2024 will bring with it many challenges and opportunities for cybersecurity leaders. High-profile data breaches and attacks against political or industrial secrets will likely present the most significant threats.
Security leaders will continue to emphasize the importance of multi-factor authentication (MFA), utilizing established methods such as biometrics, hardware tokens, and public key cryptography, which offer more robust protection compared to SMS/email one-time passwords
Rise in HTTPS Adoption
As more sites use HTTPS, eavesdroppers on their network cannot access data shared between browser and site servers. This effect provides both privacy and security benefits that shouldn’t be underestimated.
But HTTPS adoption is driven not just by technical factors. There are plenty of incentives to convince businesses of its need, such as new web standards which only work when coupled with HTTPS; Google rewards these websites with better SEO rankings; mobile platforms typically default to HTTPS APIs for native apps; etc.
These incentives, combined with the reduced costs associated with HTTPS migration (thanks to services like Let’s Encrypt and SSLTest), have driven companies toward adopting secure-by-default strategies. As browsers begin flagging non-secure sites with visual indicators, additional pressure will be put on companies not to delay this inevitable shift.
Although HTTPS enhances privacy and security, its implementation makes selective content filtering by governments more challenging, as it encrypts data transmission. This change is generally regarded as a positive development for free access to information and online privacy.
Dominance of TLSv1.3 Protocol
As more sites switch to HTTPS, TLSv1.3 has become the dominant version. This protocol reduces the number of round trips needed to establish a connection, improving performance and decreasing latency while adding security improvements such as disabling known-vulnerable cipher suites and eliminating redundant messages in handshake handoffs that simplify configuration and enhance security.
TLSv1.3 will continue its widespread adoption through 2024. However, it should be remembered that not all devices, browsers, and servers support it – leading to potential compatibility issues and broken connections for users. Therefore, TLS 1.2 remains an important fallback option for systems and browsers that do not yet support TLSv1.3, ensuring compatibility and secure connections.
Hackers are ramping up their attacks as investments increase in cyber security. Targeted ransomware, voice phishing, and deep fake technology are expected to become increasingly sophisticated over time; therefore, organizations must implement comprehensive protections against these threats, such as multi-factor authentication, endpoint security, and zero trust measures, to limit these risks.
As governments and businesses become more aware of the ramifications of data breaches, they will push for more robust security regulations – including laws such as the UK’s Product Security Act, which mandates networked products adhere to minimum security standards.
Increased Use of HSTS
HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) is an HTTP response header policy that helps prevent cookie and session hijacking and other cyber threats by mandating that sites only communicate over secure HTTP connections. Web servers send this policy via an HTTP response header, instructing browsers only to communicate via secure connections – with each new request to a site, browsers record and use this information against insecure connections, preventing communication via insecure HTTP channels in future requests to that website.
With features such as preloading, HSTS makes it simple for websites to commit to secure HTTPS from the start and adhere to this promise, creating the impression of commitment to security enforcement and building trust with visitors and customers.
In addition to eliminating insecure access, HSTS enhances security by ensuring browsers only establish secure HTTPS connections, which could indirectly contribute to improved user experience by avoiding insecure HTTP connections. With page speed being an increasingly significant ranking factor for SEO and users likely abandoning sites that take more than three seconds to load, adding this extra layer of security, which reduces loading times, can tremendously positively affect user experience and conversion rates.
As 2024 progresses, more sites moving to HTTPS should utilize HSTS, including sites with numerous third-party content or services that are hard to offer over HTTPS. This move will contribute significantly to improving the overall cybersecurity of the web while simultaneously building trust with visitors and customers.
Decline in EV Certificate Usage
The Extended Validation SSL certificate offers the highest level of authentication and security. It demonstrates to visitors that your organization is legitimate and verified by the Certificate Authority while providing your website with a green address bar to indicate security for visitors.
As an eBay-sized enterprise needing multiple EV certificates for various domains, the cost can quickly mount. Furthermore, some users remain wary of EV certificates due to their rigorous validation process requiring more identity proofing than OV (domain-validated) certificates do.
SSL protocol vulnerabilities, like the well-known weaknesses in the MD5 encryption algorithm, do not directly impact the effectiveness of EV certificates. Organizations’ decisions on investing in EV SSL in 2024 are more likely influenced by factors like cost and the perceived value of the enhanced validation process rather than SSL vulnerabilities.
Protecting Business Networks with SWG
With IoT, BYOD, and hybrid work being so prevalent these days, many businesses are moving their applications, data, and infrastructure to the cloud to increase efficiencies and agility – this increases attack surfaces, making web security solutions all the more critical than ever.
Web security helps organizations protect customer data while providing seamless services, preventing fraudulent activities on digital platforms, and building user trust. Unfortunately, cyber attackers remain highly skilled and prolific – targeting businesses in various ways, such as denial-of-service attacks or leaks of millions of passwords, email addresses, or credit card details through cyber heists.
Secure web gateways (SWGs) can be a handy defense mechanism against business cyber threats. By installing a Secure Web Gateway (SWG), businesses can mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks, reducing potential financial losses, reputational damage, and compliance violations.
SWGs sit between the internet and business networks, enabling them to perform application layer inspections for malicious activity, such as known-bad URLs used in phishing campaigns and other issues that require further scrutiny. Based on business policies and security best practices, they may permit or deny access according to business policies and security best practices; additionally, they can offer granular application control while optimizing network performance by throttling or blocking specific types of traffic to protect corporate applications and data.
Legacy RSA Encryption Still Prevalent
Although threats continue to advance at an unprecedented pace, security industry players remain committed to using RSA encryption algorithms despite them. Their prevalence may have something to do with it becoming an Internet standard in the 1990s; nonetheless, this public-key cryptosystem suffers from several drawbacks that compromise its utility, requiring developers to select parameters for its public exponent. This arduous task cannot be expected of non-cryptographers.
RSA encryption also presents problems related to its vulnerability against attack vectors. While some attacks can be protected against with padding, attackers continue to find new methods of attacking it; plus, quantum computing threatens all forms of public-key encryption.
As 2024 approaches, its threat landscape will evolve rapidly. To remain resilient against such disruptions and address them successfully, CISOs should prepare themselves with ongoing investments in technological upgrades and modern security practices.
Expert cybersecurity predictions forecast that threat actors’ motivations for targeting entities beyond financial gain will broaden in 2024, manifested through ransomware, malware-as-a-service, and DDoS-as-a-service offerings. As organizations increasingly adopt cloud-first strategies, the overall digital ecosystem expands, potentially increasing the attack surface, including third-party vendors, which could lead to breaches affecting downstream entities.