The only consensus on cybersecurity in 2022 is that things will get uglier, but in what ways? Third party security, Ransomware, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Decentralized Finance (DeFi) are some of the threats you can expect more from this year – with the potential for far worse results than in the past.

Here are some of the more interesting 2022 predictions we’ve seen from cybersecurity researchers. While many are grumpy, there are some optimistic views that indicate progress. What they have in common is that they are thought-provoking and prepare you for new challenges in 2022 and beyond.

Third party risks are the focus

Third party risks are at the forefront of security concerns, with identity risk management provider SecZetta predicting that “supply chain paranoia” will conquer the cybersecurity world this year.

The software supply chain is at the center of these concerns as continuous integration and deployment (CI / CD) development methods create vulnerabilities that can be exposed to attacks like these SolarWinds and Kaseya.

One of the more interesting predictions comes from Moshe Zioni, vice president of security research for startups in application risk management Apiirowho says attacks on the software supply chain will peak this year – and then begin to improve when better security measures are put in place.

One possible data point in favor of this view comes from Pravin Madhani, CEO and co-founder of K2 Cyber ​​Security, who notes that 2021 will be the fifth record year in a row for the US-CERT vulnerability database (Picture above) the number of high-grade vulnerabilities even decreased.

Madhani said, “It is likely that the lower number of high-severity vulnerabilities is due to better coding practices by developers. Many organizations have introduced the ‘left shift’ in recent years to put more emphasis on ensuring that security is a higher priority earlier in the development process. “

Still, Madhani notes that the COVID-19 pandemic “has continued to push many companies to rush their applications as part of their digital transformation and cloud journeys, which means the code may have gone through fewer QA cycles , and there may have been “more third-party, legacy and use Open source code, another risk factor for further security vulnerabilities. Companies code better, but they don’t test so much or thoroughly that more vulnerabilities have made it into production. “

Also read: The best third-party risk management (TPRM) tools for 2022

Attacks on ransomware and critical infrastructure are getting worse

After a number of high profile attacks over the past year, ransomware is certainly not going to go away anytime soon. And Derek Manky, head of Security Insights & Global Threat Alliances for Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs, expects ransomware attacks to become even more destructive.

Ransomware was already combined with distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and Manky notes that ransomware could see the addition of wiper malware, “which could not only destroy data, but also destroy systems and hardware. … This could be a problem for new edge environments, critical infrastructures and supply chains. “

SecurityScorecard-CISO Mike Wilkes also pointed out the potential for Malware and ransomware attacks get much worse.

“As malware attacks increase, the likelihood that something will go wrong in the malware code increases,” said Wilkes. “An event in the near future could result in a massive depopulation of internet-connected devices. Or worse, widespread corruption of medical devices. Such an attack could disable circuit boards with embedded operating systems and prevent them from being reset. This is a possibility in 2022. “

As critical infrastructure is becoming a more common target – a possibility as such capabilities are added to attack kits available on the dark web and Linux, and the edge become more and more of a target – the consequences could be devastating indeed.

Fortinet points out that with the increasing convergence of operational technology (OT) and IT at the network edge, about Remote access and IoT devices“Holding such systems and critical infrastructures for ransom will be lucrative, but it could also have dire consequences, including effects on the lives and safety of individuals. As networks become increasingly interconnected, virtually any access point could be a target to gain access to the IT network. “

Not patched critical vulnerabilities will remain a top attack vector as companies have known vulnerabilities like the Apache Log4j error that showed up last month.

See also: Best backup solutions for ransomware protection

AI attacks lead to regulation

Expect it to get more and more sophisticated AI and machine learning-based attacks – and a growing regulatory response from governments around the world.

MDR and SASE vendor Open Systems predicts that attackers will “use AI to evade detection” using adversarial techniques and defenses to create self-rewriting malware to evade security systems.

AI is already used by security tools to recognize unusual behavior, and Fortinet expects cyber criminals to use deep fakes and AI to mimic human activity to improve improvement Social engineering attacks and bypass secure forms of authentication such as voice prints or face recognition.

The increasing use – and abuse – of AI will lead to new regulations, predicts Okera CEO Nick Halsey, who notes that the EU has already done so drafted AI rules. Along with China’s new data protection law, Organizations can expect data usage control and protection to continue to grow.

HackerOne Hacker Dawn Isabel says white hat hackers have important skills that they can bring to the AI ​​debate.

“Hackers have a unique mix of technical skills and creativity that is essential to finding workarounds for breaking systems,” says Isabel. “I expect that as the ethical hacking industry matures, the hackers’ skills will be applied to other challenges we face with technology. Disinformation, AI and ML, and data protection are all areas in which hackers could help identify problematic prejudices or weaknesses. … The creativity and global diversity of the hacker community make them ideal for manipulating the decision-making processes of AI and ML systems and identifying problematic results of these systems. “

DeFi security needs to be examined more closely

As decentralized finance becomes more widespread, so will efforts to secure it.

the Role of cryptocurrency in ransomware payments is already under scrutiny, but as corporate crypto payments become more common, “the security aspects of these new technologies are becoming more emphasized,” says ReliaQuest enterprise architect Marcus Carey.

“CISOs and security teams need to understand all facets of cryptocurrencies, including various blockchains such as Ethereum and Solana, smart contracts, and hot and cold storage,” says Carey. “Just as cybersecurity teams are reviewing code now, they have to review smart contracts … Cybersecurity teams and IT teams have to manage hot wallets that are used for transactions and cold wallets that are used for long-term storage. There are several aspects and implications that CISOs and their teams need to understand in order to keep money safe. Today, cryptocurrency is the wild west of the digital world. Companies now need to prepare for the impact they will have in the year ahead. “

Also read: The state of blockchain applications in cybersecurity

Measure cybersecurity progress

The decentralized, dispersed nature of modern businesses with their emphasis on edge, remote access, IoT devices, and more is leading security providers to come across sophisticated new defenses like Cybersecurity mesh and decentralized identity, but an industry rep says there is a lack of a basic focus on risk and outcomes.

Ashok Sankar, VP of Product & Solutions Marketing at ReliaQuest, cited a Ponemon study that found that nearly two-thirds of companies don’t have standardized metrics to measure the progress of their IT security risk management programs – and that it is based on a well-defined security – and a lack of risk management programs makes your organization the most vulnerable to attack.

“In 2022, companies are expected to prioritize standardizing key security metrics and track them more effectively,” says Sankar. “We will see security leaders recognize the value of these programs and make them a top priority as we move into 2022.”

Also read: Best risk management software for 2022

And one concern for the future: quantum cryptography

Not that IT security professionals don’t have enough to fear in 2022, but one company is already looking at the potential threat posed by quantum computing.

Jennifer Fernick, global research director at cybersecurity consultancy NCC Group, says the race to build “any scalable, general-purpose quantum computer can dramatically change the geopolitical balance of power by decrypting the data-gathering capabilities available through quantum cryptanalysis.”

Quantum computers will be able to break almost all widely used cryptographic algorithms (or, in the case of symmetric ciphers, weaken them significantly), she notes.

“While work on developing quantum-resistant cryptography continues, global science and intelligence communities are struggling to gain a first-mover advantage, and we may not know when the first government will crack RSA2048,” she said. “Whoever gets there first will wield power in ways that cannot be overestimated, but we can partially mitigate the effects by using high-quality implementations of well-cryptanalyzed quantum-secure cryptographic algorithms.”

Also read: Homomorphic encryption makes real profits, driven by Google, IBM, Microsoft

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