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Cybersecurity in 2024: Priorities and challenges for Canadian organizations | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


By Derek Manky

As predictions for 2024 point to the continued expansion of cyber threats, cybersecurity experts are calling for a renewed commitment to cyber resilience. In our FortiGuard Labs´ 2024 Cyber Threat Prediction report, we offer advice on combating evolving threats. As Fortinet’s elite cybersecurity threat intelligence and research organization, FortiGuard uses telemetry from more than six million globally deployed sensors to analyze real-world threats, forming the basis of our annual predictions.

Based on these insights, we recommend that organizations double down on risk mitigation and resiliency in 2024. The continuously evolving threat landscape and changing regulatory environment will ensure that investments in enterprise-wide education programs, leading-edge technologies, and services, and expanded cybersecurity teams will be critical to organizations’ business strategy.

Identifying the risks 

Derek Manky is Chief Security Strategist & VP Global Threat Intelligence at FortiGuard Labs

The continued growth of Cybercrime-as-a-Service (CaaS) operations means organizations face an increase in the quantity and capability of cyber attackers. Two things are driving this shift: the evolution of existing hacks to better evade detection and increase destructive capabilities and the adoption of new technologies to expand the tools available to attackers.

In 2023, FortiGuard identified the re-imagining of “classic” attack tactics as a trend that continues to be a risk for organizations. The success of these recycled tactics means that the number of cyber attackers using them is also multiplying. Now, the bad guys are competing for targets and introducing even more variants to differentiate themselves from competitors.

The technology behind cyber attacks is also evolving as criminals use artificial intelligence (AI) to advance their capabilities. AI enables attackers to enhance every attack faster than ever before. By weaponizing AI, attackers can quickly modify hacks, increasing instances of disruptive denial-of-service attacks or extortion through ransomware. Attackers also use the technology to thwart the algorithms that detect social engineering or to enable audio spoofing and other deepfakes.

 Increased competition among attackers and the adoption of more sophisticated defensive protections will drive new attacks and approaches in 2024. According to our FortiGuard’s predictions, organizations can anticipate:

More zero days: As the number of platforms, applications and technologies organizations rely on for daily business operations grow, so do the unique opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities. FortiGuard Labs predicts an increase in zero-day exploits, and an increase in infrastructure targets, including in the energy, transportation, public safety, finance, and healthcare sectors.

Stealth attacks: Sophisticated attackers are willing to invest in the upfront work needed to infiltrate a network. They work around cybersecurity defences to compromise networks and learn what they need to deliver a more targeted and effective attack. We predict adversaries will continue to invest in reconnaissance, using advanced social engineering tactics to acquire credentials or even recruit insiders to gain network access.

Mitigating risk, building resiliency 

Implementing ongoing education initiatives is a significant way to reduce risk by making cybersecurity everyone’s responsibility. Given that the average cost of a data breach, according to IMB, has now surpassed $5 million, cybersecurity training for all employees is an essential first step.

In addition to general cybersecurity awareness, IT and cybersecurity staff should embrace continuous training to stay ahead of cyber attackers. Investing in specialized training can ensure your security operations team has the skills and knowledge to respond to the latest threats. Periodic training exercises designed to test teams’ readiness through simulated attacks or tabletop exercises can help improve incident response.

Investments in cybersecurity and training are also critical to meeting evolving regulatory requirements. In Canada, the Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) requires organizations to report data breaches to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and notify affected individuals. While the current reporting of cyberattacks is voluntary, the federal government is considering mandatory reporting requirements.

Where to start 

Training may be critical to mitigating risk and building organization resilience, but it can be challenging to achieve, especially as Canada faces a cyber skills shortage. That’s why Fortinet provides training opportunities designed to help organizations provide awareness training and upskill their security professionals.

Fortinet’s Security Awareness and Training offers training on the most relevant security threats facing organizations. The service helps IT, security, and compliance leaders build a cyber-aware culture where employees are better equipped to recognize and avoid cyber attacks. To test the effectiveness of training programs, Fortinet also offers the FortiPhish Phishing Simulation Service, a real-world simulation that challenges employee awareness and vigilance.

Fortinet also offers the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) training for IT and cybersecurity teams. These online, self-paced training modules include practical, hands-on exercises and assesses specific levels of cybersecurity expertise, from foundation to architect.

Cybersecurity is business security

Cybersecurity is more than just an aspect of IT management; it is an enterprise risk-management imperative. Given the potential impact and cost of cyberattacks, organizations must demonstrate that they have the oversight, processes, and procedures in place to prevent, detect, and respond to cyber threats. Effective training is foundational and necessary to developing a mature cybersecurity culture. It helps all employees share in the responsibility of risk mitigation while supporting the organization’s business goals.

Derek Manky is Chief Security Strategist & VP Global Threat Intelligence at FortiGuard Labs



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