We may reasonably assume that, as with most businesses these days, you rely largely on internet-based technologies to achieve your digital marketing objectives. Let us remind you that all digital tools have the potential to expose your company to cyber threats. While digital payment systems have enabled financial inclusion and transparency, they have also resulted in increased security threats and data breaches. Malware and ransomware attacks, as well as compromised credentials, business email penetration, phishing, cloud misconfiguration and vulnerability in third-party software are the most common types of cyber threats.

The evolution of cyber attacks is constantly changing. Its scope has expanded to include supply chain attacks and double/triple extortion in the recent past. In this article, we will discuss the top 10 cyber security threats that have prevailed in India and abroad in the year 2022 and the same can continue in 2023 also.

Here we go!

  1. Social engineering

Social engineering attacks make use of social interactions to gain access to sensitive information. Deception is the primary mode of this type of cyber attack and they are based on human error rather than technical flaws. It is far easier to trick a person than it is to infiltrate a security system. Cybercriminals use deception to trick their targets into disclosing valuable personal information and bypassing security measures. Phishing (sending emails including malicious links), baiting (placing tempered devices in public to entice people to check them out), and shareware (scaring users into purchasing infected software) are common types of social engineering assaults.

According to analysts, social engineering assaults have been classified as one of the most prominent cyber security concerns in 2023. Unfortunately, even the most technologically advanced cybersecurity systems cannot prevent a social engineering attack if the victim permits the hacker into the system. Given the recent emergence of social engineering attacks, it is critical that organisations and individuals adopt measures to counteract their efficacy.

2. The Misuse of the IoT ( Internet of Things)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to how thousands of devices from all over the globe get connected to the internet. This creates a network of interconnected devices capable of storing, receiving and transmitting data. Because of its simplicity, this new technology is being used by many people and organisations. What is convenient for you, however, is also convenient for cyber criminals. When used incorrectly, the interconnectivity provided allows criminals easier access to your information.

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Hackers can gain access to data through internet connectivity. They can gather data from the cloud and use it against people for ransom if they have network access via IoT devices. Because of the rapid use of IoT technology in enterprises, many experts believe IoT will be one of the most serious cyber security concerns in the future as well. Researchers expect that the number of smart devices will double between 2021 and 2025. This will lead to an even larger network of access points for cybercriminals to attack personal and business networks. The number of cellular IoT connections is also estimated to reach 3.5 billion by 2023. Experts predict that IoT-based attacks against organisations would account for more than 25% of all cyber attacks by 2025.

Any hardware item connected to a network will inevitably have vulnerabilities. When handling vulnerabilities, keep an eye on your devices and apply security updates whenever possible. Furthermore, weak passwords contribute to IoT breaches because they are simple to crack. Create strong passwords to protect your IoT device.

3. Ransomware

Ransomware Attack

Ransomware has posed a serious threat to businesses of all kinds in the year 2022. AIIMS cyber attack was a wake-up call for all of us. Ransomware attacks function by penetrating your network and encrypting your data and computer systems until you pay the culprit a ransom. These intrusions cause not only financial losses for businesses but also data loss and reduced productivity. Depending on how long the attack lasts, the loss of commercial prospects due to data inaccessibility can be detrimental to a company's bottom line.

Only skilled hackers could successfully perform ransomware operations in the past. However, in recent times, ransomware has evolved to become more widely available, more sophisticated and more convenient even for ‘entry-level’ hackers. Purchasing and using ready-made kits known as "Ransomware-as-a-Service" or RaaS is becoming more widespread among less competent hackers of late. These kits were originally designed to target small businesses since their cyber security infrastructure is often less advanced and they require very little technical hacking expertise.

To avoid ransomware attacks, we propose emphasising the importance of cyber security expertise and best practices at the organisational level.

4. Cloud vulnerabilities

The more we depend on the cloud for the storage of data, the more the likelihood of a massive data breach. Cloud storage has grown in popularity in recent years. As more and more sensitive data is uploaded into the cloud, cyber attackers have become more determined to exploit it. Cloud services are subject to a wide range of cyberattacks, including account takeover and DoS attacks, which block businesses from accessing their data. Many businesses attempt to safeguard their data by utilising cloud security solutions, which have grown in popularity in recent years because of their assurance of security. However, technological protections are only one component of the answer. No technology can provide complete protection. To counter the role of cloud vulnerabilities in cyberattacks, businesses must employ a comprehensive defensive strategy in addition to cloud security solutions.

2022 saw new developments in cloud security and widespread adoption of the “Zero Trust” cloud security architecture. Zero Trust systems are meant to operate as though the network has been compromised already. It needs verifications at each step and with each sign-in rather than giving continuous access to recognised devices or devices well within the network.

5. Mobile device vulnerabilities

Another effect of the COVID-19 epidemic was an increase in mobile device usage. As a result, cases of online fraud through ad-fishing, emails and malware are increasing every year and the year 2023 will be no exception. As digital payments spread their wings to every nook and corner in India during and after the Covid-19 outbreak, a quantum jump was observed in such cases. This has made cyber security breaches an important cause of concern for businesses.

In addition, the increase in remote work has increased mobile device vulnerabilities. The increased reliance on remote work has led to an increase in companies resorting to' bring-your-own-device' rules. Many businesses were affected by a security problem involving a malicious mobile application downloaded by an employee. Cybercriminals have also begun to target Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, which are designed to allow businesses to monitor work smartphones and thus keep corporate data secure. Because MDMs are linked to the full network of mobile devices, hackers can utilize them to attack all employees at the same time.

6. Third party exposure

Third-party services are used by every organisation, whether they are for payment processing for retailers, financial advisors, or secure file-sharing companies. Without them, it's difficult to manage a business smoothly. However, many businesses tend to ignore the risks associated with them and how they can disrupt business operations.

Third-party vendors are often the victims of cybersecurity breaches. At times, third-party vendors handle clients' personal information, or credit card data, on behalf of a business. As seen in many recent cyber breaches, careless data handling by such vendors allowed hackers to access millions of people's private information. Cybercriminals can overcome security systems by breaking into less-secure networks owned by third parties with privileged access. When such an attack is experienced, the company that hired the third-party vendor is still liable. It must inform its customers and regulatory authorities if a data breach occurs. Fines and penalties may be significant, ranging from thousands to crores of rupees, depending on the circumstances.

Third-party breaches have become an even greater concern in 2023. This is because organisations increasingly rely on third-party contractors these days, to perform tasks previously handled by full-time employees. The best way to avoid third-party vulnerabilities from disrupting your business is to conduct vendor risk assessments on a regular basis.

7. Software related issues

Professional security solutions are likely to have at least one flaw in the configuration and deployment of the software. Exploitable configuration flaws were discovered to be the principal culprit in situations of cyber assaults where the attacker has inside system access. The cumulative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, socio-political upheavals, and persistent financial stress has increased the frequency of careless errors made by employees at work, creating more exploitable possibilities for hackers.

Another prominent source of assaults is the use of obsolete software. Outdated software creates a weak link in device systems, leaving data vulnerable to intruders. As a result, enterprises and organisations are subject to a variety of information security breaches as long as their software is not kept up to date. It is typical for attackers to leverage any found vulnerability to begin a cyber attack as soon as they become aware of it. To avoid cyberattacks, always keep your computer software up to date and be aware of patches released from time to time by the software provider.

8. Inadequate training for employees

The most serious cybersecurity threat to organisations comes from within. According to a recent Stanford University study, employee errors, whether deliberate or unintentional, are responsible for 88% of data breach instances. Data breaches caused by employee error can be ascribed to a lack of security training on behalf of the organisation. Phishing emails, for example, have become a common technique of cyberattack and are the most common cyber security risk employees succumb to. Many phishing attempts use harmful attachments or impersonate well-known individuals or businesses and communicate via email. Employees who have received insufficient training on how to detect and avoid phishing scams are unlikely to act in a sensible manner. As a result, there have been several cybersecurity breaches and resulting damages in the year 2022.

With more advanced attacks on the rise, companies must build cybersecurity risk management policies. They should also hold learning sessions to educate employees about the incidence of cyberattacks, how to detect them, and the best course of action should such instances arise. Any cyber security solution must account for human flaws and implement measures to ensure everyone follows proper processes. Only adequate employee training, in conjunction with a sound control system, can provide effective protection against cyber security threats.

9. Insufficient command over Cyber Risk Management

Businesses often fail to implement some of the most effective cybersecurity techniques, such as endpoint security, two-factor authentication (2FA) and cloud-based solutions featuring automated encryption. This is a significant blunder given how effective these safeguards are at reducing the danger of common cyber threats such as phishing and social engineering.

Inadequate cyber risk management not only exposes companies to cyber security risks, but can also make it difficult for them to acquire comprehensive cyber insurance. With the rise in cyberattacks in recent years, acquiring new cyber insurance plans and renewing existing ones has become more complicated than ever. Cyber insurance businesses increasingly require consumers to implement additional protections before they will provide coverage. This is similar to how insurance companies will not cover persons over the age of 65 and/or impose restrictions.

Inadequate command over cyber risk management, fortunately, is a cyber security concern that can be addressed from within the organisation itself. To secure your company, you need to ensure that well-defined cyber risk management protocols are in place that handles all imminent and foreseeable threats.

10. Outdated hardware

Outdated hardware is one of the simplest ways for attackers to hack SMBs and Enterprise businesses. This is because outdated hardware lacks the most recent software with security patches. Thus, it becomes prone to security loopholes hackers like to exploit. Due to the rapid pace at which software upgrades are published, even hardware that is only 2-3 years old falls behind. As a result of using such hardware, companies' data is put at risk.

The footnote:

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, cases of cyber attacks have escalated significantly, resulting in financial and reputational damages for many businesses. In 2023, these cyber security threats, attacks and vulnerabilities are still a serious concern. Fortunately, with knowledge of their existence and severity, as well as prevention techniques, your business is better prepared to reduce the likelihood of a cyber breach.

Cyber insurance is one ‘safety net’ coming from the insurance industry to help businesses threatened by the increasing growth of cyber threats and cyber attacks. It does so by offsetting the costs associated with the damages and recovery, resulting from a data breach, a cyber security incident or a ransomware attack. It also covers the costs of compliance fines, forensics, crisis communication, lawsuits, investigations, customer refunds and even extortion payments.

For the best recommendation on cyber insurance, you may contact BimaKavach. Here, you can get the best recommendation for any business insurance product in just 5 minutes.