As businesses work toward digital transformation, they can become exposed to cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals used to mainly target banks, and large enterprises that they could make financial gains from. Now, however, data has become a more valuable currency and companies of all sizes and industries are being targeted.
Companies are starting to adopt technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of their digital transformation. These technologies generate and use large amounts of data that attract cybercriminals. A robust cybersecurity infrastructure should be in place before changes in data use are made, otherwise, you’ll be vulnerable to these common cybersecurity threats of advanced technology.
Ransomware and Data Breaches
Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly successful in gaining access to an enterprise’s network infrastructure and blocking access to the system until a ransom is paid. This leads to financial and credibility loss and disrupts the business significantly. In the 2021 Colonial Pipeline cyberattack, the company had to shut down its operation and pay cybercriminals $4.4 million to prevent the publishing of its data. The outage had a cascading effect with gas stations running out of fuel and a rise in fuel prices. A proactive approach that can stop malicious actors from gaining unauthorized access to the network is necessary to ensure that the organization’s data and network infrastructure is safe and secure.
Cyber Risks of the Internet of Things
IoT devices allow businesses to use their equipment data to improve processes. IoT devices collect, analyze, and act on data without human interaction. Many companies adopt IoT to improve efficiency, cuts down costs and free up workers. But they also introduce significant risks as a lot of data, including sensitive data is shared across IoT devices at several connection points. This increases the vulnerability of the system as multiple points can be exploited by malicious actors. Security Intelligence stated that “in September 2020, IBM X-Force reported that the IoT attacks we observed from October 2019 through June 2020 rose 400% when compared to the combined number of IoT attacks in the previous two years.”
Cloud Security Threats
Most companies have already migrated or are migrating to cloud services for the many benefits it offers. Companies are storing and sharing data and applications on cloud infrastructure, often on public clouds which raises security concerns. While cloud service providers do include security layers for the protection of corporate data, the primary responsibility for the protection of these data lies with the cloud customer. According to McAfee, there were 3.1 million cyberattacks on cloud-based user accounts in 2020 across industrial sectors.
Top Cloud Security Issues
- Weak cloud infrastructure
- Inadequate access management
- Insecure APIs and interfaces
- Insider threats
A well-rounded cloud security strategy is important during cloud migration to ensure the company data and network is safe.
Post-Pandemic Hybrid Work Model
The pandemic forced employees to work from home and many companies are choosing to adopt a hybrid work model with employees working both remotely and in-office. There are several benefits to this model but from a cybersecurity perspective, this can be challenging. Employees working remotely are more at risk of cyberattacks such as phishing which can compromise the organization’s network security.
Using unsecured Wi-Fi connections to connect to the company’s network can enable malicious actors to intercept and gain access to the network. Employees using personal devices when visiting the office can be another threat. Cybersecurity risks arising from the changing work model can be mitigated if a strong cybersecurity strategy is in place.
A string of recent cyber incidents, especially during the pandemic, highlight the necessity of IT to take measures to prevent such incidents from occurring and develop a response and recovery plan in case such incidents do take place.