government, Finance, Education, Automotive, Hospitality, Healthcare and IoT industries.
Furthermore, self-healing products are being introduced that can hold their own against incoming attacks. For example, disposable virtual machines can be generated whenever a user performs a risky activity such as clicking on an email link, thereby containing any malware that may be lurking inside.
Talk with one of our representatives today to learn more about how Silent Breach can help improve your security.
Update: Managing the Log4j Vulnerability
2021 Cybersecurity Roundup: Year in Review
Securing Communication Channels in the Enterprise Environment