Mazen-Dohaji-Vice-President-(iMETA),-LogRhythm - Taxscan

Growing challenges and new opportunities to mitigate threats

Cybersecurity Technology
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By Mazen Dohaji, Vice President (iMETA), LogRhythm

In 2021, cybersecurity priorities for many organisations were focussed on the continual shift to digitalisation and securing operations against attacks associated with a more connected environment. In 2022, security teams will build on this innovation to accelerate their response to emerging threats and offer new capabilities.

To achieve this, organisations must be aware of the new and evolving threats they are likely to face in the year ahead. These challenges will be felt by not only the Middle Eastern cybersecurity landscape, but also on a global scale. To stay ahead in a complex and competitive environment, security teams must be armed with a proactive approach to combat an ever-changing threat surface.

Here are the key cybersecurity challenges that security teams should be paying attention to 2022:

Greater Demand for Fresh Cybersecurity Talent

Digitalisation will remain a large focus of 2022 and this will come with its own challenges. In recent years we’ve seen a leap in the sophistication of cyberattacks and this has outlined the importance of a robust security posture. However, many organisations are still finding it hard to keep up with growing threats due to a critical shortage of cybersecurity talent.

In 2022, organisations will continue to face pressures to close their security skills gap and will need to take greater measures to do so. More business leaders will explore upskilling employees and expanding on-the-job training to ensure they are capturing new employee potential in a competitive market. With the right investment, people can be the key differentiator in securing new business innovation.

Individuals are a Top Target of the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Qatar has made significant investments in cybersecurity to prepare for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Although local cybersecurity teams are proactively mitigating threats to protect visitors, the challenge of keeping individuals safe involves addressing vulnerabilities in travel to the World Cup and the hospitality industry surrounding the tournament.

Phishing and social engineering will be deployed by threat actors to steal personal and financial information for monetary gains. Ticketing, hotel bookings and reservations of any kind can be faked to capture personal data and compromise individuals. Cybercriminals will be aware of Qatar’s security efforts surrounding the tournament and will work on exploiting human nature before arrival, instead of targeting digital infrastructure.

Expanded Risks for Remote Workers

Remote working has transitioned from a short-term solution to a long-term business approach.

According to a survey conducted by Bayt.com, 74% of professionals in MENA prefer jobs that allow remote work. The pandemic has shown us that many industries can work effectively and efficiently in a virtual environment without compromising business quality. However, a distributed workforce is much more difficult to protect.  

In 2022, I predict there will be a rise in cybercriminals impersonating employees through social engineering tactics. Organisations need to be prepared for hackers that target home routers and other IoT devices. Personal devices used for work under flexible bring your own device (BYOD) policies will become more vulnerable to infiltration tactics.

New Levels of Disruption to the Supply Chain

Threat actors have demonstrated their technological capabilities for hacking and compromising organisations over the last year. Hackers will leverage these skills and ramp up their attacks on the open-source software ecosystem. In these attacks, they will intentionally introduce vulnerable code to widely used open-source software components.

Open-source software attacks enable cybercriminals to manipulate vulnerabilities on a massive scale and exploit organisations that rely on open-source technology. Due to the hard to detect nature of the attacks, it is highly likely that instances of these attacks already exist in commonly used open-source software today, which may only be identified in the year to come.

New Year, New Challenges

2022 will require organisations to be ready to engage with new security strategies and build upon the tactics deployed in 2021. To keep up with developing threats, security teams need to lace new levels of innovation into their approach while ensuring they are aware of upcoming risks.

By preparing for future challenges in the cybersecurity space, security experts in the Middle East can deliver successful digital transformation in 2022.

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