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Juniper Networks 2022 Predictions: Cyber Criminals Get Bold

vmblog predictions 2022 

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

Cyber Criminals Get Bold

By Mike Spanbauer, Senior Director and Technology Evangelist, Juniper Networks

2021 certainly saw a rise in pandemic-related cyberattacks, but in 2022, enterprises should anticipate that these will go a step further. Cyber criminals are getting smarter, faster and bolder with their attacks and will continue to take advantage of weaknesses brought on by the pandemic, including leaner monitoring teams and gaps in security. Additionally, threat actors will turn to targeted ransomware and payment extraction to inflict the most damage possible. Here are my predictions for how cyber criminals will shift their attack strategies in 2022 and how enterprises can fight back.

Cyber criminals will continue to take advantage of weaknesses brought forth by the pandemic: Throughout the pandemic, organizations around the world have developed an even greater degree of dependence on increasingly capable technology approaches to business resilience. However, despite these efforts, threat actors have been able to exploit both human and technical weaknesses in more complex and dispersed networks resulting in considerable economic and productivity damages. Looking ahead at 2022, threat actors will continue to exploit weaknesses such as missing security patches that organizations struggle to correct due to ever-increasing complexity and thus continue to further their own ends. In other words, expect 2022 to look at lot like 2021 in terms of notable and sensational exploits.

Bad actors will expect victims of cybercrime to pay up and pay up fast: Over the last 18 months threat actors have grown increasingly savvy in their approaches to ransomware and payment extraction. Because full exfiltration of data is completed prior to the "lock" and before victims can encrypt data, organizations quickly realize that the risk is so great they must immediately acquiesce to ransom demands. Despite aggressive investigations by authorities around the world and even some high-profile arrests, this trend will continue to increase in 2022 as it remains the fastest method of monetization of an attack. Even when ransomware gangs are shut down, they will quickly reform, often with new branding,as the techniques used are well known and there is so much money to be had.

To make matters much worse, threat actor objective execution time will also continue to shrink from around 30 minutes to 60 minutes, to even less. This means that organizations must invest in prevention technologies and early detection efforts or expect to pay dearly in remediation and analysis. There is literally no time to lose.

HTTP2.0 and TLS 1.3 will see increased adoption by threat actors as an evasion mechanism to avoid recon, C2, and exfiltration: The rule of thumb is that you have to "see the traffic to protect," and this is generally true. Without the ability to thoroughly inspect encrypted traffic in an organization, newer theoretically more secure internet standards including HTTP/2 and TLS 1.3. will provide an additional avenue for both adopting organizations to secure and ensure privacy of data, but this mechanism also serves threat actors in the same way. This further complicates the inspection demands most NGFW or clear text security detection methods employ today. Thus, security measures may ultimately fall short as exploits can easily be hidden even within encrypted traffic that many organizations may opt out of decrypting. This in turn will lead to greater interest in tools that allow for malicious activity to often be identified without needing to break the encryption.

Remember, hackers and other bad actors are constantly evolving and updating their nefarious tools and tactics, but enterprises are generally well equipped to fight back if the proper policies and procedures are in place. 2022 very well may be the year that cybercriminals get bolder, but who says the IT "good guys" can't beat them to it?



Mike Spanbauer 

Mike Spanbauer is a Senior Director and Technology Evangelist for Juniper Networks. Mike's work and expertise in network and security advisory, consulting, and product strategy over the last 25 years provides a breadth of perspective across network and security execution, as well as approaches to solve for operational and governance needs that organizations face. He most recently served as Vice President of Research Strategy for NSS Labs, driving the enterprise research and consulting practice for NSS' global clients. Prior to that, Mike held leadership roles at Current Analysis and HP in research, strategy, and competitive intelligence.

Published Tuesday, January 11, 2022 7:37 AM by David Marshall
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