MSPs, Hybrid Workers & Connected Cars Face Cyber-Threat Onslaught in 2023


Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704), a global cybersecurity leader, today released Future/Tense: Trend Micro Security Predictions for 2023. The report warns that threat actors will ramp up attacks targeting security blind spots in the home office, software supply chain and cloud in the coming year.

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“Given the current economic climate and recession knocking on the door, most organizations in 2023 will be facing cybersecurity cuts which could impact their risk levels,” said Trend Micro UK & Ireland Technical Director, Bharat Mistry.

“Prioritizing cyber investment will be essential. To do so, organizations must take a lifecycle risk-based approach to security which begins with gaining visibility into the cyber-attack surface. Based on this, prioritized actions can then be taken to mitigate or reduce risk to an acceptable level, ideally automating where possible.”

According to the report, VPNs represent a particularly attractive target as a single solution could be exploited to target multiple corporate networks. Home routers will also be singled out as they’re often left unpatched and unmanaged by central IT.

Alongside the threat to hybrid workers, the report anticipates several trends for IT security leaders to watch out for in 2023, including:

  • A growing supply chain threat from managed service providers (MSPs), which will be selected because they offer access to a large volume of downstream customers, thereby maximizing the ROI of ransomware, data theft and other attacks
  • “Living off the cloud” techniques may become the norm for groups attacking cloud infrastructure to stay hidden from conventional security tools. An example could be using a victim’s backup solutions to download stolen data into the attacker’s storage destination
  • Connected car threats such as targeting of the cloud APIs which sit between in-vehicle embedded-SIMs (eSIMs) and back-end application servers. In a worst-case scenario (i.e., Tesla API) attacks could be used to gain access to vehicles. The connected car industry could also be impacted by malware lurking in open-source repositories
  • Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) groups may rethink their business as the impact of double extortion fades. Some may focus on the cloud, while others could eschew ransomware altogether and try monetizing other forms of extortion like data theft
  • Social engineering will be turbo-charged with business email compromise (BEC)-as-a-service offerings and the rise of deepfake-based BEC

Trend Micro recommends organizations mitigate these emerging threats in 2023 via:

  • Zero trust strategies built on a “never trust, always verify” mantra, to minimize damage without sacrificing user productivity
  • Employee training and awareness raising to turn a weak link in the security chain into an effective line of defense
  • Consolidating onto a single security platform for all attack surface monitoring and threat detection and response. This will improve a company’s ability to catch suspicious activity across their networks, reduce the burden on security teams and keep defenders sharp
  • Stress testing IT infrastructures to ensure attack readiness in different scenarios, especially ones where a perimeter gateway has already been breached
  • A software bill of materials (SBOM) for every application, to accelerate and enhance vulnerability management—by delivering visibility into code developed in-house, bought from commercial sources, and built from third-party sources.

Trend Micro’s cyber security architect Simon Walsh said: “In 2023, threat actors will further capitalize on unpatched vulnerabilities. While that will come as news to no one, what will is the ongoing evolution of vulnerability risk and exploitation – to less explored areas such as outdated protocols, unmanaged network devices, and open-source software, which is increasingly prevalent across all verticals as they continue to digitalize. Facing an increasingly complex attack surface, organizations need to ensure they are able to discover, prioritize, and remediate in 2023 and beyond.