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Tabush Group's Cloud & Managed IT Blog

2023 Cyber Breaches | Lessons for Business Security

Cyber attacks and data breaches continued to escalate in 2023, costing businesses, organizations, and government agencies billions of dollars and compromising the data of millions of individuals. The top cybercrime trends of 2023 offer companies lessons for safeguarding their systems and protecting their bottom lines.

Explosion of Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks caused high-profile disruptions and record costs throughout the year. According to Corvus Insurance, ransomware attacks were up 95% year over year through September 2023. One attack temporarily shut down many services and forced the City of Oakland to declare a state of emergency. Other ransomware attacks cost casino operators MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment tens of millions of dollars and forced KNP Logistics, one of the UK’s largest privately owned logistics firms, out of business. Attackers zeroed in more heavily on high-value targets, such as healthcare networks, financial companies, municipalities, and government agencies. Some attacks employed double extortion measures, in which the criminals stole data before encrypting systems and then demanded ransom payments not only for the company to regain access to its system, but also to prevent public release of the stolen information. The growing ransomware threat emphasizes the need for companies to have multi-layered cybersecurity practices along with an effective data backup system and a comprehensive incident response plan.

Criminals Target the Supply Chain

Cyber criminals wreaked mass havoc last year with supply chain attacks that exploited vulnerabilities in third-party software or hardware components. By targeting the supply chain, criminals were able to magnify the impact of their attack by infiltrating the networks of multiple organizations. For instance, an attack of the MOVEit file transfer software created a massive chain of breaches impacting more than 1,000 businesses and 60 million individuals and costing more than $9.9 billion, according to TechCrunch.

The MOVEit hack and other high-profile supply-chain attacks emphasize the importance for companies to carefully vet the security practices of their third-party IT providers. Look for IT partners that take a multi-faceted approach to security, with an emphasis on defensive measures

Criminals Get Help from Insiders

Human error or negligence contributed to many cyberattacks in 2023, with employees falling victim to social engineering and phishing scams and inadvertently opening the door to criminals. For instance, social engineering was reportedly used in the MGM Resorts attack, with hackers reportedly using publicly available information to pose as an employee and trick an IT help desk into giving them credentials to access and infect the system. According to the 2023 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 74% of attacks involved the human element.

These statistics underscore the urgent need for companies to provide relevant ongoing training, complete with simulations and assessments, to all employees on common and emerging social engineering campaigns, phishing schemes, and other cyber threats.

Cyber Criminals Making Use of AI

Cyber criminals are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enhance the sophistication, speed, and reach of their attacks. In a survey of security professionals, 75% witnessed an increase in attacks over the past 12 months, with 85% attributing this rise to bad actors using generative AI, according to Deep Instinct. For instance, criminals are using AI to generate more sophisticated malware and disseminate it more rapidly, and to create more realistic phishing messages.

To combat threat actors’ AI enhancements, organizations must fight fire with fire. State-of-the-art cybersecurity tools are incorporating AI to detect, analyze, and respond to threats. AI-enabled tools have the ability to rapidly process and analyze vast amounts of data, detect anomalies that could indicate an attack, and trigger a response. AI can also be used proactively to scan a company’s technology system for vulnerabilities and pinpoint weaknesses that require fortification.

A Quick Response Can Limit the Damage

While full-scale attacks garner headlines, many cyberattacks in 2023 were thwarted or caught early, allowing victims to minimize the damage and disruption. Cybersecurity success stories highlight the importance of engaging in proactive threat hunting and swiftly responding to potential threats. By monitoring their system on a 24/7/365 basis and having a response plan in place, companies can pinpoint signs of compromise and quickly mount a defense to stop or limit an attack. Threat detection, containment, and eradication should be part of a broader cyber incident response plan that includes recovery, insurance, and communication to third parties. Having a well-developed, effective plan in place will allow companies to minimize the attack’s impact on their operations, finances, and reputation.

Tabush Group is a leading provider of Managed IT Services and Desktop as a Service (DaaS), with a concentration in serving small to midsized law firms. To learn more about how our state-of-the-art IT solutions can make your firm’s operations more efficient and secure, contact us.


Topics: Cybersecurity IT Best Practices Managed IT