Threat actors in information technology are constantly refining techniques to find and exploit vulnerabilities in IT infrastructure. In the third quarter of 2022, approximately 15 million data records were exposed through data breaches, marking a 37% increase compared to the previous quarter. Geopolitical and economic uncertainty are likely to accelerate this downward trend further.
To counteract this development, the cybersecurity and application security industries are growing and improving, and organizations are finetuning their defense mechanisms. This guide discusses the top eight security trends to be aware of in 2023 to help eliminate vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure and prevent security breaches. But first, let's have a closer look at the threat landscape.
Cybersecurity Threats in 2023
The leading cybersecurity threats in 2023 are:
Ransomware attacks are designed to block access to a system or threaten to publish the system's data if a ransom is not paid.
The number of ransomware attacks has steadily risen in recent years, so you can expect the same for 2023. In 2018, around 55% of organizations were victimized by ransomware. In 2022, 71% of organizations have experienced – and paid the ransom for – ransomware attacks. In 2023, expect the number of ransomware attacks to increase as ransom as a service grows in popularity, and cyber criminals refine their techniques, tools, and means of extortion.
2. Supply Chain Exploits
A supply chain attack targets organizations by focusing on weak links and less secure elements in the supply chain. These less secure elements could include third-party partners, trusted software, and open-source libraries.
According to the X-Force Threat Intelligence Index 2022, 62% of the surveyed organizations were hit by a supply chain attack in 2022 alone. These attacks will persist into 2023. Expect an increase in bigger and more complex threats in the supply chain. Motives are likely to spread from financial gain to political attack vectors.
3. Multi-Vector attacks
Multi-vector attacks, which infiltrate a network using multiple entry points, will increase in 2023. Despite emerging only in 2017, they have grown in complexity and popularity, making it hard for organizations to eliminate their risk.
Cybersecurity Trends to Be Aware of in 2023
Now let's look into some cybersecurity trends that will be relevant to secure infrastructure against these threats in 2023. Fields include application security, network security and identity & access management.
1. Security Consolidation
A survey of IT security stakeholders showed that:
- Nearly half of organizations deploy between six and forty security solutions
- 79% of the respondents face challenges when working with multiple vendors
- 69% of the respondent believe prioritizing vendor consolidation improves security
Many organizations deploy multiple-point solutions from multiple vendors to secure their assets, such as data centers, mobile devices, IoT, branch offices, endpoints, etc. The larger the organization, the more security solutions it deploys. The result is a disconnected and complex security architecture.
The complexity and disconnection are furthered if security teams monitor and manage their threats from multiple consoles, as it creates visibility silos, which make it impossible to gain a holistic view of the organization's security risk. Working with solutions from different vendors leads to challenges in training, implementation, setting policies, integration, etc.
According to a Gartner survey, 75% of organizations intend to pursue security vendor consolidation. That is, deploy security solutions created by one vendor because they allow integration for security consolidation. This trend will continue well into 2023, as organizations want to cut costs, improve risk detection and threat visibility, and reduce complexity.
2. Mesh Architecture
Many organizations implement siloed security, which involves a range of point security solutions that address specific security risks.
The advent of IoT devices, cloud computing, hybrid work environments, edge computing devices, etc., has spread the traditional network perimeter across a diverse infrastructure. It is difficult, complex, and risky to monitor and manage cybersecurity threats in this expanded attack surface with siloed security implementation. This leads to missed threats and delayed responses.
Gartner developed the cybersecurity mesh architecture (CSMA) as a more flexible, collaborative, and scalable approach to security, which they define as "a collaborative ecosystem of tools and controls to secure a modern, distributed enterprise."
CSMA integrates distributed security solutions by centralizing the data and control plane for more collaboration. It enhances detection capabilities, response efficiency, policy consistency, etc., which improve security.
CSMA defines four foundational layers that describe critical security goals:
- Security analytics and intelligence
- Distributed identity fabric
- Consolidated policy and posture management
- Consolidated dashboards
The CSMA approach to cybersecurity will grow in popularity over the next few years. It is perfect for the hybrid workplace, multi-cloud environment, and rapidly evolving and expanding IT environments. More and more organizations will implement CSMA to achieve stronger and more reliable security with fewer resources.
3. Developer-First Security
One of the main reasons for vulnerability in software is developers focusing on the timely delivery of functional software, then considering security afterward. Historically, security takes a backseat as software developers and engineers work on the software. Then, when they deliver it, a separate entity looks for security issues.
A developer-first security approach combines development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) by introducing security earlier in the development lifecycle. Under this approach, the developer or engineer uses developer-friendly security tools to easily find and fix security issues. Some tools have automated security controls, so the developer doesn't have to make an additional effort.
The DevSecOps market size is expected to reach $23.4 billion by 2028, from a mere $2.5 billion in 2020. So, more and more organizations will adopt the developer-first cybersecurity trend starting next year as it has a small impact on development times and a huge impact on security vulnerabilities.
4. Cloud-Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP)
A cloud-based infrastructure must be secured effectively using Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM), Cloud Service Network Security (CSNS), and Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP).
CSPM automates the detection and remediation of misconfigurations and security risks. CSNS uses mechanisms like web application firewalls to provide real-time cloud infrastructure protection, and CWPP detects and recommends corrections to prevent cybersecurity threats. It can be complicated, difficult, and confusing to effectively secure your cloud environment if you're using these solutions.
CNAPP integrates these critical security functions into one cloud-native solution that spans the entire lifecycle from development to production. It minimizes complexity, eliminates blind spots, and improves visibility across silos.
Over the next few years, organizations looking to facilitate DevSecOps and DevOps team operations will adopt the CNAPP cybersecurity trend.
5. Increase in Managed Services
The competition for talent over the last couple of years is not about to end, especially for the talent required to secure IT infrastructures. Skilled personnel is needed for specialized roles. As more organizations digitize and move to the cloud, competition for these specialists will increase.
Organizations have been increasingly adopting managed services, such as managed security service providers (MSSPs), managed detection and response (MDR), VPN as a Service (VPNaaS), etc., to fill these critical positions and improve security. They provide services like security monitoring and management, system changes, risk assessment, access control, and security response.
Organizations that use managed security services benefit in the following ways:
- Filling gaps in their security teams or replacing the whole team
- Access to specialist expertise at a fraction of hiring one
- Round-the-clock monitoring and prevention
- SMBs can rapidly achieve security maturity
- Compliance with security regulations
Many organizations see the importance of managed security services and will work with them over the next few years. The managed security services market is expected to reach $46.4 billion by 2025. Nonetheless, it is important to note that some domains of cybersecurity can be outsourced better than others.
6. Principle of Least Privilege
Using the concept of perimeter security is a common cybersecurity vulnerability. Under this approach, the organization's local area network (LAN), which contains data centers with applications and data, forms the security network perimeter. Everything connected to the LAN is considered "trusted," and devices connecting from remote sites are considered "untrusted ."So, if you give access permissions to an employee or any third party, they become "trusted" and gain unrestricted access to potentially sensitive data.
The downside with perimeter security is it assumes all devices and parties accessing data and resources from inside the perimeter can be trusted, which isn't always the case. Also, as remote work and cloud computing migrate devices and users outside the LAN boundary, perimeter security cannot be a viable solution.
To reduce security incidents, organizations are implementing the principle of least privilege (PoLP) through the zero-trust model. The PoLP limits access rights to only what the user needs to perform their role.
Under the zero-trust model, all devices, apps, and users that request access are considered "untrusted" until proven otherwise. They can read, write, and execute only the resources necessary to do the assigned tasks. Every access request is evaluated and granted or denied. The organizations gain greater visibility into how users are using their system so they can detect and prevent potential attacks.
According to a Gartner report, zero-trust access will be the fastest-growing segment in network security in 2023, at 31% growth. Organizations will enforce the PLoP deeper in their systems and technology stack beyond the basic components like device and identity.
7. Hybrid Data Centers
A hybrid data center combines on-premise and cloud-based infrastructures with a network that allows sharing of applications, data, and other resources between them. It allows organizations to take advantage of private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise environments. This is especially relevant for organizations that don't want to fully move into the cloud.
Organizations with hybrid data centers strike a balance between the benefits and capabilities of the cloud and on-premise infrastructures. For example, the cloud has more agile systems for developers, while on-premise results in lower internet expenses and better security.
Other benefits of hybrid data centers include the following:
- Ease of use
- Improve remote workforce support
- Low downtime
- Better control and scalability
- Lower costs
However, the hybrid data center increases the attack surface, so your security toolchain should be well-equipped if you want to go hybrid. 8. CI/CD-Integrated Software Testing
CI/CD-Integrated Software Testing
CI/CD is an agile DevOps workflow that enables development teams to continuously deliver software updates. It is a set of practices that automate building, testing, and deploying software.
During CI/CD-integrated testing, each integration automatically triggers a build-and-test sequence (continuous testing), quickly giving feedback to the developer. The code is then automatically deployed to different users and environments. CI/CD-integrated testing can help to automatically detect security issues and vulnerabilities, ensuring that software is secure and reliable. It also contributes towards shifting left, i.e. starting security testing at an earlier stage of the development process.
Testing inside the CI/CD can be done for unit tests, integration tests, functional tests, acceptance tests, static code analysis, and security tests. It requires CI tools like Jenkins, Drone, Travis CI, etc.
Many organizations already adopted an automated build-test-deploy sequence. Many more will follow, to reap benefits such as:
- Fast deployment of software updates
- Reliable building and testing
- Early bug detection
- Fewer errors and bugs in production
- Transparent log of changes and updates
How to Stay Up to Speed
Now that we've looked into threats and trends, it's time to evaluate solutions. At Code Intelligence, we offer automated software testing solutions that enable developers to test their code early and often. By automating modern fuzz testing algorithms, our solutions enable developers to deploy some of the most powerful testing methodologies for uncovering security vulnerabilities and functional defects. No expert knowledge required! We maintain a holistic platform for enterprise needs. For developers who want to get started with automated fuzz testing right away, we provide CI Fuzz, a freely available open-source version of our platform.