As computer systems become more complex and interconnected, the potential for devastating data breaches also grows. Industry leaders and security experts recognize that to stay safe, data protection systems need to be one step ahead of hackers constantly. With the rapid development of new technologies, keeping track of emerging cybersecurity threats is more challenging and vital than ever before. 

Whilst a hacker’s targets and methods constantly change, current trends point to the threats we’re most likely to face. Hence, we have identified four growing cybersecurity threats to be sensitive to in the coming year. 

Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

Some of the most potentially devastating and escalating new cybersecurity dangers are aimed at critical infrastructure systems and public works worldwide. In 2021, the Colonial Pipeline fell victim to a crippling ransomware attack. The hack infiltrated some of the pipeline’s digital systems, shutting it down for several days, which compelled President Biden to declare a state of emergency. This cyberattack was deemed a national security event due to the shutdown of pipelines moving oil from refineries to industrial markets. This shutdown affected consumers and airlines along the East Coast. 

Consequently, this cyberattack garnered substantial public attention due to a potential contagion effect. Attacks targeting public infrastructure will take out essential systems, such as hospitals, water facilities, electricity, and energy production, and are often referred to as “killware” for their ability to cause disruption leading to real-life deaths. 

Access to Crypto Wallets

While the blockchain technology that powers cryptocurrencies is often lauded as “incorruptible,” there are a number of very real emerging threats aimed at cryptocurrency users. While the blockchain is not particularly vulnerable to attacks due to its decentralized nature, Bitcoin private keys, associated addresses, and crypto wallets can all be compromised by malware, allowing hackers to deplete accounts. 

These malicious programs are often delivered using classic phishing scams. Emails containing attachments (such as a Word document) that can execute macros to run the programs are sent to unsuspecting users. Similarly, fake Amazon gift cards, another phishing favorite, are being rigged with Remote Access Trojan (RAT) programs that steal crypto wallet information by keylogging and taking screenshots of the victim’s computer. 

Threats to Linux Systems

Historically, users have considered the Linux operating system to be safer from cyberattacks than other operating systems. Hackers have generally left Linux users alone, but there has been a significant rise in attacks on Linux systems. Unlike Windows, which is a targeted OS system, Linux does not have the support or proper patching capabilities to provide its users with the confidence that incoming cyber threats will be countered or remediated. The knowledge basis regarding how to deal with cyber threats is almost non-existent. 

What will aggravate matters is the development of a Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) in Windows 11. This will make Linux systems vulnerable to Windows attacks and vice-versa. 

In addition to being less understood, threats to Linux systems can also target more vulnerable areas than other types of attacks. Because of its relatively specialized nature, Linux is often utilized on the “back end” of businesses. It is often used to manage critical business and IT processes, making breaches to these systems particularly worrying. 

For example, many Internet of Things (IoT) systems and devices run on the Linux infrastructure. IoT devices have become less niche and will play a vital role in economic growth. Furthermore, Linux environments often have valuable data like Secure Socket Shell (SSH) credentials, certificates, applications usernames, and passwords, and are in need of protection from adversarial activities. 

Widening Network Edges 

Even as most governments and companies move away from COVID-19 safety protocols, the number of people working remotely has been steadily increasing. While accessibility is generally a positive feature, remote work means that there are more devices and locations needing to access databases, increasing what is known as the “network edge.” Workers’ at-home devices are often more vulnerable to attack than those in an office, and hackers have been taking full advantage of these new doors into private networks. 

Likewise, “bring-your-own-device” policies further increase the network edge by opening networks to an even wider variety of devices. This creates new opportunities for hackers to gain entry to information by compromising employees’ personal computers and phones rather than resorting to attacking a company’s system directly. 

Managing Cybersecurity Threats with Sertainty

In the face of these (and other) emerging cybersecurity threats, securing sensitive data is more crucial than ever. Traditional “perimeter security,” wherein data is protected by keeping outsiders from accessing a system, becomes increasingly inadequate as connectivity increases. With information becoming ubiquitous and available to users anywhere, the process of granting access to approved parties becomes a difficult balance between security and convenience, often leaving numerous doors open to malicious actors. 

Sertainty has redefined how information is protected to ensure data privacy even where firewalls fail. Using cutting-edge protocols and embedding intelligence directly into data files and datasets, Sertainty leverages proprietary processes that enable data to govern, track, and defend itself. These protocols mean that even if systems are compromised, the data remains secure.

At Sertainty, we know that data is the most valuable asset to your organization’s continued success. Our industry-leading Data Privacy Platform has pioneered what it means for data to be intelligent and actionable, helping companies move forward with a proven and sustainable approach to their cybersecurity needs.

As the digital landscape evolves and networks become more widely accessible, Sertainty is committed to providing Self-Protecting Data solutions that evolve and grow to defend your crown jewels. Instead of focusing on your network’s inherent shortcomings, we enable you to safely and confidently embrace the potential of a new online-oriented world. Data breaches may be inevitable, but with Sertainty, privacy loss is moot.