As sure as the sun rises and the rain shows up throughout the summer, the cybersecurity threat landscape will constantly present new vulnerabilities for cybercriminals. As much as we change the landscape and its challenges, cyberattacks will also update their techniques and technologies to attack in new and successful ways. 

Being halfway through 2024 does not mean we are safe from identified threats. The most prominent issues and challenges are still to be safeguarded against for most people in the UK, from the young to the elderly. 

Social Engineering 

The biggest hacker threat throughout 2024 has been social engineering – fuelled by basic human error rather than vulnerabilities in a system. These attacks manipulate people into giving information they should not share, allowing hackers to gain identity and access management to personal credentials – but potentially organizational ones. 

Many attacks come through phishing emails that open up the doors for data breaches but also come from downloading suspicious software links, visiting website links that are not trusted, or providing details through false offers or promotions. Social engineering continues to be a very prosperous attack for cybercriminals, and they will continue to develop more sophisticated attacks. 

Third-Party Exposure 

Third-party risk encompasses any risk brought to an organization by external parties within a supply chain or ecosystem. Typically, they come from vendors, suppliers, partners, contractors, or service providers with access to data, systems, processes, or other privileged information. 

These are the most newsworthy attacks, as they affect millions through a trusted source. Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram suffered such an incident in 2021 that was highly publicized, with the target being Socialarks, a third-party vendor with privileged access to all platforms. The attack led to 214 million affected users. 

Remote working has made it simple for hackers and cybercriminals to exploit critical systems and networks through unprotected third-party access. Until these third parties can match the levels of cybersecurity required for safety against exposure, it will continue to be a major problem this year. 

Cyber Hygiene 

Cyber hygiene practices keep data safe and protected and aid in maintaining properly functioning devices in defense against attacks such as malware. Cyber hygiene is still something that many people have to catch up with, avoiding unprotected networks and using VPNs and multi-factor authentication on devices and apps.  

Two-factor authentication is not as complicated as many people believe it to be. Even the most technically challenged individual can get to grips with multi-factor identity and access management. Organisations also have to adopt a more preventive stance against incidents instead of stepping up after an incident, employing a regular password change system to keep hackers behind in attempts at unauthorized access. 

One group that needs to provide the biggest step in good cyber hygiene is IT professionals themselves, with 50% around the UK guilty of reusing the same simple passwords across multiple accounts in 2023. 

Join the Future 

Of course, these are just a handful of the pressing issues facing identity and access management in 2024, and until everyone is on the same page with it, we will continue to see further evolutions of each affect individuals and organizations alike. 

At Identity Management 2024, IAM leaders, decision-makers, and influencers will gather to deliver engaging talks on the future of identity access management at a free-to-attend conference for IAM leaders and practitioners. If you are interested in the changing shape of preventive measures against cyber threats, join special guest speakers and industry partners in laying the map for the future of UK security identity and access management. 

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