Cybersecurity challenges for 2023

Five cybersecurity challenges we face in 2023

1. As IoT-connected devices continue to come to market at speed, it’s easy to overlook the simple things you can do to improve security

Our modern connected world means more critical systems communicate over the internet. As demand continues to grow for IoT-connected devices, products and systems that use them are constantly evolving too, meaning there is no such thing as a finished product anymore.

The IoT brings together multiple communication interfaces, making the security of connected devices a major area of focus for businesses. With each new product or system that enters the market, new problems and vulnerabilities are introduced. Fuzzing is a comprehensive testing method that enables businesses to identify critical security issues and vulnerabilities between IoT-connected devices that other testing solutions can’t, making it a key function of any cybersecurity toolkit.

2. The expanding roll-out of 5G systems connects more devices, and increases the number of attack vectors

Increasing demand for high-speed bandwidth capacity is accelerating the global adoption of 5G, with 5G subscriptions expected to reach 1 billion in 2022. As well as enhancing operational efficiency and adoption of modern technologies, edge computing facilitated by 5G also opens more access points and hence potential vulnerabilities. Securing a business against cyber-attacks can be expensive but the disruption, severe costs and reputational damage caused by cyber attackers is a bigger price to pay.

As more and more critical applications seek to leverage the benefits of 5G, security is paramount, and as such, network operators and their suppliers have a range of duties to adhere to under the Telecommunications (Security) Act 2021. Duties include identifying and reducing the risk of security compromises and preparing for any future risks to provide effective protection of networks and services. Protections are to be applied to supply chains, business processes and discrete parts of networks and services.

As 5G increases the adoption of edge computing across a diverse range of critical industries, fuzz testing will become a mainstream security testing approach. Deploying continuous, routine fuzz testing solutions enables businesses to proactively protect themselves from increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, continually improving the security and resilience of products and systems over their entire lifecycle.

3. Supply chain security risks

Most businesses rely on third party suppliers to deliver products and systems but with suppliers doing many different (and often automated) things, supply chains are more complex then ever.

Moreover, recent shifts in working patterns primarily due to the pandemic, meant many businesses had no choice but to move to cloud servers to facilitate remote working. As businesses increasingly depend on third party cloud computing, many assume that security is included as part of the package, but the devil is in the detail.

Vulnerabilities can be introduced at any stage of your supply chain and are inherent of using third party products and systems as part of your own solution. As well as adding value to your business, third party suppliers also increase dependency and due diligence requirements.

Managing the continued robustness and resilience of a supply chain can be challenging when they consist of multiple connected devices, resulting in an ecosystem of interfaces which can be exploited and cause disruption to the entire chain. The implementation of continuous fuzz testing across your supply chain can reveal serious defects and security loopholes in the protection of devices, systems, networks, data and users.

4. The evolving security requirements in operational technology (OT)

OT is used across a broad range of industries including engineering and manufacturing, within self-contained systems. A large majority of OT products were designed and manufactured before the arrival of the internet, so weren’t created with IT systems in mind. In the past, OT functions were designed to be physically separate from everything else, but today’s connected world brings the use of cloud servers for remote access to installations that would historically have been segregated. So, as we increasingly converge OT with an IT overlay, we are crashing together two very different systems and skillsets. OT engineers have a very different mindset to IT developers, meaning more needs to be done to educate as well as integrate OT with IT.

As technological advances continue to converge the worlds of OT and IT, the focus turns to improving security and resilience of both the products and systems. CyTAL’s unique testing solution, ProtoCrawler, is effective in application to any OT component or IT system, identifying vulnerabilities before they inflict significant damage on businesses. The application of robust testing solutions is important to enhance the security of OT products and IT systems, protecting them from exploits and potential cyber-attacks.

5. Maintaining core cybersecurity functions in-house

Cybersecurity is a key focus for every business as their security needs evolve and attackers become increasingly more sophisticated. As the need for more resilient security processes increases, many organisations will require specialist experience to adopt and integrate best practices. This demand has led to a shortage of talent, forcing businesses to consider outsourcing their core cybersecurity functions.

CyTAL is changing the way businesses think about their cybersecurity functions, delivering a solution that supports in-house management and measurement of security robustness. Its cybersecurity evaluation solution, ProtoCrawler, allows people who aren’t experts to access fuzz testing and delivers instant improvements. It’s important for businesses to have the right set of tools in their toolbox to deploy a proactive defence strategy bur with so many cybersecurity solutions available, the challenge is understanding which will deliver the most value by helping to prioritise time and money to the most severe vulnerabilities.

Using advanced fuzz testing techniques to discover and identify unknown vulnerabilities helps businesses defend their assets against cyber-attacks. Fuzz testing embeds cybersecurity as a discipline that can be maintained for continuous delivery over the lifecycle of products and systems.