Top 5 Cyber Security Threats in 2024

Cyber criminal on several laptops

Cyber crime is advancing rapidly, resulting in countless cyber threats that cost UK organisations millions. The reason behind it? Poor cyber security measures. Organisations must stay proactive, understand the trending cyber threats, and have suitable systems and tools in place. 

Keep reading to find out the top 5 cyber threats for 2024 below. 

What Are Cyber Threats & Cyber Attacks? 

A cyber threat is a malicious attempt to compromise computer networks and systems and steal private data. These threats include data breaches, malware and other malicious activity. 

However, cyber threats can be unintentional due to negligence, accidental damage or human error. In these cases, the threat is an internal result of poor cyber hygiene and lack of training. 

A threat becomes a cyber attack when an outside group, state or individual purposely infiltrates an organisation’s systems to cause damage. The cyber threat actor may be motivated by financial, reputational or operational harm. The attacker will violate the organisation’s security and put private data at risk. 

The Top Cyber Security Threats

1. Social Engineering

Social engineering is the psychology of criminal persuasion whereby attackers impersonate a reputable identity to encourage victims to provide sensitive information. 

This hacking technique relies solely on human error. You may already have technical advances implemented, but tricking a human mind is where the real danger lies. Up to 90% of malicious data breaches involve social engineering. Techniques include baiting, phishing, pretexting, scareware and spear phishing. 

2. Phishing Attacks

In 2023, 79% of UK businesses reported phishing attacks from cyber actors wanting to steal company data. Phishing attacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using generative AI solutions like ChatGPT to craft malicious content that lures employees. 

A cyber criminal will use forged emails, websites, or text messages to prompt the victim to disclose sensitive information. These scams can cause significant damage to an organisation. 

3. Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts files or locks organisations out of their systems until a ransom is paid. Any size of organisation can be a victim, even the government. 

Attackers are transforming ransomware into a billion-dollar business, leaving businesses at financial and reputational risk. In fact, cyber criminals now subscribe to “Ransomware-as-Service” providers, which allow hackers to use off-the-shelf ransomware tools to execute ruthless attacks.  

Staying proactive is essential. Follow simple cyber security practices, such as backing up your data, installing firewalls and antivirus software, and updating systems and software. 

4. Poor Cyber Hygiene 

Cyber hygiene is a set of practices organisations follow to maintain the security of their data, systems and networks. These measures include avoiding unprotected Wi-Fi networks and integrating VPN or multi-factor authentication. 

It’s easy for cyber hygiene to fall through the cracks. Employees may reuse old passwords, ignore software security updates and transmit sensitive data over open networks. These bad habits are an open invitation to cyber breaches. Cyber security training is a perfect way to set it straight. 

5. Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities 

IoT connectivity raises significant concerns for organisations that rely on smart devices for daily operations. Statista predicts 29 billion IoT devices will be connected worldwide by 2030. These embedded devices lack adequate security measures, making them a global opportunity for cyber attacks.

Organisations must prioritise patch management, security features and strong authentication methods to reduce IoT threats. 

Get Ahead of Cyber Threats with Data Protection People

Keeping your organisation safe from cyber attacks can seem daunting. Letting your defences down for one moment could risk your entire operations. Don’t let it happen to you.

Data Protection People offers expert cyber security consultants and a reliable support team to elevate your cyber resilience. Contact our team to learn more.