The last few years have been challenging for cybersecurity departments who were forced to adapt quickly to rapid digitalization in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. An expanded attack surface has presented new opportunities for cyber criminals, but developing technology holds possibilities for more efficient protection. Here are just a few of the cybersecurity predictions we’re expecting for 2022 and beyond.
- Double and triple extortion ransomware attacks become the norm. Ransomware isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We saw in 2021 how many high-profile attacks occurred, particularly against critical infrastructure. However, victims are also beginning to notice that paying the ransom may be futile. The Sophos’ State of Ransomware 2021 Report noted that only 8% of companies who paid the ransom got all of their data back. The average amount of data recovered was 65%. Companies are also improving their resiliency to data encryption attacks, making this type of ransomware attack less valuable. But just as businesses have adapted, so too have their attackers. Ransomware attacks in 2022 will no longer focus solely on data encryption but will more often feature double and triple extortion, threatening the release of stolen data and direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks if businesses don’t pay.
- Increased focus on application security. December 2021’s Log4j vulnerability has revealed just how prevalent open-source code is and how a vulnerability in it can be widely exploited. Often companies may not fully understand how vulnerable they are simply because they may not have visibility of all assets and applications in their environment. In 2022, organizations will focus on understanding their software supply chain, increasing visibility of assets and applications across their environment, as well as identity and access management and data governance policies.
- AI and automation play a bigger role in cybersecurity. The sheer volume of threat intelligence collected today can be overwhelming. Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity monitoring tools will not only make it possible to analyze a higher volume of data, AI also has the capability to learn from the data, develop profiles of potential threats, and keep up with the evolving nature of today’s threat actors. That being said, AI is not a silver bullet and will require skilled analysts working in conjunction with automation to be effective.
- Workforce shortages expand the profession: According to RH-ISAC’s 2021 CISO Benchmark Report, 67% of CISOs expect to have higher levels of full-time staff in 2022 compared to 2021. This is good news for cybersecurity professionals who are looking for professional growth opportunities, but will companies be able to find the staff qualified to fill these positions given the talent shortage that has existed in cybersecurity for years? In 2022, employers will be more likely to consider candidates without the traditional cybersecurity background and focus on providing skill training to fill in the gaps. The move to a remote workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic also offers opportunities for organizations to source the best candidates for positions regardless of geographical location.
- Shift to zero-trust and hybrid cloud environments: The workforce quickly became remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing security teams to rush to implement temporary solutions to secure the newly expanded attack surface. It appears now, however, that work-from-home is here to stay. In the 2021 CISO Benchmark Report, 80% of respondents anticipated a hybrid work environment in 2022. Organizations are now investing in the architecture to support this shift, including adopting zero-trust policies and hybrid cloud environments.
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