In the first half of 2022, there was a 42% worldwide increase in weekly cyber attacks from the previous year, with ransomware being the biggest cyber threat. By the third quarter of 2022, approximately 15 million data records were exposed worldwide due to data breaches.
As organizations continue to digitize their operations and use cloud computing, the risk of cyber attacks will increase. To help you navigate the ever-evolving cyber security landscape, we’ve compiled the biggest cyber threats to watch out for in 2023.
Top Cyber Security Threats to Prepare for in 2023
1. Spear Phishing
At the root of all phishing attacks is deception. Cyber criminals manipulate their targets into bypassing security measures, disclosing sensitive information, installing infected files, or clicking on malicious links. Over 225 million phishing attacks were reported in 2022, 61% more than in 2021. And, as we head into 2023, phishing attacks will increase, particularly spear phishing.
While typical phishing targets any unassuming individual, spear phishing focuses on compromising a business by targeting specific employees. Spear phishing attacks are as customized as any corporate advertising effort, if not more so. As a result, they can be even more dangerous than typical phishing. The familiar tone and content of a spear phishing message make it harder to detect.
2. Cloud Vulnerabilities
Cloud-related cyber threats will increase as more organizations shift to cloud delivery models. Cloud services are vulnerable to a wide range of cyber attacks. This includes account hijacking and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, which prevent companies from being able to access their data.
In 2022, 27% of organizations reported experiencing a cyber security issue in their public cloud infrastructure. The most commonly identified causes were security misconfigurations, improper data sharing, compromised accounts, and vulnerability exploitation—all of which will continue to be issues in 2023.
3. Ransomware (and Ransomware as a Service)
Ransomware attacks are serious cyber threats. These attacks infect your network and hold your data and computer systems hostage until a ransom is paid. The immediate losses from the ransom are only the tip of the iceberg. The monetary damages from lost productivity and data loss are often the most destructive to a business. Attacks like these are why 60% of small businesses fold within six months of a cyber breach.
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Ransomware is among the top cyber risks and is a popular way for attackers to target businesses. In the first half of 2022, there were 236.1 million ransomware attacks globally. After the manufacturing industry, the health-care sector was the second top industry targeted by organized ransomware groups such as LockBit and Everest.
Additionally, ransomware is now available to less-sophisticated hackers in the form of ready-made kits they can buy, known as Ransomware as a Service. This is primarily used to target small businesses that have weak cyber security measures. The result has been a rise in attacks with reduced individual costs, as hackers want quick paydays from their hacks. The sheer number of hackers and ease of pulling off these attacks pose an enormous risk to small businesses. As threat actors continue to refine and intensify their attacks, ransomware is estimated to cost victims around $265 billion by 2031.
4. Open Ports
In computer networking, ports enable communication between two devices. Services that depend on the internet, such as web browsers and file transfer services, rely on ports to transmit and receive data.
Open ports become cyber threats when they are exploited by malicious actors, either due to existing vulnerabilities or by introducing malware or other malicious services. Common vulnerabilities include unpatched software, misconfigured applications, and weak credentials. A successful port compromise can be an initial attack vector to gain access to sensitive company data.
To combat this cyber threat, organizations must include port scanning and monitoring in their risk management strategy in 2023.
5. Lack of Endpoint Protection
Any physical or virtual device connected to the corporate network is considered an endpoint. These can be end-user devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, or machines like routers and printers. As companies adopt remote working policies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of endpoints within organizations has dramatically increased.
Endpoints are critical vulnerabilities for organizations as they present entry points for cyber criminals to exploit. A recent industry report shows the average organization manages approximately 135,000 endpoint devices, of which 50% are at risk because they are outdated and undetected by the IT department. Because there are so many endpoint devices, organizations will still need to invest in endpoint security in 2023.
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Protect Your Clients from Cyber Threats
Organizations must adopt a proactive approach to cyber security to combat the top cyber risks of 2023. Cyber insurance plays an integral role in ensuring this. As a broker, you can assist your clients in mitigating risks and addressing their exposures.
At ProWriters, we equip brokers like you with the tools and resources you need to serve your clients better. Reach out today to learn how we can make a difference in your services, or learn more about the true cost of cyber exposure by downloading our FREE eBook, Cyber Exposure: What’s the Real Cost?