Today I’m sharing insights on how Heimdal stays ahead of the curve in the cyberthreat landscape. We’ll also discuss what I believe is coming to the market, the threats and trends that I expect to see in 2023 and beyond, so keep reading and feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section at the end of this article if something has caught your attention!

What to Expect in the Following Years, According to Gartner

The cybersecurity predictions from Gartner indicate a few interesting aspects – we should expect more regulations and more responsibility of the C-level executives for cybersecurity matters, an interest in simplifying IT teams’ work by opting for unified security products, which, curiously, has been a direct part of the Heimdal strategy since 2019, and an increase in the level of threat that cyberattacks pose (such increase that we’ll probably see human casualties).

More privacy regulations for consumers

As Gartner notes, “By 2024, 75% of the global population will have its personal data covered under privacy regulations”. The top 5 privacy trends that they observed are data localization, privacy-enhancing computation techniques, AI governance, centralized privacy UX, and remote becoming “hybrid everything”.

Unification of cloud services and private applications into a single vendor SSE platform

According to Gartner, businesses will move toward greater integration, fewer consoles, and fewer places for data decryption, analysis, and re-encryption over the course of the next few years.

Zero-Trust will become the norm

For a few years, everyone in cybersecurity, including Heimdal, has started talking about Zero-Trust, the approach where all computing infrastructure is devoid of implicit trust. Zero-Trust is both a security tenet and an organizational Modus Operandi, so it’s only natural for it to require “a cultural shift and clear communication that ties it to business outcomes”, as Gartner notes.

Cybersecurity risks analysis before any collaboration with third-parties

Cybersecurity risks related to third parties have been on the rise and rightly so. Supply-chain attacks are likely to become more and more commonplace because it’s an area where you can easily gain access to large-scale businesses. Again a topic that we have flagged before an analyst house like Gartner. Fortunately, businesses will start paying more attention to this – of their own will or forced by the increasing regulations.

New regulations for ransomware payments and negotiations

As Gartner mentions, paying or not paying the ransom in case of an attack is not only a matter of security, but an important “business-level” decision. Therefore, ransomware victims should discuss it with incident response professionals, as well as police forces and regulatory entities. 

Cyberattacks will cause human casualties

Sadly, it was only a matter of time before cyberattacks claimed human lives. We know that authorities think a woman’s death was caused, in part, by delayed medical care after hackers broke into a hospital’s computer system. This incident that happened in the fall of 2020 in Germany may represent the first ransomware-related death.

Another prior instance involved a ransomware attack that was directed at an Alabama hospital and that rendered its computer systems inaccessible for more than a week.

During a birth procedure, a fetal heart rate change that was noted on a piece of paper printed by the bedside monitor went unnoticed by the nurses. The procedure would have become a C-section if it had appeared normally on a large digital display at the nurses’ station, where monitoring was much simpler.

The baby girl’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck when she was born, obstructing her airway and seriously damaging her brain. Nine months later, she passed away.

As Gartner suggests, it’s time to stop focusing solely on information theft and start considering the potential real-world effects of cyberattacks.

Organizations will start building resilience from various physical and technological threats

In addition to warning about the danger that cyberattacks pose to the physical world, Gartner predicts that CEOs will begin putting more emphasis on building organizational resilience in order to withstand converging threats from cybercrime, extreme weather, civil unrest, and geopolitical tensions.

C-level executives will be held responsible for cybersecurity risks

C-level executives’ increased responsibility for cybersecurity risks is another aspect of the role that they will play. Senior business leaders should take over from the security leader as the traditional arbiters of how to handle cyber risks, according to Gartner.

The difference in view between Heimdal and Gartner

Clearly, we here at Heimdal have predicted a lot of the trends that analysts now also believe will come to fruition, before they started seeing the trend – and hence we naturally agree on a lot of them, but where do we differ? What is actually not yet a noticeable trend, but something that is happening in the market, and how does that tie to our strategy and what we believe in doing for our business customers over the next 2-5 years? Let’s have a look at the Heimdal strategy and see.

Heimdal Cybersecurity Strategy 

Gartner being in line with our predictions and vice versa, we too encourage companies to pay extra attention to the possible real-life consequences of cyberattacks in the following years. As always, I’m an advocate of prevention, and I’m certain that implementing security policies is always preferable to mitigating attack aftereffects.

The Heimdal cybersecurity strategy that we propose to our customers places a strong emphasis on ransomware prevention, privileged access management, and the crucial concept of Zero-Trust while also staying on top of the threats and trends that I anticipate in 2023 and beyond.

Moving forward with unification

When we put ourselves in the place of the customer and we try to think “what would really help me, if I was having their problems?” – that’s when we make pivotal changes. The advantages of a unified cybersecurity suite are absolutely staggering, and companies that adopt it, whether we’re talking about small and medium-sized businesses or multinationals with thousands or millions of employees, can see significant returns on their investments.

To this end, Heimdal has made significant investments into what we believe will change the course of cybersecurity (something which we hope to release later this year), where we take our already unified platform and give it another user-friendly, more automated, yet still mindblowing dimension. Stay tuned for that.

Moving into the technology in more detail, we must also be mindful of the fact that, as a vendor-wide platform,  we might not be able to be the best in our breed in all respects. Instead, we must concentrate our efforts where we believe they will have the highest impact on the customer,  which for us means preventing the attacker from ever reaching the desktop and/or gaining access to privileged credentials.

Hence, we truly believe that we have a superb unified platform, but something where it really stands out is DNS security, Patch and Asset Management, Ransomware Prevention, and Privilege Access Management, specifically for Privilege Elevation and Delegation Management, but naturally we tie those into Antivirus, Application Control, Email Security and Email Fraud Prevention for additional value.

Within a dashboard that combines intelligence from several or all of the Heimdal solutions, IT administrators, CIOs, and CISOs can use this unification to monitor the enterprise’s cybersecurity state, manage threats, and respond to them as quickly as possible. However, in the long run, it’s not just about unification; it’s also about the time saved by having a user-friendly platform that doesn’t tie itself in knots when trying to solve a problem.

Increasing compliance and enhancing security with Privileged Access Management and Zero-Trust

In the Heimdal suite, the Zero-Trust Execution Protection is a cross-module component included in three of the main modules: Privileged Access Management, Application Control and Next-Gen Antivirus. The module enables the intelligent diagnosis of all processes that are running in the IT environment of customers to identify and stop malicious or suspicious executions, because we know that we could not possibly predict future malware with 100% certainty.

Heimdal’s Zero Trust component saves a significant amount of time for system administrators and, most importantly, it ensures limited access, increased compliance, simplification of addressing risks, helping customers to always be one step ahead of any cybercriminal – or insider threat.

Ramping up ransomware prevention

In a cyber threatscape where the competition between hackers (who will need a synchronized delivery of the attack – the so-called time-bomb ransomware – ) and cybersecurity experts (who will keep reducing detection time) is unprecedentedly escalating, ransomware prevention is crucial and will continue to be so.

The Ransomware Encryption Protection module, the newest addition to Heimdal’s portfolio, leverages AI on the disc structure, instead of signatures, MD5 or behavior – and, through that new type of AI, it safeguards devices from ransomware-related encryption attempts while enhancing the functionality of classic antivirus software.

In fact, it can be used in addition to any antivirus currently available, and it can ensure defense against any ransomware strain—whether it has already been identified or not.

Reinforcing customer engagement

All of our business decisions are based on what is best for our customers. Our most recent level of certification ensures that their data is kept as secure as possible with us. The SOC 2 Type II / ISAE 3000 certification offers trustworthy visibility and transparency into the extent of our operational and compliance-related processes.

We also recently earned the G2 Users Love Us badge for consistently receiving positive customer feedback, and we plan to keep doing so. We’ll keep putting ourselves in the shoes of our clients and thinking about what we would ultimately require or want from a cybersecurity vendor.

My Predictions for 2023

The focus on automation and visibility tools will increase

Automation is here to stay. The causes are numerous and really quite easy to grasp. Security systems generate almost infinite amounts of data, which no team could handle in real-time and react to in a timely manner. The cyber threatscape evolves simply too fast. There aren’t enough skilled cybersecurity professionals (and even the existent ones are eligible for one of the most dangerous risks in the industry – human error). Moreover, the hackers are using automation too!

To move from reactive to proactive security and regain control over one’s environment and schedule, analytics, intelligence, and automation are essential. In the corporate IT environment, security automation can identify potential threats, assess the event to determine whether it is real or fake, and then contain and eliminate the threat. Without human assistance, automated security tools complete these actions in a matter of seconds.

Cybersecurity automation minimizes security teams’ alert fatigue by examining alerts, identifying threats, and reducing the effects of attacks.

Further unification – the death of point solutions is coming

Today’s CISOs and other decision-makers place a strong emphasis on centralized architectures that provide prevention, detection, and mitigation under a single roof in order to increase visibility and efficiency.

With outdated point solutions created in a time when the cyber security landscape didn’t present as many threats and a talent shortage, organizations will keep turning to centralized solutions to meet the high demands of the IT threat landscape.

Espionage and information operations will rise

Information operations and cyberespionage will likely increase. Iran, China, and Russia, the usual actors in information operations, will probably continue to promote narratives that best serve their objectives.

Additionally, they will highlight the idea that the United States failed to honor its obligations to international organizations and nations.

We can already see that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is partially supported by a cyber strategy that entails at least three separate, occasionally coordinated processes: destructive cyberattacks inside Ukraine, network penetration and espionage in other states, and cyber influence operations aimed at people all over the world.

Deepfakes will become increasingly dangerous

Deepfake technology manipulates existing or brand-new audio and video content using artificial intelligence techniques. Although it can be used for legitimate purposes — satire and gaming, for example —, it can also, just like everything else, be misused by malicious actors for malicious purposes.

Deepfakes are used to fabricate a story that seems to come from reliable sources. The two main threats are against civil society (disseminating false information to influence public opinion in a particular direction) and against people or businesses so that malicious actors can make a profit.

The path to a dystopian future will be guaranteed if people will no longer be able to distinguish between truth and lies.

Deepfakes pose a significant cybersecurity threat to businesses because they could make phishing and BEC attacks more successful, make identity fraud much simpler, and significantly reduce share value by twisting brand reputation.

Outsourcing-related threats will intensify

This one can be viewed from two perspectives.

On the one hand, we have the risks that companies should consider when outsourcing their cybersecurity to third-parties / MSSPs – who might have inexperienced staff, a slow response team and may imply hidden costs. For this reason, it’s extremely important to thoroughly investigate the MSSP you want to work with by checking out case studies, getting in touch with references, and searching online reviews.

On the other hand, there is the risk of hackers outsourcing their business. Malicious operations are outsourced using techniques like ransomware affiliate programs, exploit distributors, commercial contractors, malware vendors, and freelancers, which plays an important role in the increasing complexity and frequency of cybercriminal activity.

Final Thoughts

As studies show, the biggest concern for businesses worldwide in 2022 is related to cyber risks. They will only get more and more dangerous in the years to come, whether we talk about deepfakes, outsourcing-related threats, ransomware attacks and payments regulations or cyberattacks resulting in human casualties.

It’s absolutely mandatory for C-level executives of companies of all sizes to include cybersecurity on their top priority list and implement an effective incident and response plan that can help them boost their cybersecurity posture.

 

How to Create a Successful Cybersecurity Strategy

Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) Explained

The Zero Trust Security Model Explained

Why Do Many CISOs Prefer Incident Response over Threat Prevention?

Heimdal™ Releases New Zero-Trust Feature for Application Control, Privileged Access Management, and Next-Gen Endpoint Antivirus

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