Top Challenges of Managing Network Security in 2022

Threats to network security are constantly evolving and network architecture is complex. This all makes things quite challenging for IT professionals.

Effectively managing cybersecurity means a consistently expanding environment of devices, users, locations, and applications. IT professionals are meeting more and more challenges of optimizing performance while staying compliant and safe from cybercriminals.

In fact, if IT is not on top of your organization's network security, it could put you out of business. In less than six months following a cyber-attack or data breach, a recent report shows that 60% of businesses will go out of business.

With the changing technical landscape, there are some top concerns for the year 2022. Let's go through these network security challenges in more detail so that you are aware of what to watch out for currently and in the future.

Cyberattacks Are Rising

Cybercriminals often find one type of attack effective, so they stick with it. Like ransomware attacks, for example. They will continue to exploit whatever technique is working for them.

The biggest challenge now is that cybercrime is increasing across the board. It is challenging to prevent a network security threat when you cannot pin it down to just one.

What you can find in terms of a trend for cyberattacks is that some industries are being hit harder than others. This includes industries like research, education, and healthcare.

What this may show is that these industries increasingly depend on technology so that they can operate and function. Cyber threat actors know it.

Cybercriminals find that these types of businesses are less likely to be prepared to protect their network security. This is because of a rapid change in growing their technology.

More and more verticals and companies are adopting technology solutions at a rapid pace. As such, this trend of cyber-attacks is likely to grow too and expand to new fields.

Ransomware Attacks Increasing

Ransomware is malicious software that blocks a user's access to their computer until the money is paid by the victim to the criminal. It's an expensive network security challenge and top of mind for IT professionals.

There have been some high-profile attacks recently, including the Colonial Pipeline and JBS S.A. Beyond these, ransomware groups have heavily targeted the healthcare and education industries. It's caused tremendous problems from school closings to delays in medical procedures.

Unfortunately, ransomware attacks have proven to be a profitable business for cybercriminals across the globe. That's why it will continue to be a leading issue needing prevention when managing cybersecurity.

Supply Chain Attacks

A major threat on the rise may be supply chain attacks. Although, they have already been on the rise. A recent example is SolarWinds.

Threat actors compromised their environment and inserted backdoor code into SolarWinds' Orion network monitoring product. Coined the Sunburst malware, the discovery launched an investigation.

They found more than just the SolarWinds hack. Also, they found multiple malware variants which affected over 18,000 private and public sector companies.

SolarWinds was the tip of the iceberg. The Kaseya attack was another of the high-visibility supply chain exploits. It used relationships between MSPs and customers to pass along ransomware using the MSPs' management software and remote monitoring.

The most famous supply chain attack is the exploitation of Log4j, a popular Apache logging library, and its zero-day vulnerability. This lets the cybercriminal achieve remote code execution.

Widely exploited, Check Point Research found that the "Log4Shell" in its first two hours of being public had approximately 40,000 attempted attacks. Also, the first three days had over 830,000 attempts.

They predict these to be just the beginning, and that supply chain attacks will only amplify their reach and their impact.

Attacks on Cloud Services

The COVID-19 pandemic inspired an overwhelming number of work-from-home initiatives. Businesses learned how to pivot their operations to a cloud-based infrastructure. Cloud services are easier to access and manage with a remote workforce.

Many companies are proactive with network security. Also, many organizations have closed the largest security issues that can happen. They have performed this rapid transition with minimal planning, too.

Even with a proactive approach, there are some cloud security gaps that remain. The problem is that cyber threat actors can outpace security personnel because they work hard to do it. They take advantage of the new role that cloud services play for modern business.

Examples of Cloud Services Challenges

They found the OMIGOD vulnerability in September 2021, exploiting Microsoft's Open Management Infrastructure, or OMI. Until a patch was available, software agents could embed it within Azure VMs. This can enable attacks on Azure customers, up to 65% of them.

2021 brought forth more security issues than OMIGOD. There is the ChaosDB vulnerability too, which provides total control over the clients of Azure Cosmos DB via a compromised key.

Azurescape aims at Azure's CaaS offering but before it became exploited, they made a patch. The fallout from Azurescape would have been huge had the patch not been available.

Azure is not the only cloud service that hit a rough time recently. Google's Compute Engine or GCE did too. GCE uses Google's Cloud IaaS offering, which had a vulnerability that would have allowed a total takeover of the hosted VMs.

The year 2021 brought many challenges to cloud services, but it is not likely that we are in the clear just yet. Be on the lookout for more cloud security issues for 2022 and beyond.

Mobile Devices at Risk

As the world looks to work-from-home initiatives to solve workforce challenges, this brings forth another challenge for 2022. Businesses are adopting this BYOD or Bring-Your-Own-Device policy. It gives employees the opportunity to work with a personal device.

This is a way to improve employee retention and productivity but adds another layer of complexity to network security. However, IT professionals find it difficult to install the security needed on personal devices. Unfortunately, it hinders their ability to respond quickly to a threat.

Due to the increase in mobile device usage, cyber espionage is more potent. It gives tools like Pegasus a platform to be more dangerous than it already is.

Pegasus is a malware developed by NSO Group which uses multiple zero-click exploits. It gains access to a device that it is targeting before taking it over. Then, it will collect data from different sources like phones, texts, and email.

While Pegasus is only available to government and law enforcement in an official way, there is a history of abuse. It can target business executives, journalists, government officials, and activists.

Pegasus inspired Cytrox (a North Macedonian Country). They now offer Predator, which is a similar tool. We expect this threat to spread.

Cybercriminals Targeting Mobile

Cybercriminals are keen on attacking mobile devices. That's why you see multiple mobile malware Trojans have come about. They include Triada, FlyTrap, and MasterFred malware.

They take advantage of weak security controls for the app store, social media, and similar. Targeting mobile devices, they gain necessary permissions and access.

Cyber attackers are adopting what they refer to as Smishing tactics for mobile devices. This is where they send phishing content through an SMS message instead of an email. Notorious for this is the FluBot Android botnet.

Enterprise Digital Wallets

Less secure than a wire transfer, businesses are adopting digital wallets. Malicious actors are looking to attack digital wallets at an increasing speed. While an individual's digital wallet may not lead to a big payoff, an enterprise one could prove much more lucrative.

Businesses are looking to digital wallets as their currency for online transactions. Malware is likely to be created and specifically targets the credentials that are stored. They will look to empty the digital wallet.

Space Threats

What continues to grow is satellite-based internet access. FortiGuard Labs foresees POC (or proof-of-concept) threats that target a satellite network.

Some enterprises will rely on connectivity from satellites so that they can support low-latency activities. Such activities include online gaming. Also, they can deliver critical services to remote locations, which can be a remote field office, airline, cruise ship, pipeline, etc.

These remote locations can become a growing target in the future. Plus, businesses are adding satellite networks more and more to connect with off-grid systems, like OT devices. This is another avenue for ransomware to run rampant.

Managing Network Security in 2022

We understand that cybersecurity protection is important to you. It is important to us as well. That's why NETdepot can help you enhance your network security with our managed services.

We manage your infrastructure, allowing you more time to manage your business. Spend less time worrying about network security challenges like the ones we just mentioned. Contact us today to learn more and together, let's come up with a game plan to protect your business.

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