Author: Erik Leong

The cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, with new IT security trends rapidly changing each year.  

As tech, like artificial intelligence, becomes more sophisticated, cybercriminals find new and more aggressive ways of leveraging this type of tech to their advantage.  

We sought insight from our partners at Lumen to better understand the current landscape of IT security trends and how your organization can improve its cybersecurity program development and maturity in a programmatic manner aligning to business objectives as opposed to arbitrary budgets.. 

Let’s take a look.

IT Security Threats: By the Numbers 

The Q4 Lumen Quarterly DDoS & Application Threat Report provides insight into the current IT security landscape.  

What’s clear from the report is that the government sector was hit particularly hard in 2023: 

  • 66% of the 1,000 most significant attacks Lumen mitigated targeted the government. 
  • Government attacks increased 163% from Q3 and a staggering 4,025% year over year. 
  • One government customer accounted for 1,759 attacks of the 1,953 government attacks in Q4, showing a persistent and focused campaign by cybercriminals. 

The government agencies are being targeted as the sector that holds extremely sensitive data and is essentially a new form of warfare via cyber insurgency. 

According to Sharada Achanta, Lumen VP of Product, Cybersecurity, and AI, “Espionage, extortion, and disruptions are the reasons behind these attacks, and the increased security measures do not deter the attackers.” 

While the government sector led the way with the number of attacks (66%), other industries affected include: 

  • Software and Technology (11%) 
  • Telecommunications (9%) 
  • Finance (2%) 
  • Gaming (2%) 

IT Security Trends: What’s Getting Traction 

While countless IT security trends come and go, the report highlights two specific trends we should factor in. 

Artificial Intelligence: Friend AND Foe 

2023 was the year that artificial intelligence conversation became widely leveraged in the market, from ChatGPT to deep fakes. These days, cybersecurity and AI are shifting the paradigm, leaving organizations needing to adapt new ways to combat threats.  

Due to concerns about how artificial intelligence (AI) could abused by bad actors and the lack of standards in the industry, the US government stepped in and issued an executive order on AI. Meanwhile, the European Union signed a provisional agreement on the Artificial Intelligence Act 

In cybersecurity, AI can be both a blessing and a curse, with both attackers and defenders using AI for their benefit. 

As new AI comes on the market, the risks of more robust attacks increase. Conversely, for the defenders, AI has the potential to become even more dynamic, improving integration capabilities with response systems and predictive analytics.  

With the advancement of AI technologies, the attack surface and blast radius have increased significantly.  A pressing issue is the potential for AI to augment the efforts of the botnets that exploit and affect IoT devices for attacks. As AI expands, integrating security strategies becomes crucial to keep pace with the evolving landscape. 

DDoS Attacks   

A troubling trend known as DNS water torture attacks appeared and posed a significant threat throughout 2023. These attacks involve overwhelming Domain Name System (DNS) servers with a barrage of requests to disrupt websites and systems.  

Unlike typical DDoS attacks, DNS water torture attacks are subtler, persistent, and low in volume. This makes it harder to detect and mitigate using cloud-based protection services. this attack particularly appeals to malicious actors as they’re hard to block and require more advanced countermeasures to combat effectively. 

According to the report, there was a spike in water torture attacks in the first half of 2023, and this trend continued throughout the year.  

Addressing IT Security Trends 

According to Lumen, organizations can approach these IT security trends in several ways to strengthen their defenses and improve their overall cybersecurity threat management.   

You can use AI to:  

  • Conduct real-time traffic monitoring and execute behavioral network analysis to detect patterns and anomalies. 
  • Anticipate potential DDoS attacks through predictive analytics, enabling proactive measures. 
  • Automate and rank investigations and responses to DDoS attacks for efficient mitigation. 

Businesses can protect against DDoS attacks by:  

  • Establishing holistic protection against application and network layer attacks to ensure crucial business functions are kept online even if an active attack is in progress.  
  • Deploying added application-layer defenses using Web Application Firewalls, API protections, and Bot Risk Management solutions. Pairing these with solutions focused on application acceleration can improve responsiveness. 
  • Ensuring DDoS mitigation is in place to prevent attackers from executing large campaigns.  

Enhance Your IT Security Strategy for 2024 

Staying informed about emerging IT security trends is vital for protecting your organization against cyber threats. Every organization must be vigilant in understanding the dual potential of much of the evolving technology — as both a huge help and a potentially even more significant hindrance.  

By using AI for real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, automated response strategies, and implementing comprehensive DDoS protection measures, businesses can bolster their cybersecurity posture and mitigate risks in an increasingly dynamic threat landscape. 

Bridgepointe’s cybersecurity experts can help you define your security strategy and get the right solutions to address new and emerging threats.  

Request a complimentary cybersecurity audit below to get started.