2023 Cybersecurity Predictions: Battle of the Cyber capabilities

December 21, 2022
Christian Borst
2023 Cybersecurity Predictions: Battle of the Cyber capabilities

In 2023, organisations must prepare for a growing attack surface, the war for cyber skills, and the rise of unknown threats

In the world of cybersecurity, year after year we encounter new threats and challenges, and 2023 is going to be no different. Currently, organisations are dealing with a growing number of unknown cyber threats targeting on-premises systems, cloud infrastructure, and SaaS applications. Added to this, the skills shortage is worsening too, causing analysts to becoming overloaded and burnt-out. Combined, this is creating a perfect storm, leaving organisations more vulnerable to a breach in 2023.

So, what specifically do organisations need to be aware of? Here are four trends that will shake up the cyber landscape next year.

1. As the war for talent increases, security companies will need to develop creative ways to recruit and retain workers

In an increasingly globalised labour market where workers increasingly seek new opportunities, cybersecurity companies are at risk of losing talent to traditional tech companies. As an industry that is no stranger to burnout and stress, cybersecurity companies will have to ensure they can demonstrate they are an attractive outfit to work for. This is in order to fend off competition from tech companies that can often offer lucrative salaries and superior work-life balance. To achieve this, cybersecurity companies must adopt a more forward-thinking approach, this could include offering flexible working arrangements, performance incentives and health and wellness policies.

2. Private and Public sector will batten down the hatches against nation state cyberattacks

Cyber warfare will remain a real threat in 2023, from a broader use of known TTPs to an unknown equity of zero days just waiting for the strategically right moment to deploy against one’s foes. Zero days carry economic weight to them, some cost many millions of pounds to be developed, but the payoff is they cause equally devastating losses when deployed for the first time. Leaders of private and public sector organisations will start to really pay attention, investing more in the incident response and speed at which vulnerabilities are being handled in the coming year to limit the blast radius of such a cyber weapon. As such, security leaders will start to accept that understanding posture is critical to accepting risk of unpatched or potential zero day likelihood. Posture, detection, and quick response will be paramount this coming year.

3. Label me this – software and IOT device labelling take a foothold

After a spate of high-profile cyber security incidents targeting the software supply chain this year, the resulting United States Executive Order frenzy will have most companies responding in 2023. One such Executive Order (14028) directed NIST to start labelling programs on all software and devices, ranging from door locks to enterprise software. Specifically, Section 4 of EO 14028 takes aim in the same way that labels on food nutrition do today. Labels should state clear facts about the privacy and information security parameters of the product and organisation. One key piece of information on labels should be how long a company will support its software, because a physical device may outlast the time a product is supported. This is especially important in terms of vulnerability management. Beyond the United States, governments globally are taking up similar action. And why would we want governments to act any other way? We consider these labels good enough for one’s own health, so why not use them for something equally important, our personal information. I predict this will go from simply guidance to taking hold this year on consumer products and enterprise offerings alike.

Source: NIST Section 4 of EO 14028 Tasks and Timelines

4. Quantum me that – attackers will begin to steal and keep encrypted data to decrypt in a post quantum world

It’s easy to know the motive of a cyber-attack in incidents such as ransomware, but what about the incidents we don’t detect, or involve data we are assured is safe from decrypting? Advances in quantum computing will force the hand of security leaders in 2023 to start thinking about this sensitive encrypted data in a post-quantum world. However, this approach will also grab the attention of attackers, and instead of bypassing encrypted data that was previously safeguarded, they will attempt to grab the data and keep it stored for sale or to be later decrypted. Defenders should not rest on the laurels of encryption and start to take note of what NIST is doing in post quantum encryption this year for action in the coming years.

Ultimately, 2023 will present a range of security hurdles that reiterate the importance of reliable and robust security. To get ahead of attackers, organisations must look to adopt an effective detection and response strategy that reduces the burden on analysts, prioritising the most high-risk alerts. This means using tools that can identify the suspicious behaviours that an adversary will exhibit as part of an unfolding attack, flagging up these signals so organisations can stop an attack before it becomes a breach.