Co-founder at Security Northa leader in digital security and privacy solutions for individuals and businesses.

    Cybersecurity is constantly evolving. As the distinction between our digital and “real” lives becomes increasingly blurred with each new technological breakthrough, the surface of malicious cyber activity increases. For one thing, that’s what makes cybersecurity such an exciting field to work in, because it’s always about the journey rather than the destination, and every day brings new challenges. On the other hand, the ever-changing nature of cybersecurity, combined with the high risk coupled with poor protection, inflicts high-stakes uncertainty on the cybersecurity landscape.

    Therefore, staying one step ahead of emerging threats and the political economy around them is key to understanding what businesses and individuals need to watch out for. Based on the trends I have observed over the past 12 months and the events that are expected to occur in 2023, I have outlined my thoughts on what lies ahead for cybersecurity in the coming year.

    The economic downturn will be compounded by an increase in cyberattacks.

    With a recession looming, businesses are looking for ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, the cybersecurity budget is often one of the first to suffer a cut. However, cybercriminals won’t sleep during this time and are very likely to abuse weakened defenses, making 2023 perhaps one of the worst years for cybersecurity.

    The future is passwordless.

    Year after year, one of the most popular passwords remains “123456”. Even if society’s bad cybersecurity habits cannot be changed quickly, it will not remain a problem in the future. The transition will be very slow (for a while we will live in a world of passwords and passwordless authentication methods), but many businesses and individuals are looking for more secure authentication methods. In fact, tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have already pledged to provide their users with passwordless logins.

    Fileless malware will become an increasingly serious problem.

    Fileless malware is essentially undetectable by most cybersecurity solutions because it does not require the victim to download any files. Instead, it exploits vulnerabilities in already present and trusted applications, leaving no traces on the computer’s hard drive. This type of malware is difficult to develop and execute, but if executed correctly, it can cause enormous damage.

    Privacy wars in 2023.

    India plans to discuss its new privacy law in early 2023, and the United States has introduced legislation regarding its first data protection framework, which will operate at the federal level. However, authoritarian countries have an entirely opposite position regarding the data of their citizens. Government-sponsored surveillance will continue to increase. With the Global Democracy Index already at an all-time low, the crackdown on digital rights by the most powerful authoritarian regimes could prove troublesome for democracy globally.

    The human factor will remain the weak link in corporate cybersecurity.

    Enterprise cybersecurity tools are becoming exceptionally advanced and more and more companies are recognizing the importance of data protection. However, Verizon’s DBIR report found the human factor to be the culprit in 82% of breaches. Even as companies improve in protecting their data, the lack of strong cyber hygiene principles embedded in their employee culture will remain the Achilles’ heel for most companies.

    Supply chain attacks.

    As the global chip shortage has shown, the interconnectedness of the global economy is the main driver of prosperity, but also its weakest link. By attacking intermediaries such as logistics companies and niche manufacturers, cybercriminals can attack one business but have a devastating effect on countless others. We saw this trend in 2022 and it is expected to continue in 2023.

    Vehicles that are part of the IoT will elevate industry security standards.

    Transport is becoming smarter and therefore more vulnerable to cyberattacks. New vehicles are rolling out with more and more functions relying on internet connection, becoming part of the Internet of Things (IoT). However, while hacking into someone’s smart camera is scary and a massive breach of privacy, a hacked vehicle can lead to a life or death situation. This can lead to someone taking control of a user’s car or stealing it by compromising the vehicle.

    Organizations that commit to establishing strict security standards for all smart devices will bring even more value in the future.

    On the one hand, 2023 should be a good year for cybersecurity, with privacy-centric policies dominating the regulatory landscape and big technological breakthroughs just around the corner. On the other hand, a looming recession is forcing companies to cut spending on cybersecurity, and worrying signs of authoritarian regimes are putting experts in the digital space on edge. All in all, for cybersecurity, 2023 is shaping up to be a year full of uncertainties.

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