Yingyan Huang is an entrepreneur in the technology industry, with a focus on IT and cybersecurity. In the following article, Yingyan Huang discusses potential cyber threats, and how new technologies can prevent future data breaches.
As we look back on 2022, it’s clear that the year continued a recent trend toward increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. Unlike in previous years, though, the scale and impact of these attacks seem greater than at any time before. After all, if tech giants such as Twitter and Microsoft can come under fire, it seems as if cybersecurity has become a necessity for businesses and governments, rather than a preventative luxury.
Looking ahead to 2023, Yingyan Huang states that the cybersecurity industry certainly has its work cut out for it. While some threats remain the same, if cyber attackers continue to become more sophisticated and brazen in their efforts, we can safely assume that new threats lurk just beyond the horizon.
Geopolitics Continue to Influence Cyber Security Risks
Back in November 2022, Microsoft released a report stating that nation-state cyberattacks were at an all-time high as authoritarian leaders looked to crack down on dissent. In a single year, Yingyan Huang reports that they found that the estimated number of state-backed attacks jumped from 20% to 40%, many of which related directly to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
It seems that, in the modern age, war is no longer limited to the battlefield. By weaponizing cyberattacks, Russia has been able to target Ukraine’s infrastructure, taking much of the country offline and even affecting its access to electricity. Russia is not the only nation-state financing sophisticated cyberattacks, though.
Yingyan Huang reports that Iran has continually ramped up its use of cyberattacks to target activists protesting the state’s restrictive gender equality laws. Likewise, China has invested heavily in its state-backed cyberattack unit to infiltrate regional governments and exert greater influence in Southeast Asia. It’s unlikely that any of the three nations will halt their efforts in the coming year, placing pressure on businesses and the US government to fight back.
What’s perhaps most worrying, though, is that this push toward nation-state-backed hacking is sure to create a wave of cyber mercenaries. If authoritarian governments are willing to pay cyber attackers for their skills, there will undoubtedly be a wave of home-grown experts seeking to profit from geopolitical tensions.
Leading Insurers Change Their Policies
In light of widespread nation-backed attacks, Yingyan Huang reports that several leading insurance companies have decided to no longer provide coverage for companies affected by such attacks. This has left many companies vulnerable, but it’s also opened a gap in the market that could soon be filled by new insurance companies willing to work around nation-backed attacks.
If this does happen, it’s likely that they’ll impose strict regulations to ensure that businesses are following cybersecurity best practices to the letter. If not, companies could face steep premiums or even face cut off.
Employment Trends are Putting Businesses at Risk
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States’ job market has undergone a significant shift. Millions of people have left their old jobs, prompting a so-called Great Resignation, in line with similar trends like quiet quitting. Yingyan Huang explains that this has forced many businesses to seek outside contractors who may not go through the same HR onboarding process as previous employees.
In many cases, these outside contractors may be working on company projects while using unsecured Wi-Fi, improper credentials, or on their personal devices. This puts businesses at a greater risk of having their data accessed and stolen by a hacker.
Unfortunately, though, so many businesses are in a position where they must quickly onboard new staff to maintain productivity. In the rush, Yingyan Huang states that they may overlook potential risks and leave themselves vulnerable. For this reason, it’s now a necessity for businesses to invest in cybersecurity as a part of their everyday protocol, rather than an investment in preventative safety.
The Bottom Line
If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that cybersecurity will become increasingly more important over the course of 2023. With nation-backed cyberattacks at an all-time high and increasingly fraught tensions building between the West and its competitors, businesses and governments alike are at a higher risk. Unfortunately, Yingyan Huang explains that insurers are unwilling to cover these risks and employers are not taking the proper precautions to help their data safe.