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9 Biggest Threats to Data Security in 2024 and How to Fight Them

Cybercriminals constantly evolve tactics to find new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, increasing their attack sophistication and frequency. The past year saw a significant increase in threats to personal data. In his report, “The Continued Threat to Personal Data: Key Factors Behind the 2023 Increase,” Stanford IT professor Dr. Stuart Madnick estimated that attacks reached an all-time high in 2023, with 360 million people affected by data breaches in just the first eight months of the year. This article will discuss the top nine threats to data security in 2024 and how to fight against them.

1. Firewall Misconfigurations

A firewall is an excellent preventive tool against cyberattacks, but it won’t be effective if misconfigured. A misconfigured firewall, such as one with an open policy or weak access control, is a common issue for many organizations. To prevent this mistake, adopt a managed firewall to ensure that settings are adjusted properly for your organization. Your team can also achieve peace of mind knowing it’s properly configured, monitored, and maintained through service like TPx’s, which offers 24/7 monitoring and support.

2. Phishing

Phishing is one of the most effective email-based cyberattacks. Cybercriminals will create fake email addresses similar to internal corporate addresses, vendors, and other trusted sources. Once a user clicks on the link in the email, the criminals can access the network through that user’s computer. With email security tools like Inbox Detection and Response, employees can submit suspicious-looking emails for review and validation, taking the guesswork out of email security. If a threat is identified, your IT team can notify the rest of the organization, preventing more accidental user interactions.

3. Social Engineering

While most cybercriminals target organizations, some hackers exploit networks on the micro level by tricking employees via social engineering. Instead of hacking a computer, criminals will interact with users by impersonating someone, such as a coworker or consultant, and convince them to send sensitive information or unknowingly spread malware. To help employees stay vigilant against such attacks, continuous, relevant security awareness training is vital for teaching them how to recognize suspicious emails.

4. Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks exploit the access of an external vendor or partner to access an organization’s systems or data. The best way to prevent such an attack is to ensure that your security protocols are up-to-date and that your vendors are carefully vetted out: their security measures should also be comprehensive and stringent to protect your data. Preventing supply chain attacks requires vigilant, 24/7 monitoring for data breaches and regular assessment of your network and overall cybersecurity.

5. Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware in which a hacker gains access to an organization’s system or files, locks access via encryption, and demands ransom in exchange for a decryption key. Ransomware attacks continue to become more sophisticated and more common, creating a significant threat to the data security of companies of all sizes, from SMBs to enterprises. In addition to measures like firewalls, it’s vital to train employees to proactively stop ransomware before it gains access to your network.

6. Poor Patch Management

Patches are vital for bolstering your network’s defenses, but they’re often overlooked. Instead of treating software patches as one-and-done in optimizing data security, regular patch management ensures that proper maintenance steps are taken to keep patches current. By routinely assessing and updating your patches, you will create a safer environment for your data.

7. Deepfake Technology

Deepfake videos aren’t just for celebrities. The Open Worldwide Application Security Project (OWASP) explains that a “deepfake” is a type of media that has either been manufactured or altered using artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to depict people saying or doing things that did not happen. Hackers use these doctored images to compromise data security by impersonating real people using neural networks. To combat deepfakes, it’s important to teach employees how to spot fake images by adopting cyber hygiene practices. Cyber hygiene incorporates security best practices whenever users interact with technology, improving their ability to spot potential threats through awareness.

8. Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

Free public Wi-Fi is a great convenience, but these public networks are prime locations for man-in-the-middle attacks that compromise the victim’s data security. These attacks can mimic Wi-Fi names or spoof IP addresses to gain access to your information via any device connected to the Internet. One of the best ways to prevent this threat is to discourage employees from joining public Wi-Fi, offer VPNs to connect to the Internet, and only allow access to sensitive databases when on a secure connection.

9. Human Error

With all the cybersecurity in the world, one of your biggest threats is the people who work for you. Human error is inevitable, so unsurprisingly, it’s also one of the leading causes of data security breaches. That’s why cybersecurity training should be a top priority to improve your business’s security posture – its level of readiness to defend against and respond to security threats. Implement regular security awareness training and a culture of cybersecurity where every employee has a stake in safeguarding your company’s data.

TPx Can Help Improve Your Data Security

Threats to data security are on the rise, and many employers feel that they struggle to keep staff informed of the right protocols and procedures to prevent attacks. TPx can help prep your organization for worst-case scenarios through our expert security advisory services and managed security services. Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.

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