As we enter 2023, the cybersecurity threat landscape evolves and expands. From the rise of IoT cloud-based attacks to an increased focus on edge computing and IoT devices, organizations must stay vigilant in their efforts to protect against cyber threats. As technology continues to advance and becomes smarter and more automated, it is important to stay ahead of potential threats and understand the latest trends in cybersecurity. In this article, we will examine the top predictions for the 2023 cybersecurity landscape.

1 . Cybersecurity Consolidation

Over the last decade, the cybersecurity market has become a crowded space with solutions for just about every vulnerability or threat. Over time we created a boundless sprawl of technology; shelfware, overlapping functionality, gaps in vendor’s offerings, manual effort, and lack of training and resources has resulted in more of a problem rather than solving one. The need for consolidation is long overdue.

Cybersecurity consolidation refers to the integration and centralization of multiple cybersecurity tools and solutions into a single, unified platform or suite. The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cybersecurity operations by streamlining the management of security technologies and reducing the complexity of security architecture. This is achieved by integrating a range of tools and solutions, such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, security information and event management (SIEM) solutions, and vulnerability management tools.

Cybersecurity consolidation has numerous benefits. Firstly, it reduces costs and minimizes duplication of effort, as organizations no longer have to manage disparate systems. Secondly, it can improve security visibility, as all security data is aggregated and analyzed in a single location. This helps organizations identify and respond to security threats more quickly and effectively. Consolidation also improves the efficiency of security operations, as security teams can manage and respond to incidents from a single console, reducing the need for manual intervention and streamlining security workflows. Finally, all those benefits of cybersecurity consolidation mean the money spent on cybersecurity is more effectively applied.

2. API Security

In 2021, as part of their lawsuit settlement, T-Mobile committed to a $150 million initiative to improve its cyber security. In January, they disclosed another mega breach of 37 MILLION customer records, including addresses, emails, phone numbers, dates of birth, and more. You’re probably one of the victims. This particular breach was not discovered for more than a month. The threat actor was taking advantage of flaws in T-Mobile’s APIs. This suggests that T-Mobile is not using widely available, modern security monitoring and detection methods.

“Real-time security monitoring and alerting on anomalies is a must. There is no excuse not to know what is happening in your IT systems in real-time.”

APIs are used everywhere, especially by Cloud Service Providers, to access and manage “as a service” offerings. As more workloads migrate to the cloud, API security becomes paramount. API security weaknesses lead to unauthorized access to data and resources, or to malicious attacks, such as data manipulation or injection attacks.

API abuse will continue to be a challenge in 2023. Solving one problem with technology and modernization can reveal another. If you’re not yet securing and monitoring your APIs, start with the basics

  • Real-time security monitoring and alerting on anomalies is a must. It’s 2023 and the technology exists. There is no excuse not to know what is happening in your IT systems in real time.
  • Use token-based authentication to ensure that only authorized users and systems have access.
  • Implement rate limiting to protect against brute force and denial of service attacks.
  • Use the OWASP API Security Top 10 to test and monitor your APIs for vulnerabilities on a regular basis.
  • Maintain the most recent security patches and updates for your APIs and underlying infrastructure.
  • Encrypt data in transit and at rest to prevent eavesdropping.

3. Increased ZERO Trust Adoption

We are all accustomed to the traditional security model of authenticating to a perimeter VPN or a cloud application before proceeding with our work. This “Trust but Verify” strategy assumes that everything within an organization’s network is trustworthy and has not been compromised. After authenticating to the VPN, a user can navigate to any resource to which they have access. The assumption is that the user is who

 they say they are, that their account is secure, and that they will act responsibly.

With this traditional (out of date!) model, organizations are vulnerable to credential theft, low and slow attacks, and malicious insiders. On the network, all authenticated users are essentially trusted. Danger, Will Robinson – big time!

Introducing ZERO Trust.

ZERO Trust is a methodology, not a single product or technology. ZERO Trust access methodologies never trust and always verify. This removes any previous trust for users, credentials, networks, and permissions. Instead, ZERO trust continuously checks and authenticates all attempts to access data, applications, servers, and resources to ensure they are who they claim to be. Under new guidance issued in 2021 by the Office of Management and Budget’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the US Federal government is also urging its agencies to adopt this model. This year, organizations of all sizes, federal agencies, and security vendors will place a strong emphasis on ZERO Trust strategies.

4. Rise of Quantum Computing

By now, you’ve likely heard of quantum computing, but most people don’t know what it means or it’s potential as a cybersecurity threat. Quantum computing is a type of technology that uses quantum mechanics laws to solve problems that traditional computers cannot solve.

One of the main concerns about quantum computing in cybersecurity is the potential threat it poses to traditional encryption methods. Most encryption methods currently rely on the difficulty of factoring large prime numbers, a task that quantum computers make significantly easier. If quantum computers become widely available, they may be able to break the encryption used to protect sensitive information such as financial transactions or government communications.

To address the potential threat to encryption, researchers are developing quantum-resistant cryptographic methods. These methods of post-quantum cryptography are intended to provide the same level of security against quantum computers as traditional encryption methods do against classical computers. However, widespread adoption of post-quantum cryptography will take time and resources, leaving a very large security gap until it is widely used.

Another concern is the possibility of using quantum computers as a weapon in cyber attacks. Quantum computers, due to their increased computational power, could be used to launch devastating attacks by cracking encryption or simulating complex systems to identify vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the development of quantum-resistant encryption may spark an arms race in which nations compete to build the most powerful quantum computers for military use. As a result, international cooperation and regulation are required to ensure that quantum computing is used for peaceful purposes and does not endanger global cybersecurity.

5. Crypto

Cryptocurrency exchanges have become a primary target for cybercriminals. How did that happen?  We were led to believe that Cryptocurrency was safer.  I mean it’s got crypto in the name! The threat to crypto exchanges is expected to increase in 2023 as cybercriminals continue to use sophisticated tactics to gain access to sensitive information and steal funds. Because of the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies and the lack of regulation, cybercriminals can carry out their attacks without being detected.

Cyberattacks on crypto exchanges will remain a constant threat, necessitating vigilance and cutting-edge security measures”

To protect their platforms and user assets, crypto exchanges must implement much more stringent security measures. Multi-factor authentication, cold storage for crypto assets, and regular security audits to detect and address vulnerabilities are all part of this, at a minimum. Exchanges must also educate their users about the importance of fundamental secure practices like using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication. Despite these efforts, because of the massive potential payouts, cyberattacks on crypto exchanges will remain a constant threat, necessitating vigilance, and cutting-edge security measures.

6. Emergence of 5G Networks

We’re all loving 5G technology’s increased speed and connectivity, but that technological advancement also raises the risk of cyber attacks. Because of their larger attack surface, 5G networks are more vulnerable, and the use of software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) technologies provides cyber criminals with more vulnerabilities to exploit.

The deployment of 5G technology extends beyond consumer devices to critical global infrastructure such as power grids, healthcare systems, and transportation networks. This critical infrastructure is a prime target for cybercriminals looking to disrupt systems or steal sensitive data.

The global supply chain for 5G technology is complex, involving numerous countries and businesses. This raises the possibility of malicious actors interfering with the supply chain and introducing security flaws into the 5G network. Furthermore, the complexity of 5G networks makes cyber threats more difficult to detect and respond to, increasing the risk of a successful attack. Organizations must implement strong security measures such as network segmentation, encryption, and regular software updates to address these cybersecurity concerns.

7. Growth of Edge Computing

Edge computing is a decentralized computing architecture where data processing and management occur at the network’s edge, close to the source of where the data is generated, rather than the data being sent to a central server or data center. Unauthorized access to sensitive data, network vulnerabilities, and inadequate security measures can all pose security risks for edge computing. We all use Edge devices, such as mobile phones, cars, sensors, and refrigerators that keep track of our groceries.  These IoT devices are especially vulnerable to these threats because they are frequently located in remote or insecure environments. As a result, strong security measures, such as encryption and authentication protocols, are critical to preventing unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems.

Another security risk for edge computing is network infrastructure attacks. Wireless connections are frequently used in edge computing networks, making them vulnerable to hacking and eavesdropping. Furthermore, edge devices may lack the same level of security as traditional computing devices, making them easy targets for attackers. To address these risks, network security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, and secure communication protocols must be implemented.

Edge computing systems are also susceptible to software and hardware flaws, as well as supply chain attacks because of known security vulnerabilities in software or hardware, or from the introduction of malicious code or hardware into the supply chain. To reduce these risks, organizations should implement stringent security measures throughout their supply chain, such as secure software development practices and regular security audits of suppliers. Organizations must also stay up to date on software and hardware vulnerabilities and apply patches as soon as possible to reduce the risk of exploitation.

8. Increased Regulation: 

Global privacy regulations are expected to tighten in 2023 as consumers become more aware of the value and sensitivity of their personal information. New laws and amendments to existing laws, such as the payment card industry’s new PCI DSS 4.0, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), are likely to be enacted to strengthen privacy rights and protections. These regulations may require companies to obtain explicit consent before collecting data, to provide consumers with the right to access, delete, and control their data, and to implement stronger data security measures. Noncompliance penalties will become more severe, with data gathering companies facing significant fines and reputational damage. The growing public concern about data misuse and privacy violations is driving this trend toward increased privacy regulation.

New regulations, such as the California Privacy Rights Act, will be introduced in 2023, requiring companies to take a more proactive approach to data privacy and security.

9. ChatGPT and ML/AI

Every day users of ChatGPT are pushing the envelope of the platform’s capabilities. For example, application developers use the platform to simplify their lives by having the platform write code or look like geniuses in front of their unsuspecting co-workers.

All this power is mostly used for fun, automation, and productivity. For now. That doesn’t mean the same technology cannot be used maliciously. The threat is real.

In early 2023, researchers from CyberArk used ChatGPT to create polymorphic malware. This is code that can evade antivirus and anti-malware. In the CyberArk example, they demonstrated how to inject code into explorer.exe using Python. The request could be run and re-run to mutate the code and give it a unique result. This makes creating new forms of malware much simpler for amateur hackers and script kiddies. The threat is real.

As cybersecurity intrusion detection systems get increasingly sophisticated, it becomes more difficult for hackers to move around undetected. The more they mimic user behavior, the less chance of them being noticed.   When an account is compromised, an attacker will try imitating a user and hide in the noise. At some point, the activity pattern may not be identical to the real user. A Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (ML/AI) based cybersecurity system will detect this usual activity and take corrective action by raising alarms and locking the compromised account.

This is where it gets interesting. Hackers have started to use ML/AI to their advantage showing how Machine Learning and Artificial intelligence can be a double-edged sword. Machines are highly effective in learning to model and automating user behavior. The same can be said when using ML/AI for bad. Using machine learning, hackers can more effectively model user behavior, making it increasingly difficult for intrusion detection systems to pick out anomalies. 

With AI-based phishing, ransomware, and password-cracking algorithms, the same logic used to make a computer play chess and become smarter with each game can be used to guess passwords to websites. Consumers don’t stand a chance. One way to slow down the impact of such threats is to implement 2-factor authentication. At least when a password is correctly guessed, it’s useless without a token, OTP, or fingerprint.

We’re turning the corner on how machine learning and artificial intelligence will be used. Thirty years ago, this was just a fantasy, but unfortunately, that is becoming more and more the reality. AI algorithms can adjust themselves and become smarter with more data they can evaluate. Over the next few years, we’re going to see this area really take off and it’s exciting to be a part of it. We are literally marching toward the Terminator movies and Skynet. Machine vs Machine.

2023 will be another challenging year for cybersecurity professionals, as new technologies, regulations, and threats emerge. To stay ahead of these challenges, companies will need to adopt a multi-layered security approach that incorporates the latest technologies and best practices for protecting their networks, data, and users.