Nepal has encountered several significant cybersecurity issues, including ransom attacks, phishing attempts, data breaches, banking frauds, defamation, slander, online identity theft and individual cybercrimes.
In June 2017, a group of Turkish hackers breached the Department of Passport Official website, issuing a threat to expose government data. In October, an unidentified hacker targeted and hacked the Swift system of NIC Asia bank.
Similarly, in April 2020, the personal data of over 160,000 customers of Vianet Communication was leaked through Twitter handles. These incidents have prompted various companies to offer dynamic cybersecurity services aimed at assisting businesses and organisations in dealing with data breaches.
In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, businesses, organisations and governments rely heavily on computerised systems for their daily operations.
Consequently, cybersecurity has become a paramount concern to shield sensitive data from online attacks and unauthorised access. As technology advances, the prevalence of data breaches, ransomware, and hacking incidents continues to grow. To bolster protection, individuals and organisations can leverage expert-led security courses. Additionally, the rise of modern vehicles with sophisticated software and connectivity through Bluetooth and WiFi introduces vulnerabilities, necessitating robust cybersecurity measures, particularly for self-driving cars.
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) has revolutionised cybersecurity through machine learning algorithms.
AI-powered advancements in automated security systems, language processing, face detection and threat detection have significantly enhanced defense capabilities.
However, the same AI technology can be exploited by threat actors to develop intelligent malware and evade security measures.
Deploying AI-powered threat detection systems enables prompt identification and notification of new attacks and data breaches.
Pervasive use of mobile banking and the increasing attractiveness of smartphones as potential targets have resulted in a substantial surge in malware and attacks. This places personal data, including photos, financial transactions, emails and messages, at a heightened risk. Cybersecurity experts predict that smartphone viruses and malware will continue to be major concerns in 2023.
As organisations embrace cloud services, regular assessment and updating of security measures are essential to mitigate the risk of data leakage. While popular cloud applications such as Google and Microsoft offer robust security features, users themselves can inadvertently introduce vulnerabilities through errors, viruses or falling victim to phishing attacks.
The exponential growth of data highlights the importance of automation in achieving better control over information. In today’s fast-paced work environment, automation plays a crucial role in providing fast and efficient security solutions. Robust security measures must be integrated throughout the software development process, particularly for large and complex web applications.
Targeted ransomware attacks have emerged as a significant cybersecurity trend, posing severe consequences for industries reliant on specific software.
These attacks focus on specific targets and have previously impacted critical sectors such as healthcare. Addressing such threats demands proactive measures, as ransomware demands payment to prevent data exposure, potentially affecting entire organisations and even nations.
The shift to remote work during the pandemic has brought forth new cybersecurity challenges. To ensure the safety of remote employees, organisations must implement measures like multi-factor authentication, secure virtual private networks (VPNs) and automated patching.
Social engineering attacks, employing tactics such as phishing, spear phishing and identity theft, are on the rise. Organisations must foster employee awareness and ensure the presence of robust safeguards to detect and defend against these attacks.
In anticipation of increased cyber threats, organisations are projected to invest over $100 billion in security measures in 2023. Proactive learning about cybersecurity is crucial for organisations to prepare for future challenges.
Cybersecurity professionals with expertise in cloud computing, mobile malware and data protection are highly sought-after and well-compensated in the IT industry. As cybercriminals target cloud infrastructure and service providers, it becomes crucial to prioritise security in cloud environments.
To effectively tackle the cybersecurity challenges of 2023, two key factors need to be considered. Firstly, organisations should prioritise security consolidation by adopting a unified security platform that encompasses all necessary capabilities.
Relying on standalone solutions can hinder the management and operation of security infrastructure.
By consolidating security measures into a single platform, organisations can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their security architecture, enabling better threat management. Secondly, prevention-focused security is crucial.
Rather than solely relying on detection after an attack has occurred, organisations should prioritise proactive measures to block inbound attacks before they breach their systems.
By identifying and neutralising threats at an early stage, companies can prevent potential damage, minimise costs, and impede the progress of attackers.
Additionally, comprehensive protection is necessary to address the evolving IT landscape. Technologies such as cloud adoption, remote work, mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) introduce new security risks, offering cybercriminals various vulnerabilities to exploit.
Therefore, an effective cybersecurity programme should provide comprehensive coverage and protection across all potential attack vectors.
A version of this article appears in the print on June 22, 2023, of The Himalayan Times.