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The importance of cyber security in 2024

In 2024, we can expect increased cyberattack activity against business. Aon's 'Global Risk Management Survey 2023' has revealed that the risk of cyber attacks in Poland already ranks as the third biggest threat to business, jumping up from the eighteenth place it held two years ago.

Man in a mask - covid-19 pandemic

Global Pandemic Impact on Cyber Security

The acceleration of digitalisation due to the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted numerous companies, some of which were previously offline, to shift their operations online. Simultaneously, the rise of remote work and the prevalent shift to online learning for higher education have resulted in a significant increase in the storage and transmission of valuable data. This rapid digital transformation has inadvertently created more opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit vulnerabilities within these digital ecosystems.

As a result, the landscape of cyber security threats has evolved rapidly. The interplay of increased digital activity, remote operations, and the growing reliance on online platforms has created a fertile ground for cyber attacks. With nearly 60% of higher education now conducted online, organisations must acknowledge the heightened risk of cyber threats and prioritise robust security measures to safeguard their digital assets effectively.

Artificial Intelligence

The emergence of new technologies, such as ChatGPT, is playing a significant role in driving the risk of cyber attacks. While artificial intelligence (AI) can be a valuable tool in automatically identifying bugs and vulnerabilities within systems, it also opens the door for less experienced individuals to engage in software development. This accessibility to AI-driven tools has the potential to introduce new vulnerabilities into digital ecosystems, complicating the already intricate landscape of cyber security.

In the ever-evolving cyber threat environment, the adoption of AI technologies like ChatGPT brings both advantages and challenges. While AI can streamline bug detection processes, its use by inexperienced developers introduces the risk of unintentional vulnerabilities. As organisations navigate this intricate terrain, they must strike a balance between leveraging AI for security enhancement and mitigating the potential risks associated with its widespread adoption.

A renewed increase in ransomware attacks

In the 2024 Ransomware Threat Landscape report by Symantec, the forecasted trend points towards a sustained growth in ransomware attacks. Surprisingly, the primary avenue for these attacks has shifted away from traditional botnets towards exploiting known vulnerabilities in publicly accessible applications. This shift underscores the critical need for heightened cyber security measures across all sectors and businesses, emphasizing the imperative for proactive strategies to combat evolving threats.

The escalating prominence of ransomware attacks necessitates a fundamental reevaluation of cyber security priorities, transcending industry boundaries and company size. Addressing these sophisticated attack vectors demands innovative solutions that can effectively thwart cyber criminals' constantly evolving tactics. Companies must recognise the urgency of bolstering their cyber defense mechanisms and adapting to the rapidly changing landscape of cyber threats to safeguard their digital assets and operations.

What is ransomeware?

Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim's data or device, rendering it inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. This form of cyber attack has been on the rise in recent years, with attackers targeting individuals, businesses, and even government entities. The goal of ransomware attacks is to extort money from victims in exchange for restoring access to their data or devices. Usually it is caused by the human error, such as clicking on malicious links or downloading infected files.

There are different forms of ransomware, including:

  • Locker ransomware which locks the victim out of their device, and

  • Crypto ransomware which encrypts the victim's files.

The attackers typically demand payment in cryptocurrency to make it harder to trace the transactions back to them.

Interestingly, it is argued that emergence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (although Monero is probably more often used as it is anonymous) is an important factor contributing to rise in malware infections, because malicious actors usually require ransom payment in crypto.

But what is malware?

Malware, short for malicious software, refers to any type of software designed to cause harm to a computer, server, network, or user. Malware can take many forms and can be used for various purposes, including stealing sensitive information, disrupting operations, or gaining unauthorized access to systems. Common types of malware include viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, adware, and ransomware. Malware can be spread through infected email attachments, malicious websites, or by exploiting vulnerabilities in software or operating systems.

It is not just virtual world, physical infrastructure can be affected as well

The importance of cyber security in 2024 cannot be overstated, as our reliance on technology continues to grow exponentially. IT systems now touch every aspect of our lives, from communication and financial transactions to healthcare and transportation. With this increased dependence on digital networks comes an increased vulnerability to cyber attacks.

One prime example of the real-world consequences of cyber attacks occurred in December 2023, when a malicious actor targeted the water supply system in Ireland, resulting in a two-day outage that left thousands of residents without access to clean water. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential impact of cyber attacks on physical infrastructure and public safety.

Cybersecurity awareness

This bring to a conclusion that cybersecurity awareness is becoming more and more important in 2024 to help individuals and organizations recognise the importance of protecting their digital assets and information. With the increasing sophistication of cyber threats, it is essential for everyone to understand the risks associated with using technology and the steps they can take to mitigate these risks.

Training programs and workshops on cybersecurity best practices can help raise cyber awareness among employees and educate them on how to identify potential threats, secure their devices and data, and respond effectively to cyber attacks. Additionally, investing in robust cybersecurity measures, such as firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion detection systems, and encryption technologies, can help protect against malicious actors and safeguard sensitive information especially to those who interact with critical systems.

Wrapping up

Looking ahead, the continued evolution of cyber security threats highlights the crucial importance of prioritising robust security measures in 2024. The rapid digital transformation across various sectors has created an environment ripe for cyber attacks, necessitating a proactive approach to safeguarding digital assets effectively.

In conclusion, investing in cybersecurity measures, raising awareness about cyber threats, and implementing best practices and building cyber awareness are essential steps to protect individuals, organizations, and critical infrastructure from malicious actors. By prioritising cybersecurity in 2024 and beyond, we can ensure a safer and more secure digital environment for all.


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