2022 Cybersecurity Trends

By Elvis Huff on January 5, 2022
3 minute read

Cybersecurity is a term with which we are all familiar. Cybersecurity has many technical definitions but simply put, it means protecting information from unauthorized use, alteration and access. According to cybermagazine.com, cybersecurity first emerged in the 1970s when researcher Bob Thomas wrote a computer program that would move across the infant network, ARPANET. Bob affectionately titled his program, “Creeper” as it would slowly move across the network looking for new computer systems and leave a breadcrumb trail behind in its tracks.

Decades later, malicious software, or malware, as it is commonly called, has evolved. The creators of malware have also evolved, and no longer seek to create malware as a security research project but rather to reap profits from their campaigns. Now, instead of referring to the software writers as “creators” the industry calls them threat actors. Threat actors do not use their real names and instead use pseudonyms to disguise their identity. Examples include Lazarus, UNC2452, Equation Group, and Hidden Cobra to name a few. Threat actors often change their names and merge with other threat actor groups. Threat actors include criminal groups, nation states (countries) and terrorist organizations. Each year cybersecurity firms release their predictions and trends of the upcoming year on what to expect from the various threat actors.

Cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, has released their 2022 Cybersecurity report and in it they expand on what they predict will be of concern in 2022. Ransomware, spying, cyber outsourcing and connected device vulnerabilities all top the list of concern for 2022. A summary of these predictions are below:

Ransomware

Mandiant notes that many ransomware threat actors are operating from areas not governed by US law and operate from regions where their actions do not carry steep penalties. Ransomware threat actors are increasing the number of encryption keys deployed on systems with recent campaigns carrying as many as 400 encryptions keys per encrypted computer system. Additionally, ransomware threat actors are focusing on ways to ensure they get their ransom money:  forcing you to pay to get your files back or with the threat of leaking your data (extortion) if you do not pay. Mandiant also found that ransomware threat actors are focusing on the insider threat with attackers attempting to recruit from within organizations.

Espionage and spying

Mandiant predicts that espionage and intelligence gathering activities will continue in the New Year. Mandiant predicts that countries’ intelligence gathering campaigns will increase as they seek to gather new information on enterprise, and government. Threat actors will continue to use a variety of tactics in gathering this information so enterprises are encouraged to create a hardened baseline to protect their infrastructure.

Outsourcing and threats

A cybersecurity adage indeed holds true here:  You may outsource the management, but you do not outsource the risk. The data risk of attack to the organization remains with outsourcing as data ownership remains with the organization. Mandiant predicts that attacks to cloud software will increase simultaneously as businesses seek to move to the cloud. It is important that businesses remain focused on their cloud security strategy and ensure that proper security protocols are in place. Misconfigurations, errors and omissions remain high.

Connected device vulnerabilities

The Internet of Things (IoT) concept has been around for a few years now. Despite that, there is no decrease in the number of things now connecting and getting online. As this number grows, so too does the number available vulnerabilities for an attacker to exploit. IoT devices range in complexity with some offering robust management and others a simply plug and play interface. With this, updating and patching is cumbersome to say the least. Mandiant found that there is a lack of a centralized security initiative for IoT devices but does note that large companies such as Microsoft and Amazon have made steps in the right direction. Mandiant concludes that this will take a few years before a consensus is met across all IoT devices.

Summary

The best defense is to begin talking about cybersecurity at home, at work and with your extended family. The conversation does not have to be technical. A simplistic approach is best. Focus on creating a baseline, enhancing passphrases and enabling multifactor authentication where possible. Also, consider your patching and updating strategy and backups. Whatever you are securing, awareness and focus will help to keep your information safe.

Wilson Bank and Trust is here for you. Should you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us online at wilsonbank.com, our mobile app, or call us at (844) WBT-BANK (844-928-2265).

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

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