The world of cyber security is constantly evolving, adapting to the relentless advancement of cyber threats. As we venture into 2024, the digital security landscape faces new challenges and opportunities. In this blog, we delve into the top seven cyber security trends of 2024, examining their impact on current and future defence mechanisms.
A critical aspect of our discussion is the unique vulnerability of charities in this digital age. Organisations often limited by resources, find themselves increasingly targeted by charity cyber attacks. This emphasises the need for robust and adaptable cyber security.
1. Artificial Intelligence Evolution
The evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands out as a pivotal cyber security trend in 2024. AI and automation offer both promising advantages and formidable challenges when it comes to cyber security. AI technology enables features like advanced facial recognition and automatic threat detection, significantly enhancing the speed and accuracy of data analysis and response mechanisms. The all-new AI approach empowers organisations to preemptively identify and mitigate potential security breaches, ensuring a robust defence against cyber threats.
However, the same AI capabilities that bolster our defence systems are also being leveraged in cyber attacks. A growing concern is the use of AI in sophisticated social engineering attacks. Moreover, there has been a rise in automated malware that intelligently adapts to avoid detection and constantly evolves in response to the measures designed to counteract it. This duality of AI in cyber security is a trend that demands vigilance and constant innovation in our defensive strategies.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the ever-growing network of physical devices connected to the Internet. This encompasses a wide range of objects from fitness trackers and smart home appliances to cars and industrial machinery. As these connected devices become more and more popular, the potential for cyber crime escalates.
The accumulation of IoT devices means that more personal and sensitive data is being transmitted and stored online than ever before. Each connected device represents a potential entry point for cyber criminals, increasing the risk of data fraud. The data shared across these devices, often without robust security measures, becomes a treasure trove for threat actors.
A point of vulnerability can be pinpointed in 5G networks. While 5G brings speed and connectivity, its rapidly growing infrastructure presents significant security challenges. The complexity and novelty of 5G networks make them more susceptible to cyber attacks, with IoT hardware serving as a primary target.
While IoT offers remarkable convenience and innovation, it also opens up new avenues for cyber crime to take place.
As we continue to explore the trends in cyber security for charities, ransomware is third on our list. Ransomware attacks involve malicious software that encrypts a victim’s data, with the attackers demanding payment in exchange for the decryption key. These attacks can target any individual or organisation and have evolved to become highly sophisticated and targeted in nature. Examples of ransomware attacks include healthcare organisations, where the urgent need for access to patient data increases the likelihood of paying the ransom.
A looming question for 2024 is the potential rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). This involves ransomware developers renting out their malicious software to others, making it accessible even to those with limited technical expertise. This could lead to an increase in the frequency and diversity of ransomware attacks.
When it comes to data protection and charities, ransomware is a very relevant threat. Charities are unfortunately less likely to have the resources to implement top-of-the-range cyber security and are therefore seen as something of an easy target by ransomware attackers.
Robust cyber security measures are essential when it comes to battling ransomware. This includes implementing regular and secure backups of your organisation’s data, ensuring that these backups are not connected to the main network to prevent them from being encrypted during an attack. Training for your staff and volunteers about the risks and signs of ransomware, alongside deploying advanced threat detection systems, is also crucial.
Charities should prepare for the potential surge of RaaS in 2024 with a comprehensive and multi-layered approach to cyber security. This should include strategic planning and regular training.
4. Cloud Security
Another major cyber security trend for 2024 is cloud security. Microsoft and Google have strengthened their cloud services with robust security features, offering layers of protection against various cyber security threats to their clients. Both of these platforms continually update their security protocols to stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities. Despite this, security gaps can still exist and often breaches in cloud security stem from user errors or insufficient user-end security measures, such as weak passwords or unsecured network connections.
The evolution of cloud computing for charities is set to become even more significant as more organisations navigate towards multi-cloud and hybrid cloud computing. This offers enhanced flexibility and scalability but also introduces complexities in managing security across diverse environments. As the workforce becomes more distributed with hybrid working, reliance on cloud services for collaboration, data storage, and processing escalates. This creates a stronger focus on securing cloud environments against unauthorised access and ensuring data integrity.
5. Remote Working Cyber Security
The fifth key cyber security trend of 2024 is remote working cyber security. With more organisations adopting remote or hybrid work models, associated threats, such as the risks of shadow IT, have become more prominent.
Staff and volunteers working from home or various locations often use less secure networks, which can expose organisational data to cyber threats. This risk is heightened when employees access sensitive information without adequate security measures, leaving the data vulnerable to interception.
For charities, enforcing cyber security measures across the board is crucial to mitigate these risks. One fundamental step is the implementation of multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide verification factors to gain access to their accounts. Additionally, the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) is essential. VPNs encrypt internet traffic, ensuring that data remains secure and private, even when accessing it from a less secure public Wi-Fi network.
Another critical measure your organisation can adopt is automated patching. Automated patching ensures that software updates and security patches are applied promptly, eliminating potential weak spots that could be targeted in cyber attacks. Along with ongoing cyber security training for staff, these measures are fundamental in building a resilient defence against the unique challenges posed by remote working environments.
6. Mobile Cyber Security
As our lives and work increasingly migrate onto mobile devices, the importance of securing these devices becomes paramount. Smartphones and tablets have become a focal point in our digital ecosystem as they’re used regularly for a wide range of purposes. This shift has not gone unnoticed by cyber criminals as they constantly seek new vulnerabilities to exploit.
Sensitive information is often less protected on mobile devices than on traditional computing systems, and becomes an attractive target for cyber attacks. This includes everything from financial data accessed through banking apps to confidential work documents shared over mobile messaging platforms.
As these devices accumulate more sensitive data, they become a larger target for cyber criminals. These attacks can take various forms, including phishing scams, malicious apps disguised as legitimate software, or exploiting security flaws in mobile operating systems. This evolving threat landscape necessitates a robust approach to mobile cyber security. Charities must prioritise securing mobile devices just as rigorously as they would traditional computers, implementing measures like regular software updates, secure app usage policies, and educating users on the signs of mobile-specific cyber threats.
7. Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Concluding our top cyber security trends for 2024, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a vital component. Given the concerns highlighted in our discussions on IoT, remote working, and mobile security, MFA emerges as a critical line of defence for several factors.
2fa for charities adds an essential layer of protection and ensures that even if one device is compromised, the integrity of the entire network isn’t easily breached. When an employee is accessing sensitive data from various potentially insecure locations, MFA serves as a safeguard against the risks posed by compromised passwords or unsecured networks. It also mitigates the risk of data breaches resulting from lost or stolen devices and phishing attacks.
Multi-Factor Authentication is expected to become more than just a best practice; it’s anticipated to evolve into a standard security requirement. The increasing sophistication of cyber threats demands equally sophisticated defences, and MFA provides a highly effective means of enhancing security across various platforms.
As we conclude our top cyber security trends for 2024, it’s clear that the digital landscape is undergoing rapid transformation, bringing new challenges and necessitating vigilance and greater security measures. From the evolution of Artificial Intelligence to the expanding realm of the Internet of Things, each cyber security trend emphasises the complexity of the current cyber threat environment.
For charities, this evolving cyber landscape demands attention. The nature of their work and the data they hold make them attractive targets for cybercriminals and therefore makes it imperative for charities to invest in comprehensive cyber security measures. This includes staying informed about the latest trends and threats, implementing advanced security technologies, and promoting cyber awareness among staff and volunteers.
In summary, the importance of robust cyber security cannot be overstated. Cyber security is no longer just an IT issue; it’s a crucial aspect of organisational resilience and sustainability in an increasingly interconnected world.
Would your charity like to find out more about cyber security and how best to tailor cyber security to fit your organisation’s needs? Book your FREE Cyber Security Consultation with our IT experts at Qlic by clicking the button below.