The Future of Defense in an Era of Unprecedented Cyber Threats

By Darren Guccione [ Join Cybersecurity Insiders ]

[By Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-Founder, Keeper Security]

Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated as malicious actors leverage emerging technology to conduct, accelerate and scale their attacks. With AI-powered attacks at the helm, today’s IT and security leaders must contend with a barrage of unprecedented cyber threats and new risks. 


To map the cybersecurity landscape this year, we recently commissioned an independent research firm to survey global IT and security leaders about cybersecurity trends and the future of defense. The results were alarming: 92% of survey respondents reported cyber attacks are more frequent today than one year ago, and respondents shared that they are unprepared to defeat novel threats and advanced, emerging attack techniques. In 2024, security is proving to be increasingly complex with higher stakes than ever.  


Targets in Today’s Threat Landscape 

Cybercriminals are creative and relentless in their mission to break historically secure solutions and inflict maximum damage, and Keeper’s survey illuminates how attackers are wreaking havoc on today’s enterprises, midmarket organizations and small businesses. Seventy-three percent of respondents have experienced a cyber attack that resulted in monetary loss, with IT services (58%) and financial operations (37%) as the top business functions most impacted by successful cyber attacks. The top three most frequently hacked industries include hospitality/travel, manufacturing and financial services, as cybercriminals are enticed by the monetary transactions and sensitive personal information that can be exploited from businesses in these verticals. 


AI-Powered Attacks Lead the Charge 

As attackers find new and novel ways to conduct their attacks, 95% of respondents disclosed that cyber attacks are more sophisticated than ever – and they are unprepared for this new wave of threat vectors. The overwhelming majority of survey respondents (92%) shared that cybersecurity is their number one priority, yet their efforts are not enough to contend with the increased volume and severity of cyber attacks. IT leaders feel least equipped to defeat the following attack vectors: AI-powered attacks (35%); deepfake technology (30%); 5G network exploits (29%); cloud jacking (25%); and fileless attacks (23%).


Survey respondents cited AI-powered attacks as the most serious emerging type of attack. As cyber threats continue to worsen and evolve, IT leaders must adapt their tactics and strategies in order to stay ahead. Survey respondents revealed that they plan to increase their overall AI security through a variety of cybersecurity tactics including data encryption (51%); advanced threat detection systems (41%); and employee training and awareness (45%).


In addition to creating new threats, AI is being used to scale, accelerate and improve common attack techniques. Phishing is a prime example: the majority of survey respondents cited phishing as the most common attack vector, with 61% reporting that phishing attacks target their organization. The explosion in AI tools has intensified this problem by increasing the believability of phishing scams and enabling cybercriminals to deploy them at scale. Eighty-four percent of respondents said that phishing and smishing have become more difficult to detect with the rise in popularity of AI-powered tools. 


Malicious actors also weaponize AI for password cracking, and stolen or weak passwords and credentials remain a leading cause of breaches. Fifty-two percent of survey respondents shared that their company’s IT team struggles with frequently stolen passwords, underscoring the importance of creating and safely storing strong, unique passwords for every account. 


Implement a Proactive Approach to Cybersecurity

The barrage of attacks today’s IT leaders must combat highlights the need for proactive cybersecurity strategies that can counter both existing and burgeoning threat vectors. While the threat landscape is changing, the fundamental rules of protecting an organization in the digital landscape remain the same. In addition to common best practices like adopting Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), IT and security leaders should prioritize adoption of solutions that prevent the most prevalent cyber attacks, including a
password manager to help mitigate risk by enforcing strong password practices and a Privileged Access Management (PAM) solution. 


PAM safeguards an organization’s vital assets by controlling and monitoring high-level access, collectively fortifying defenses and minimizing potential damage in the event of a successful cyber attack. Deploying technology that prevents both intentional and unintentional insider threats is critical, as 40% of survey respondents shared that they have experienced a cyber attack that originated from an employee.


Strategic-solution adoption enables organizations to create a layered security approach that stands the test of time – restricting unauthorized access and enhancing overall cybersecurity resilience – now and in the future.


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Author Bio

Darren Guccione is an entrepreneur, technologist, business leader, as well as the CEO and co-founder of Keeper Security, the leading provider of zero-trust and zero-knowledge cybersecurity software used globally by millions of people and thousands of businesses. Guccione is actively involved in fostering a culture of innovation in his field, having served as an advisor and board member with multiple technology organizations. Guccione was named the 2022 Editor’s Choice CEO of the Year and 2020 Publisher’s Choice Executive of the Year by Cyber Defense Magazine’s InfoSec Awards, as well as Cutting Edge CEO of the Year in 2019.


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