Check Point Software’s cybersecurity predictions for 2023

Hacktivism, deepfakes, attacks on business collaboration tools and pressure to cut complexity will top organisations’ security agendas over the coming year

Check Point Software, a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has released its cyber-security predictions for 2023, detailing the key security challenges that organisations will face over the next year.

Cyberattacks across all industry sectors increased by 28% in the third quarter of 2022 compared to 2021, and Check Point predicts a continued sharp rise worldwide, driven by increases in ransomware exploits and in state-mobilised hacktivism driven by international conflicts.  At the same time, organisations’ security teams will face growing pressure as the global cyber workforce gap of 3.4 million employees widens further, and Governments are expected to introduce new cyber regulations to protect citizens against breaches.

In 2022 cyber criminals and state-linked threat actors continued to exploit organisations’ hybrid working practices, and the increase in these attacks is showing no signs of slowing as the Russia – Ukraine conflict continues to have a profound impact globally. Organisations need to consolidate and automate their security infrastructure to enable them to better monitor and manage their attack surfaces and prevent all types of threat with less complexity and less demand on staff resources.

Check Point’s cybersecurity predictions for 2023 fall into four categories: malware and phishing;  hacktivism;  emerging Government regulations;  and security consolidation.

Hikes in malware and hacking exploits

  • No respite from ransomware: this was the leading threat to organisations in the first half of 2022, and the ransomware ecosystem will continue to evolve and grow with smaller, more agile criminal groups forming to evade law enforcement.
  • Compromising collaboration tools: while phishing attempts against business and personal email accounts are an everyday threat, in 2023 criminals will widen their aim to target business collaboration tools such as Slack, Teams, OneDrive and Google Drive with phishing exploits. These are a rich source of sensitive data given most organisations’ employees continue to often work remotely.  

Hacktivism and deepfakes evolve

  • State-mobilised hacktivism: in the past year, hacktivism has evolved from social groups with fluid agendas (such as Anonymous) to state-backed groups that are more organised, structured and sophisticated.  Such groups have attacked targets in the US, Germany, Italy, Norway, Finland, Poland and Japan recently, and these ideological attacks will continue to grow in 2023. “We’re entering a new era of hacktivism, with increasing attacks motivated by political and social causes,” predicts Maya Horowitz, VP of Research, Check Point Software. “Threat actors are becoming increasingly shameless and will turn their attention to critical infrastructure.” 
  • Weaponizing deepfakes: in October 2022, a deepfake of the U.S. President Joe Biden singing ‘Baby Shark’ instead of the national anthem was circulated widely.  Was this a joke, or an attempt to influence the important U.S. midterm elections?  Deepfakes technology will be increasingly used to target and manipulate opinions, or to trick employees into giving up access credentials.

Governments step up measures to protect citizens

  • New laws around data breaches:  the breach at Australian telco Optus has driven the country’s Government to introduce new data breach regulations that other telcos must follow, to protect customers against subsequent fraud.  We will see other national Governments following this example in 2023, in addition to existing measures such as GDPR.
  • New national cybercrime task forces:  more Governments will follow Singapore’s example of setting up inter-agency task forces to counter ransomware and cybercrime, bringing businesses, state departments and law enforcement together to combat the growing threat to commerce and consumers.  These efforts are partially a result of questions over whether the cyber-insurance sector can be relied upon as a safety net for cyber incidents.
  • Mandating security and privacy by design:  the automotive industry has already moved to introduce measures to protect the data of vehicle owners.  This example will be followed in other areas of consumer goods that store and process data, holding manufacturers accountable for vulnerabilities in their products.

Consolidation matters

Cutting complexity to reduce risks:  the global cyber-skills gap grew by over 25% in 2022. Yet organisations have more complex, distributed networks and cloud deployments than ever before because of the pandemic. Security teams need to consolidate their IT and security infrastructures to improve their defences and reduce their workload, to help them stay ahead of threats. Over two-thirds of CISOs stated that working with fewer vendors’ solutions would increase their company’s security.

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