Hybrid Workers and Managed Service Providers Face Cyber-Threat Onslaught in 2023

Trend Micro Incorporated has released Future/Tense: Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2023. The report warns that threat actors will ramp up attacks targeting security blind spots in the home office, software supply chain, and cloud in the coming year.

“Since end last year, organizations in Malaysia have either returned to the office, permanently switching to remote arrangements, or opting for a combination of both. However, these arrangements take employees away from the safety of a more secure and monitored IT environment in the office,” said Goh Chee Hoh, Managing Director for Malaysia and Nascent Countries, Trend Micro.

Trend Micro Cyber Risk Index 1H2022 revealed that 42% of respondents in Malaysia surveyed said the security posture within their enterprise is secured for teleworkers and only 39% use a fully encrypted tunnel for all devices used by their employees outside their physical office.

“Renewed threat actor focuses on unpatched virtual private networks (VPNs), connected home office devices, and back-end cloud infrastructure in 2023. In response, organizations will need to focus on helping overworked security teams by consolidating attack surface management and detection and response to a single, more cost-effective platform,” said Goh.

VPNs represent a particularly attractive target as a single solution could be exploited to target multiple corporate networks. Home routers will also be singled out as they’re often left unpatched and unmanaged by central IT.

Alongside the threat to hybrid workers, the report anticipates several trends for IT security leaders to watch out for in 2023, including:

  • Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups may rethink their business as the impact of double extortion fades. Some may focus on the cloud, while others could eschew ransomware altogether and try monetizing other forms of extortion like data theft.
  • “Living off the cloud” techniques may become the norm for groups attacking cloud infrastructure to stay hidden from conventional security tools. An example could be using a victim’s backup solutions to download stolen data into the attacker’s storage destination.
  • A growing supply chain threat from managed service providers (MSPs), which will beselected because they offer access to a large volume of downstream customers, thereby maximizing the ROI of ransomware, data theft, and other attacks.
  • Social engineering will be turbo-charged with business email compromise (BEC)-as-a-service offerings and the rise of deepfake-based BEC.
  • Connected car threats such as targeting of the cloud APIs which sit between in-vehicle embedded-SIMs (eSIMs) and back-end application servers. In a worst-case scenario (i.e., Tesla API) attacks could be used to gain access to vehicles. The connected car industry could also be impacted by malware lurking in open-source repositories.

Trend Micro recommends organizations mitigate these emerging threats in 2023 via:

  • Zero trust strategies built on a “never trust, always verify” mantra, to minimize damage without sacrificing user productivity.
  • Employee training and awareness raising to turn a weak link in the security chain into an effective line of defense.
  • Consolidating onto a single security platform for all attack surface monitoring and threat detection and response. This will improve a company’s ability to catch suspicious activity across their networks, reduce the burden on security teams and keep defenders sharp.
  • Stress testing IT infrastructures to ensure attack readiness in different scenarios, especially ones where a perimeter gateway has already been breached.
  • A software bill of materials (SBOM) for every application, to accelerate and enhance vulnerability management—by delivering visibility into code developed in-house, bought from commercial sources, and built from third-party sources.

17 December 2022

Author: VSDaily Editor

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