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Infinitely Virtual 2022 Predictions: The Shape of Cyberthreats to Come - And How to Understand the Evolving Dynamic

vmblog predictions 2022 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2022.  Read them in this 14th annual series exclusive.

The Shape of Cyberthreats to Come - And How to Understand the Evolving Dynamic

By Adam Stern, founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual

Here's a safe, perhaps even unassailable, prediction for the year ahead in cybersecurity: the threats will keep on coming.

Everything morphs, of course, but while the specifics and scope of attacks will change in 2022, nothing is likely to stop the relentless tendency of bad actors to (seek to) wreak havoc on organizations, businesses and governments. 

So, post Solar Winds and Colonial Pipeline, what have we learned and how might IT and others put those lessons to use in the next 12 months? 

Here's a top-line of those learnings: (a) this is no time to put extreme vigilance on the back burner; (b) there are no magic bullets to get hackers to disperse; and (c) don't hold your breath for a tech-driven bulldozer to level the playing field.  Feeling as though you're scrambling or perpetually on the defensive?  For many, that indeed has become the status quo, and although dodging and ducking doesn't seem like much of a strategy, the year ahead may offer promise, if you squint a bit.

Savvy organizations can thread their way through in 2022 as they've done for some time now - with a mindset that treats security as a process -- but language matters more than ever.  While bad actors are calling the shots and we can't "level the playing field" as such,   businesses can access more tools than many realize.

In a perfect world, we'd strive to be a step ahead but that's typically a fool's errand; it's the attacker's job to game the system.  The obvious reason why that playing field can't be leveled: by definition, what bad actors do is illegal. They don't play by the rules, but we must. 

Effective cybersecurity strategies for 2022 will require collective effort across the board. Solutions are not limited to SMBs or the enterprise or industry-specific sectors or, certainly, individual users.  The way forward includes any and all - or, more accurately, every and all.  Next year is all about building an ad hoc community of users who follow these threats, come up with solutions and share information.  That's the best, if not the only, way to fight and protect against a dispersed army of bad actors.

Ad hoc may or may not mean actively coordinating.  It does mean relying increasingly on forums and similar venues to share and advance best practices.  In this, we're all potentially empowered.  Every hacked business, whatever the size, takes steps in response - steps that may entail calling on a staff member, an IT expert, a cybersecurity firm or some other knowledgeable third party.  Taking action becomes a learning experience, because few tackle this alone.  

Indeed, as we move into 2022, responsible cybersecurity increasingly will draw on crowdsourcing.  Although small businesses typically lack the resources to retain cybersecurity specialists to do deep-dive investigations like their large-enterprise counterparts, SMB contributions still matter.  Insights/intelligence from attacks of all sizes effectively "trickle up" and down, over time making their way into commercial antivirus and anti-malware software. 

Even bad actors are getting into the act, albeit unintentionally.  Not long ago, a band of hackers offered "ransomware as a service," boasting some of the trappings of a startup.  The "firm" was irate when the authorities hacked their servers, pulling encryption keys and preventing their "customers" from collecting the ransomware score.  The moral: the playing field really is difficult to level.

While ransomware-as-a-service isn't likely to be a thing, might 2022 be the year artificial intelligence at long last rides to the rescue?  AI does continue to advance, especially the state of the art in threat detection, but I'm not that bullish - at least not on a purely tech-driven solution.  Breakthroughs as such take years. 

I see the necessary jump-start taking a different form - genuine will, backed by new energy and fresh resources, especially from governments.  With more and more high-value targets at risk, the needle may in fact move.  When a fintech company or a pipeline is at risk, high-profile threats tend to open wallets and minds.  Nothing like a few prison terms to get the point across.

While it may not exactly be leveling the playing field, playing hardball might just be a game-changer.



Adam Stern 

Adam Stern is founder and CEO of Infinitely Virtual ( -- @IV_CloudHosting) in Los Angeles.  Stern is an entrepreneur who saw the value of virtualization and cloud computing more than a decade ago. His company helps businesses move from obsolete hardware investments to an IaaS [Infrastructure as a Service] cloud platform, providing them the flexibility and scalability to transition select data operations from in-house to the cloud.
Published Wednesday, November 24, 2021 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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