In an increasingly digitized world, cybersecurity is becoming an ever-growing, vitally necessary burden–and problem–for thousands of organizations. This applies to government bodies, institutions and businesses of all sizes. This isn’t just a flippant conclusion either. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its “Global Risks Report 2022” and guess what subject ranked as one of their top risks for the near future? That’s right, cybersecurity!
A group of roughly 1,000 world experts and leaders from different social and technical fields were surveyed for this report. They came to the conclusion that a number of factors have come together to make cybersecurity such a global problem. According to one notable quote, “We’re at the point now where cyberthreats are growing faster than our ability to effectively prevent and manage them.” This was claimed by Carolina Klint, a risk-management chief who’s agency works for one of the parent companies that co-authored the report itself.
Societal Trends That Increase Cybercrime
One aspect of society in 2020, 2021 and now 2022 that has increased the threat of cyberattacks, is the global shift to telecommuting for many services, jobs and education. The normalization of these digital substitutes to in-person activities has created a much larger attack surface for cybercriminals and hackers. In addition, it has also sped up the evolution of their methods at penetrating IT systems and stealing either personal data or funds. As a result, cyberattacks have become more common, more aggressive and, in many cases, more sophisticated.
Malware injections are especially common and ransomware has seen an enormous explosion in its pervasiveness. As the report itself found, ransomware attacks alone have ballooned by 435% since 2020. This is partly due to the rise of cryptocurrencies that make collecting forced payments from organizations so much safer for criminals.
Key Cyber Threat Factors
Some of the key findings that the report outlines for cybersecurity threats include the following:
Increased digitization: The worldwide dependency on digital systems has enormously increased during the past 20 years, according to the WEF report. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend. Cloud services, remote access to IT databases, data aggregation policies and digital application programming interfaces have all made the quantity of possible attacks much larger for criminals. This digitization will only keep growing, and with it, the number of vulnerabilities will keep expanding to even more critical levels for certain industries.
Cybercrime evolution: As the pace of digitization increases and the complexity of its technology expands, cyberthreats are also evolving to attack better. Because an attacker’s requirements are so much more specific than those of the IT industry as a whole, he or she can develop techniques that easily outpace those of the digital systems society tries to protect. After all, while a company’s IT department needs to protect its assets from all angles, a single cybercriminal needs to optimize for only one possible entry point.
Ease of profit: The increase of online marketplaces for stolen data and cryptocurrencies for accepting and cashing out illegal sales or ransomware extortion payments anonymously has made it easier than ever for cybercriminals to profit enormously. This creates much larger incentives for their activity and it makes it harder for their activities to be tracked.
The above are just some of the main trends covered by the WEF report. There are others, and they can affect any business of any size in many ways.
Taking Steps to Protect Your Organization
One of the more alarming findings of the report is that 95% of cybersecurity issues faced by organizations and companies have been due to human error. In other words, with the rising tide of complex attacks, many employees simply lack the specialization needed to handle these threats. Consequently, companies get breached spectacularly, private data gets leaked, and funds often get stolen or squeezed through cryptographic ransom payments.
Your company or organization can do many things to reduce the risk of cyberattacks. However, at a certain point, your own internal IT security efforts might not be enough to handle all possible threats. This is where managed IT services can help you enormously.
A managed services provider–like Great Lakes Computer Corporation–can offer services that include email protection against phishing attacks, endpoint protection against data leaks, 24-hour security operations monitoring and full data backup for your business. To get a clear perspective on our defensive security strategy, take a look at our Security Stack solution!