Columns News Regional World

Five Cybersecurity Trends That Will Shape 2024 and Beyond

By: Al Zabian, Managing Partner, Middle East & Africa at DXC Technology

 If someone were to tell you that dueling AI bots, rogue avatars and digital warfare would be a staple of 2024, you might not want to leave the house. But then cybercriminals are also expected to target critical infrastructure that could see your lights go out at any moment, so the cyber threat could reach you there too.

The fact is that the rate of cyberattacks is increasing. There are currently over two million instances per year with an estimated economic cost of $10.5 trillion worldwide by 2025.

2024 promises to be a pivotal year for cybersecurity in the Middle East. Here are the five key trends shaping it:

  1. The cybersecurity arms race will accelerate

Both cybercriminals and cybersecurity experts are using advanced technologies including AI to both breach and protect connected systems. AI has so far mainly been used to identify patterns of unusual behavior for humans to respond to. Due to the volume of suspicious activity and number of false positives seen in the region, cybersecurity staff are often overwhelmed.

The good news is that we should be able to put more trust in machines and AI in automating security controls and response mechanisms – helping us respond to cyberattacks faster and more accurately, reduce possible downtime, and protect critical data.

  1. We’ll need to be cautious about who we think we’re talking to in the metaverse

2024 continues to be an important year for the metaverse with Meta, Microsoft, Virbela and others counting on virtual worlds going mainstream. Organizations, most prominently in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, are seizing the opportunities in the metaverse, as it is estimated that the metaverse will inject $15 billion into GCC economies by 2030.

However, in any vast sprawling digital world, there is the question of veracity. How do you know that the person you think you are talking to is who they say they are? Especially when their “identity” is that of a digital avatar. Digital certificates, perhaps built on the blockchain, could help. These certificates could also help to secure virtual transactions in the metaverse. As the metaverse continues to expand, so too will our awareness of these risks and the best ways to address them.

  1. Geo-political cybersecurity attacks will increase but will also lead to innovation in defense

Past events of political instability have reminded us in the most stark and brutal way possible that warfare is now hybrid and the risk of geopolitically motivated cyberattacks is very much real. To underscore how worryingly commonplace cyberwar is, we only need to reflect on the fact that many cyber insurance policies are now being written to exclude acts of cyberwar, creating challenges for cyber risk mitigation.

However, there is a lot that we can learn from what we’ve seen over the past few years. Fostering innovation in defense strategies is one example in the challenging landscape of cybersecurity defenses.

  1. Cybersecurity attacks will target critical national infrastructure that supports our homes.

If the lights go out or the gas is cut, you are not likely to assume that the local electricity provider or energy grid has just fallen victim to an industrial cybersecurity breach. But Operational Technology (OT) cybersecurity is the emerging battleground of cyberattacks on systems that control and automate factories and civil infrastructure like power stations and dams. As digitization grows at a rapid pace, many of these systems are now connected in some way to the internet, and therefore more prone to cyberattacks.

The OT cyber threat will grow in the coming year, putting pressure on infrastructure suppliers to ensure they stay one step ahead of cybersecurity protection across their organizations.

  1. Career opportunities in cybersecurity will grow.

It is estimated that the cybersecurity industry is short of 3.4 million workers globally. With growing threats from advanced technologies, this number is only likely to increase.

The cyber skills gap creates career opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, including the neurodiverse community. For example, DXC’s Dandelion Program helps neurodivergent individuals with autism, ADHD and dyslexia to build careers in the IT industry with opportunities in cybersecurity. Many military veterans are also seeking careers post-service and reskilling into cybersecurity roles to continue to protect and serve.

Cyber threats are many and are increasing in speed and complexity but so too is our ability to apply the latest technologies, approaches, and talent to tackle them. The cybersecurity arms race is an apt analogy – the right side must win.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *