Cybersecurity Threats of 2022

The Biggest Cybersecurity Threats of 2022

By ERMProtect Staff

2022 has been a great year for advances in cybercrime and increased sophistication in hacking attempts. With attackers using AI (artificial intelligence) to boost their hacking prowess, organizations relying more heavily on cloud services (and opening the floodgates to cloud vulnerabilities), and remote work posing a security threat, there have been many advancements in cybercrime. Organizations need to be more wary than ever, and preparedness is key.

Here is a look at the biggest cybersecurity threats from 2022, and what organizations should pay close attention to in the coming year.

1. The Rise of the Remote and Hybrid Workforce

Remote employees emerged as the top security threat in 2022, with human error causing a number of breaches in major organizations. With employees working on personal devices or accessing systems remotely over unprotected coffee shop Wifi and home networks, they become the weakest link in the chain, leaving organizations vulnerable to breaches.

2. Cloud Attacks

Many organizations have shifted their operations to third-party hosted cloud infrastructure and services, such as Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google Cloud and other smaller cloud providers. Even if organizations follow the best of security practices internally, vulnerabilities in the cloud infrastructure expose them to cyberattacks and unauthorized access by hackers.

Despite consistent ongoing attempts by cloud providers to plug security vulnerabilities, cloud attacks remained one of the biggest security threats of 2022.

3. AI and IoT Attacks

With advances in AI, hacking software is getting more and more sophisticated and harder to fight. Compounding this threat is the fact that many organizations now use IoT-enabled devices, which connect physical systems to the internet, and end up sharing data between various devices and systems.

IoT (internet of things) is now a part of many locking and alarm systems, centralized heating or air-conditioning, music players, automobiles, vacuum cleaners, and more. Any hostile takeover poses a greater threat when IoT devices are involved and can be manipulated. A notable IoT-based attack included Verkada, a cloud-based surveillance system, that was breached in 2021. Attackers were able to access live feeds of over 150,000 cameras used in factories, hospitals, schools, and prisons.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware, malicious software, or viruses that block users’ access to their system and files, has always been one of the biggest security threats to businesses, and it got worse in 2022. Multiple organizations and even governments were targeted by ransomware that brought business operations to a grinding halt in 2022. Prominent examples include Nvidia, Toyota, Puma, Bridgestone, and the Costa Rican government.

Organizations will need to be more careful about installing anti-malware, taking regular backups of critical data, and conducting security training for employees, in order to try and protect themselves from the threat of ransomware.

5. Mobile Malware

Mobile malware incidents surged 500% in the first few months of 2022 alone, and are becoming an area of immediate concern for businesses.

Businesses with mobile apps (especially banks and financial organizations) face the risk of having their data breached or stolen through mobile malware on customers’ phones. Remote and non-remote employees also rely heavily on mobile devices, often logging into business systems on their smartphone or tablet. This creates a whole range of vulnerabilities for organizations, and allows easy access to data for hackers, through mobile malware - which can be installed on a smartphone through an app download, a phishing email, or an infected link.

6. Social Engineering Attacks and Phishing

A study by Interisle Consulting Group found that phishing attacks rose 61% in 2022, and many organizations faced data breaches and unauthorized outside access to their systems owing to phishing. Phishing and other forms of social engineering attacks are among the most popular hacking techniques, usually because it is often easier to get around a human’s defenses rather than breach a system.

A social engineering attack targets human vulnerability, trying to trick an employee or person associated with an organization into giving away confidential information such as a password, or clicking on a link to download malware.

Hackers tend to target the weakest spots in organizations’ security defenses, and employees who may not necessarily have a lot of security know-how, often make good targets.

Stronger email filters, and regular security training for employees could help alleviate the risk of a social engineering attack debilitating your organization.

 

At ERMProtect, we have more than 25 years of extensive experience in cybersecurity, data compliance and security awareness training. We can assess your organization for vulnerabilities, plug any security gaps, train your employees, and strengthen your security. Call us today at 1-800-259-9660 or email us at  [email protected].

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