WatchGuard Threat Lab Analysts Unleash Predictions for Cybersecurity in 2024

Last Updated on: 30th November 2023, 08:18 am

WatchGuard® Technologies, a leader in integrated cybersecurity solutions, today unveiled its Predictions for Cybersecurity in 2024. This annual forecast from WatchGuard delves into the primary cyberattacks and security trends expected to rise in 2024, as identified by the WatchGuard Threat Lab research team. The predictions include deceptive prompt engineering tactics against large language models (LLMs), the expansion of managed service providers (MSPs) into heavily automated unified security platforms, the escalation of AI-powered voice chatbots in vishing schemes, breaches targeting new VR/MR headsets, and more.

“Emerging technology trends invariably create new opportunities for cybercriminals,” highlighted Corey Nachreiner, Chief Security Officer at WatchGuard Technologies. “The impending threats in 2024 aimed at companies and individuals will be more severe, complex, and challenging to mitigate. With a continuing shortage of cybersecurity professionals, the importance of MSPs, unified security solutions, and automated platforms in enhancing cybersecurity and defending organisations against the dynamic threat environment is more critical than ever.”

Below is a summary of WatchGuard Threat Lab’s top cybersecurity predictions for 2024:

· Exploitation of Large Language Models (LLMs) through Prompt Engineering – As businesses and individuals increasingly experiment with LLMs to improve operational efficiencies, malevolent actors are also discovering ways to misuse these models. In 2024, the WatchGuard Threat Lab foresees a shrewd prompt engineer – possibly a criminal or a researcher – manipulating an LLM into revealing confidential information.

· Increased Focus on Security Services by MSPs Through Automated Platforms – With an estimated 3.4 million unfilled cybersecurity positions and intense competition for existing talent, an increasing number of small to mid-sized enterprises will seek protection from trusted MSPs and MSSPs in 2024. These service providers are expected to extensively adopt unified security platforms enhanced by AI and ML automation to manage growing demands and limited workforce.

· Boom in AI-Enabled Spear Phishing Tools on the Dark Web – Cybercriminals currently have tools for spamming and crafting convincing messages, along with scraping web and social media for target-specific information. However, many of these tools require manual operation. The WatchGuard Threat Lab predicts that AI and ML automation will make these tools more efficient, leading to their popularity on the dark web in 2024.

· Rise of AI-Based Vishing in 2024 – Although VoIP and automation technologies facilitate mass calling, vishing operations are constrained by the need for human scammers. This limitation might change in 2024. WatchGuard anticipates that the integration of realistic deepfake audio and conversational LLMs will significantly expand vishing operations, possibly eliminating the need for human actors.

· VR/MR Headsets as Tools for Environment Recreation – The growing popularity of VR/MR headsets has attracted the attention of hackers. In 2024, Threat Lab researchers believe that someone, either a researcher or a hacker, will develop a method to extract sensor data from these headsets to recreate the environments in which users are immersed.

· Prominent Hack due to Extensive QR Code Usage – QR codes have become ubiquitous in recent years. The Threat Lab team expects a major hack in 2024, resulting from an employee being directed to a harmful site through a QR code.

To explore more about the Threat Lab’s outlook for 2024, including videos featuring WatchGuard CSO Corey Nachreiner and Director of Security Operations Marc Laliberte, visit: https://www.watchguard.com/wgrd-resource-center/cyber-security-predictions-2024

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