Cybersecurity has become an essential part of our lives. Whether at work or home, we must protect ourselves and our devices from rising threats online. But with so many new technologies coming out each day, it can be difficult to know what exactly 2024 has in store for us.
Experts have already predicted that the global cybersecurity industry will become a multi-trillion-dollar industry this year, suggesting plenty of threats are on the horizon. So, what exactly should you anticipate?
This article will cover some of the most likely cyber trends, threats, and scams to strike in 2024. From the influence of artificial intelligence to political hacks and more, you’ll learn how these threats work and learn simple ways to protect yourself online.
The most likely cyber trends predicted for 2024
Below are likely to become critical trends in cybersecurity of the year ahead:
- AI will play a significant role in defence
The rise of generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) has changed the cybersecurity landscape forever. Now, hackers can quickly create vast amounts of data in mere seconds and use them to develop sophisticated cyberattacks against companies at scale.
But one of the biggest predictions for 2024 is that more companies will use GenAI to bolster their defences against these attacks. Research from PWC found that nearly 70% of organizations plan to use GenAI for cyber defence in the year ahead, with 21% already seeing benefits by incorporating the technology early.
It’s predicted that GenAI can be developed to help protect companies in three key areas: threat detection and analysis, cyber risk assessment and incident reporting, and creating adaptive controls to respond to attacks in real time.
- Multi-factor authentication attacks
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is often considered a standard in cybersecurity. When someone logs in, they are asked to verify their identity by additional means. It’s usually done through single-use codes via email, SMS, or an authenticator app.
While MFA is a hugely successful way of protecting accounts, concern is growing over cyberattacks that can bypass this security failsafe. In 2023, top-level executives in over 100 companies were targeted by EvilProxy, a phishing toolkit capable of bypassing MFA protocols.
Hackers created ‘fake’ Microsoft login pages, stealing usernames, passwords, and codes sent to users to protect them. With all three components, a hacker could successfully bypass authentication and gain access to an account. It is a worrying attack that will increase as more people adopt MFA security.
- Political cyberattacks will increase
2024 is a massive year in politics, with many countries worldwide holding local and national elections. It’s feared that there will be an increase in online attacks targeting voters and spreading misinformation to influence election outcomes throughout the year.
The United States has its presidential election in November and already has issued a warning over potential political cyberattacks, which forecast the following types of attacks:
- The leaking of state voting registrations and voter data
- Releasing sensitive emails and political documents
- Tampering of election voting machines and voter databases
- Ransomware that aims to derail voting taking places
- An increase in identity theft and synthetic fraud
Biometric logins, which use fingerprints or facial recognition, are commonly used in everyday life, including when logging into smartphones, passports, and employee key cards.
For 2024, there’s growing concern that advancements in AI may lead to increased ‘presentation attacks.’ In these attacks, hackers create fake images using a victim’s physical characteristics to impersonate them, bypass security systems, and gain access to sensitive accounts.
Three simple safety measures that can protect you
Thankfully, there are many ways you can protect yourself against emerging threats in 2024. Three simple but effective measures you can take include:
- Be vigilant over phishing attacks
Phishing attacks, where hackers impersonate legitimate services to deceive users, are already a common threat in terms of cybersecurity.
Despite scams becoming more elaborate and sophisticated, they share standard features that can help you detect them. These include:
- Misspelt web addresses and emails: Hackers may substitute letters and numbers in a well-known web address to fool you into thinking you’re using the real one.
- Sense of urgency: Be wary of messages that ask for immediate action, especially if the request is unusual. Hackers want to pressure you to make a rash decision.
- Suspicious attachments: Be cautious when downloading files from an unknown sender, as they may be malicious or have a risky file extension.
- Poor grammar or phrases: Phishing messages may contain awkward phrases, grammar, or poor spelling and grammar and seem unprofessional.
- Protect your internet connection
One of the most effective ways of protecting your online activity is protecting your connection by using a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN encrypts your connection, masking data sent and received. This prevents anyone from monitoring your activity and stealing personal information that otherwise would be readily available. No one, not even your internet service provider, can pry on your screen.
When picking a VPN, it’s recommended that you choose one with ad block capabilities, for example: https://nordvpn.com/features/threat-protection/ad-blocker/. This will further protect your PC and smartphone and prevent intrusive adverts from appearing, which can often be malicious by design.
- Update everything – yes, everything
Your technology is only as strong as its last update. You must regularly update your PC, smartphone, and all installed software to avail of the most recent advances in cybersecurity.
But in 2024, you can’t afford to stop there. We use many IoT devices at work and at home, including smartwatches, smart TVs, appliances, alarm systems, and more. Each one of these devices has increased the surface area a hacker has to attack you. In 2024, you must update these devices through their respective apps as soon as possible.