14 cybersecurity predictions for 2022 and beyond

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Unless government and technological innovation can significantly change the cost-benefit calculations for attackers, the threat of ransomware will continue to grow because such crimes are simply too profitable. It is expected that such attacks will also increase in key industries where cyber criminals must be paid to protect health and safety. As attackers become more business-savvy and anticipate anti-negotiation strategies, it is expected that attackers will adopt new strategies.

In addition, conflicts between bad actors in ransomware-as-a-service operations are expected to increase, affecting how victims and organizations consider paying ransoms. The US government has imposed sanctions on suspected threat actors to curb ransomware attacks. However, this method of preventing the organization from paying the blackmailer may create negative recourse for the victim.

Deepfakes is another threat that has been used to promote commercial email intrusion (BEC) fraud, bypass the multi-factor authentication (MFA) protocol, and know your customer (KYC) ID verification, and will be used in 2022 and beyond. Use it more and more.

Major nation-state actors in Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea may maintain a positive posture to promote their respective regional interests. Russia’s scope of action will be expanded because its targets are NATO, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan and the energy sector. Iran will use its cyber tools to target Israel and the Middle East to change the balance of power based on its own interests. Through cyber espionage, China is ready to support the “Belt and Road” initiative and expand its business scale. Despite facing financial and geographic challenges, North Korea will still demonstrate its network capabilities and take risks.

As organizations continue to rely on cloud and cloud-hosted third-party providers, these third parties are facing increasing pressure to maintain availability and security. By 2022, the growth in cloud adoption will coincide with the increase in cloud compromise and abuse.

As ransomware attackers become more aggressive and better at avoiding defenders’ tactics and negotiations, the prospects for the coming threat in 2022 seem grim. For cyber blackmailers, the attack may become more complex and profitable. Although government agencies are seeking to ease the ransomware-as-a-service business, it may bring negative results to the organization. The combined threats of ransomware, deep forgery and aggressive tactics from international nation-states may discourage organizations, but staying vigilant and focusing on cyber defense technologies can ensure their safety.

Download Mandiant Full report Get a deeper and detailed understanding of what the cyber security landscape will look like in 2022—from participants to threats.

This content was produced by Mandiant. It was not written by the editors of MIT Technology Review.

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