Emerging cybersecurity threats and concerns in 2024


Cybersecurity matters the most today because our world relies on digital technology, and our personal and business lives are increasingly intertwined with the online world. With this growing reliance on digital technology comes an increased risk of cyber attacks, such as data breaches, identity theft, and other types of cybercrime.

There are many reasons why cybersecurity raises serious concerns. First, our personal information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, and medical records, are valuable assets that cybercriminals can target. Cybersecurity measures can help protect this information from falling into the wrong hands.

Second, companies store sensitive data, such as financial information, trade secrets, and customer data, which cybercriminals can target. Cybersecurity measures can help protect this information from being accessed or stolen.

Third, our critical infrastructure, such as power grids, water treatment plants, and transportation systems, are increasingly connected to the internet, making them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity measures can help protect these systems from being hacked and disrupted.

Finally, cyber attacks can also be used as a tool for espionage or sabotage, posing a threat to national security. Cybersecurity measures can help protect against these types of attacks.

Overall, cybersecurity is an essential aspect of our digital world and requires ongoing attention and investment to stay ahead of evolving cyber threats. This article presents some current and ongoing concerns in cyber security today.

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks are when a hacker uses malicious software to block access to a victim’s computer or data and then demands payment (usually cryptocurrency) to restore access.

Ransomware typically encrypts the victim’s data, making it inaccessible until a decryption key is provided. The attacker then demands payment from the victim, often threatening to permanently delete the data if payment is not received by a certain deadline.

Ransomware attacks can be delivered through various methods, including email phishing scams, malicious software downloads, or vulnerabilities in unpatched software. Once the ransomware is installed, it may spread throughout a network or system, infecting multiple devices or systems.

Ransomware attacks can devastate individuals and businesses, as they can result in the loss of sensitive data or the disruption of critical systems. It is important to prevent ransomware attacks, such as keeping software up-to-date, avoiding suspicious email attachments, and regularly backing up important data to an offline location. In the event of a ransomware attack, it is important to seek assistance from cybersecurity professionals and law enforcement agencies to mitigate the damage and prevent further spread of the attack.

Phishing scams

Phishing scams are cyber attacks in which an attacker tries to trick a victim into providing sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, or credit card numbers.

Phishing scams are usually done through email, but they can also be conducted through text messages, social media, or other digital channels. The attacker will send a message that appears to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank, social media company, or online retailer, and will usually include a link to a fake website that looks real.

The victim is then prompted to enter their login credentials or other sensitive information into the fake website, which the attacker captures. Alternatively, the email may contain a malicious attachment that, when opened, installs malware on the victim’s computer, which can then be used to steal sensitive information or carry out other malicious actions.

Phishing scams can be difficult to detect because they often appear from legitimate sources and use persuasive language or urgent requests to convince the victim to take action. To avoid falling victim to a phishing scam, it is important to be vigilant when receiving unsolicited messages, verify the sender’s or website’s authenticity before entering sensitive information, and avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources. Many email services and web browsers also include built-in phishing detection features that can help identify and block malicious messages.

Supply chain attacks

A supply chain attack is a type of cyber attack in which an attacker targets a third-party vendor or supplier of a company to gain unauthorized access to the company’s systems or data.

In a supply chain attack, the attacker exploits a supplier’s system or software vulnerability to gain access to the company’s network. Once the attacker gains access, they can use this foothold to move laterally through the network, steal data, or carry out other malicious activities.

Supply chain attacks can be especially effective because they allow an attacker to bypass the security measures a company has put in place to protect its network. This is because the supplier is often considered a trusted partner and is given some level of access to the company’s systems or data.

Examples of supply chain attacks include the 2013 Target data breach, in which attackers gained access to Target’s network through a third-party supplier, and the 2017 NotPetya ransomware attack, which was spread through a software update from a Ukrainian accounting software provider.

To prevent supply chain attacks, it is important to thoroughly vet third-party vendors and suppliers, ensure they have strong security practices, and limit their access to the company’s systems and data to only what is necessary. It is also important to monitor the supplier’s systems for any signs of suspicious activity and to have a response plan in place in the event of a supply chain attack.

Attacks against the cloud

As more companies move their data to the cloud, there are concerns about the security of that data and who has access to it.

Cyber attacks against cloud computing systems are becoming increasingly common as more businesses and individuals rely on cloud services to store and access their data.

Several types of cyber attacks can be carried out against cloud computing systems, including:

  • Data breaches: In a data breach, an attacker gains unauthorized access to a cloud provider’s servers or storage, allowing them to steal or compromise sensitive data from the cloud provider or their clients.
  • Denial of Service (DoS) attacks: In a DoS attack, an attacker floods a cloud provider’s servers with traffic or requests, causing the system to become overwhelmed and unable to respond to legitimate user requests.
  • Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks: In a MitM attack, an attacker intercepts communication between a user and a cloud provider, allowing them to eavesdrop on the conversation or modify data being transmitted.
  • Malware attacks: Malware can infect cloud systems, allowing attackers to steal data or take control of the system for malicious purposes.
  • Cryptomining attacks: Cryptomining attacks involve using a cloud provider’s computing resources to mine cryptocurrency without the provider’s knowledge or consent, leading to slow system performance and increased costs for the provider.

To prevent cyber attacks against cloud computing systems, choosing a reputable cloud provider with strong security measures, including encryption, access controls, and monitoring, is important. To protect their accounts and data, users should also practice good cybersecurity hygiene, such as using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication. Regular security audits and vulnerability testing can also help identify and address potential weaknesses in a cloud computing system’s security posture.