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Cyber security is a process or practice of defending computers, servers, mobile phones, electronic gadgets, networks and data from hackers and their malicious attacks. It is also known as Information Technology or Electronic information security.

Following are the top 10 trends in Global Cyber Security:

1.    Advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI):

With AI being introduced in all market segments, this technology with a combination of machine learning has brought tremendous changes in cybersecurity. AI has been paramount in building automated security systems, natural language processing, face detection, and automatic threat detection. While AI presents a significant opportunity for more robust threat detection among businesses, criminals are also taking advantage of the technology to automate their attacks, using data poisoning. Data poisoning here means attacks where malicious users inject fake training data with the aim of corrupting the learned model.

2. Mobile is a new threat:

Cybersecurity trends provide a considerable increase in mobile banking attacks making our handheld devices a potential target for hackers. All our photos, financial transactions, emails, and messages possess more threats to individuals. The trend towards remote working is also accelerating the growth of mobile. For remote workers, it’s normal to switch between a range of mobile devices, such as tablets and phones, using public Wi-Fi networks and remote collaboration tools like Zoom App, Google Meet etc. As a result, mobile threats continue to grow and evolve. The ongoing rollout of 5G technology in India also creates potential security threats which as they become known, will need to be fixed. MaliBot is a new Android malware targeting online banking and cryptocurrency wallet customers in Spain and Italy.

3.    Cloud is potentially vulnerable:

Companies are making use of Cloud services which has made them more exposed to threats making it the biggest cyber security trend. The quick adoption of remote working practices owing to the COVID pandemic increased the necessity for cloud-based services and infrastructure at a faster pace with security implications for organizations. Cloud services are economically viable or cost-effective, but they are also prone to cyber-attacks. Examples of cyber-attacks on cloud services are Unauthorised access, account hijacking, etc.

4.    Evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT):

The Internet of Things refers to physical devices other than computers, phones, and servers, which connect to the internet and share data. Examples of IoT devices include wearable fitness trackers, smart refrigerators, smartwatches, and voice assistants like Amazons Alexa and Google Home to name a few. The expansion of IoT paves the way for cybercrime. Remote working is fueling the increase of IoT devices. Compared to laptops and smartphones, most IoT devices have comparatively low processing and storage capabilities. This can make it harder to employ firewalls, antivirus, and other security applications to safeguard them. Connected devices are handy for consumers and many companies now use them to save money by gathering immense amounts of insightful data and streamlining business processes. However, more connected devices mean greater risk, making IoT networks more vulnerable to cyber invasions and infections. Once controlled by hackers, IoT devices can be used to create havoc, overload networks, or lock down essential equipment for financial gain.  As a result, IoT attacks are among the discussed cyber-attack trends.

5.    Emergence of Ransomware:

Another important cybersecurity trend that we can't seem to ignore is targeted ransomware. Especially in developed nations, industries rely heavily on specific software to run their daily activities. Though generally, ransomware asks to threaten to publish the victim's data unless a ransom is paid still it can affect the large organization or in case of nations too. Ransomware is an effortless way for hackers to gain financial rewards, which is partly behind its rise. Another factor was the Covid-19 pandemic. The accelerated digitization of many organizations, coupled with remote working, created new targets for ransomware. Both the volume of attacks and the size of demands increased as a result. The burden of this cyber threat is significant given the sensitive data at stake as well as the economic impact of paying the ransom.

Ransomware attackers are becoming more sophisticated in their criminal exploits through machine learning and with more coordinated sharing on the dark web. Hackers typically demand payment in cryptocurrencies which are difficult to trace. We can expect to see more ransomware attacks on organizations that are not cyber-secured in the coming days. The Stormous ransomware gang claims to have hacked the multinational beverage corporation Coca-Cola Company.

6.    Social Engineering attacks:

Hackers are continually becoming increasingly sophisticated not only in their use of technology but also psychology. Social Engineers are hackers who exploit the one weakness that is found in each and every organization like human psychology. Using a variety of media, including phone calls and social media, these attackers trick people into offering hackers access to sensitive information.

Hackers send SMS to potential targets, this activity is called SMS Phishing by using messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, and WeChat (China). Hackers use these platforms to get their malware downloaded into the target’s cell phones.

Hackers also pose themselves as Customer Service Representatives and ask the target person to share their sensitive data viz OTP, and Login Credentials.

7.    Data Breaches:

Data will continue to be a leading concern for organizations around the world. Whether it be for an individual or an organization, safeguarding digital data is the primary goal now. Any minor error in your system browser or software is a potential vulnerability for hackers to access personal information. New strict data laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) were enforced from May 25th, 2018 onwards, offering data protection and privacy for individuals in the European Union(EU). Similarly, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was applied for safeguarding consumer rights in the California area. 

Organizations that don’t comply with these regulations and consumer expectations run the risk of fines, downward publicity, and losing consumer trust. Data privacy affects almost all aspects of an organization. As a result, organizations are placing more emphasis on ensuring role-based access control, multi-factor authentication, encryption in transit and at rest, network segmentation, and internal and external assessments by specialized agencies to identify areas of improvement.

8.    Improvement in Multi-factor Authentication:

Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is an authentication method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to a resource such as an application, or online account.

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is regarded as the top standard of authentication. However, hackers are finding new ways to bypass it specifically, authentication carried out via SMS or phone calls.

SMS has some in-built security, but the messages sent – including for authentication purposes – are not encrypted. This means hackers can carry out automated man-in-the-middle attacks to obtain one-time passcodes in plain text. This presents a vulnerability for activities such as online banking, where authentication is often done via SMS. In the near future, we will see financial institutions and other organizations accepting application-based MFA such as Google Authenticator. 

9.    Cyber risks involved in Remote/Virtual Work:

Working from home poses new cybersecurity risks and is one of the most talked-about new trends in cybersecurity. Home offices are often less protected than centralized offices, which tend to have more secure firewalls, routers, and access management run by IT security teams.

Many employees are using their devices for two-factor authentication, and they may well have mobile app versions of instant messaging clients, such as WhatsApp, Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. These thin security layers between personal and professional life increase the risk that sensitive information could fall into the wrong hands.

Therefore, a critical cyber security trend is necessary for organizations to focus on the security challenges of a distributed workforce. This means identifying and mitigating new security threats, improving systems, implementing security controls, and ensuring proper monitoring and documentation.

10.  Insider threats:

Human error is still one of the primary reasons for data breaches. It may be by mistake on a given day or an intentional escape route that can bring down a whole organization with millions of stolen data. An international Cyber security watchdog had come up with a report that the total attacks carried out were directly or indirectly made by the employees. So, make sure you create more awareness within the premises to safeguard data in every way possible.

Cyber safety measures to protect yourself against Cyberattacks:

Prevention is always better than cure. Following are the measures business enterprises and individuals can use to secure themselves against cyber threats:

1.    Update your software and operating systems: By updating these one is benefited from the latest security features.

2.    Use Anti-virus software: Anti-virus software solutions like McAfee and, Norton anti-virus will detect and remove the threats and guard your system from falling prey to cyber-attacks.

3.    Use strong passwords: Ensure your passwords are not easily predictable. Keep changing the passwords at regular intervals. Memorize your passwords.

4.    Do not open email attachments from unknown senders. These could be infected with malware.

5.    Do not click on links in emails from unknown senders or unfamiliar websites, this is a common way in which malware is spread.

6.    Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi networks in public places. Unsecure networks leave you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

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