Top 7 Cybersecurity Trends in 2022

With the evolution of IT architectures and the cyber threat landscape, companies need to ensure that hybrid workforces and corporate assets are secure. This includes protection of mobile devices, networks, user access, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and cloud devices.

Securing the modern corporate network requires an understanding of the latest cyber threats and cybersecurity trends, such as those included in Gartner’s 7 Top Trends in Cybersecurity for 2022. This article presents the latest cyber security trends and how organizations should prepare to protect themselves against threat actors.

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The Evolution Of the Cyber Threat Landscape

The cyber threat landscape and cybersecurity both change quickly, and this has been particularly true recently. Significant modifications in corporate business operations and IT architectures were prompted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cyber threat actors have taken advantage of these changes, targeting their attacks toward vulnerabilities in remote access, cloud computing, and other solutions adopted as part of the new security reality.

As the cyber threat landscape evolves, many corporate security teams are struggling to keep up with attacks that are growing more common and sophisticated. Threats such as ransomware infections, supply chain attacks, and multi-vector attacks are on the rise, and sophisticated attacks like the exploit of the Log4j vulnerability impact millions of companies, including Amazon, Cisco, and Tesla.

Cybersecurity Threats

The evolution of the cyber threat landscape has a significant impact on cybersecurity trends as organizations adapt to address the latest threats. 

Some of the leading cybersecurity threats of 2022 include the following:

Ransomware

Ransomware has become one of the most common and visible cybersecurity threats of recent years. Ransomware malware is designed to encrypt the files on a system and demand a ransom in exchange for the decryption key needed to restore access to those files.

In recent years, the ransomware threat has grown and evolved as cyber threat actors refine their tools and techniques. Modern ransomware attacks are very targeted and demand multi-million dollar ransoms. These attacks have also evolved to incorporate multiple means of extortion, such as stealing data before encrypting it and threatening a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack to provide the attacker with extra leverage to force the victim to meet the ransom demand.

Supply Chain Exploits

The SolarWinds hack of 2020 was the first of many recent supply chain exploits that took advantage of the trust relationships that exist between organizations. 

Attackers can exploit corporate supply chains in various ways including:

  • Third-Party Partners: Every company has a set of trusted third-party vendors, customers, suppliers, and other partners. Attackers can exploit these trust relationships by using access to a partner’s systems to exploit their access to an organization’s IT assets or to perform a spear phishing attack against an organization.
  • Trusted Software: The SolarWinds hack and similar attacks took advantage of the fact that all companies use trusted third-party software within their networks. Malicious code inserted into the software or a software update will be installed and run, providing internal access to an organization’s network.
  • Open Source Libraries: Most applications rely upon third-party and open-source libraries to implement key functionality. If these libraries contain vulnerabilities or are corrupted by a malicious party, they provide a means for an attacker to gain access to corporate systems.

Multi-Vector Attacks

The evolution of the ransomware campaign underscores the fact that cyber threat actors are increasingly turning to multi-vector attacks. Ransomware used to focus solely on encrypting data and now incorporates data theft, DDoS, and other threats.

For cyber threat actors, the main challenge in an attack campaign is gaining access to an organization’s high-value systems and data. Once this goal has been achieved, it makes sense for an attacker to maximize the return on investment of their attack by using this access to achieve as many objectives as possible.

Cybersecurity Trends in 2022

The rapid pace of change in the cyber threat landscape and corporate IT environments means that cyber trends change rapidly. Here are some of the leading cyber trends of 2022.

#1. Security Consolidation

Historically, corporate security architectures have been built of numerous standalone security solutions designed to address specific security risks. The end result of this approach is a complex, disconnected security architecture where analysts are overwhelmed with alerts and cannot effectively monitor and manage the array of solutions and dashboards. Additionally, the complex architecture can create security gaps and inefficiencies caused by overlapping security technologies.

As a result, companies are starting to move towards security consolidation, deploying security platforms created by a single vendor. These consolidated security platforms offer improved visibility, greater efficiency, and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than an architecture of cobbled-together standalone solutions.

#2. Mesh Architecture 

The complexity and security gaps created by a security architecture inspired Gartner to define cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) as one of the top strategic trends of 2022. The goal of CSMA is to create a means for security solutions from different vendors to work together effectively to achieve certain security goals.

To achieve this, Gartner has defined four CSMA Foundational Levels that describe key security goals, including:

  • Consolidated Policy and Posture Management
  • Distributed Identity Fabric
  • Consolidated Dashboards
  • Security Analytics and Intelligence

By adopting CSMA-compliant solutions, an organization can alleviate some of the major issues associated with security architectures composed of point solutions and better achieve core security goals.

#3. Developer-First Security

Vulnerabilities in production applications are a significant problem with the amount of newly discovered vulnerabilities growing each year. One of the main drivers of this is the fact that security historically has taken a backseat in the development process. With the focus on creating a functional application and meeting release deadlines, security is often addressed in the testing phase of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) if at all.

Vulnerable software has numerous impacts on its users and the manufacturer, driving a renewed focus on shifting security left in the SDLC. By adding security requirements to the planning process and integrating vulnerability scanning and other security solutions into automated CI/CD pipelines, organizations can reduce the cost and impact of security vulnerabilities with minimal impact on development timelines and release dates.

#4. Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP)

Adoption of cloud-based infrastructure creates new security challenges for organizations and makes the deployment of cloud-focused security solutions necessary. Effectively securing cloud environments requires Cloud Service Network Security (CSNS), Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) solutions.

Cloud-Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPPs) integrate all of these cloud security capabilities into a single cloud-native solution. By integrating cloud security into a single, holistic solution that spans the entire application lifecycle, organizations can close cloud security and visibility gaps, shift cloud application security left, and simplify cloud security architectures.

#5. Increase in Managed Services

The cybersecurity industry is facing a significant skills shortage with millions of positions unfilled worldwide. The difficulty in attracting and retaining qualified personnel to staff critical roles has left corporate security teams understaffed and lacking key security capabilities and skill sets.

In recent years, companies are increasingly adopting managed services as a means of addressing their talent shortfalls. Managed detection and response (MDR), managed security service providers (MSSPs), Cloud Network as a Service (CNaaS), VPN as a Service (VPNaaS), and Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) offerings are examples of some of the available services.

In addition to closing skills gaps, these managed services offer other benefits to organizations. Solutions are professionally configured and managed and can offer greater scalability and lower TCO than maintaining the same capabilities in-house. Additionally, managed services often allow organizations to deploy a mature security program more quickly than is feasible internally.

#6. Least Privilege Access

Excessive privileges are a common security problem for organizations. Employees are granted Administrator-level permissions when they are not required for their role. Contractors, vendors, and other third-party partners have legitimate needs to access certain corporate resources and are granted unrestricted access and potentially privileged accounts. Perimeter-focused security strategies assume that all users, devices, and software within the perimeter are trusted and lack internal security visibility and threat management.

These excessive permissions enable and exacerbate security incidents and have led to the development of the zero trust security model. The zero trust model implements the principle of least privilege, granting a user, device, or application only the permissions required to perform its role. Every access request is evaluated against these access restrictions on a case-by-case basis.

Companies are increasingly adopting zero trust and least privilege to manage security risks and to comply with increasingly stringent regulatory requirements. By doing so, they gain greater visibility into how both legitimate users and potential threats are using their network and resources and the ability to identify and block potential attacks and manage their impacts on the organization.

#7. Hybrid Data Centers

Both on-prem and cloud-based infrastructure offers significant benefits to an organization. With on-prem deployments, an organization has greater control over its data and applications. On the other hand, cloud-based infrastructure offers more flexibility and scalability.

Hybrid data centers span on-prem and cloud-based infrastructure and allow data and applications to move between them at need. Adoption of hybrid data centers enables an organization to take full advantage of both on-prem and cloud environments and adapt to meet evolving business needs. However, implementing a hybrid data center effectively and securely requires comprehensive, consistent visibility and security across both on-prem and cloud-based environments.

Bolster Your Cybersecurity with Check Point

The evolution of the cyber threat landscape and corporate IT architecture has exposed companies to various security risks. Learn more about the current cyber threat landscape by checking out Check Point’s 2022 Cyber Security Report.

Security consolidation is a key trend of 2022. Learn more about consolidating your organization’s security architecture in this whitepaper. Check Point’s Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) can help your organization to streamline and integrate your security architecture. Find out more with a free ELA consultation.

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