There was good news, but as usual mostly bad news, on the global cybersecurity front this year. Here’s a brief look back at 2023.
First off, the year saw more accolades for Hill Tech, as in July we were again named among the nation’s elite managed services providers, making the prestigious Channel Futures NextGen 101 list for the third consecutive year. On the regional front, Hill Tech won the 2023 Harford Award in the R&D/Technology category in October. Awarded by the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, the Harford Award “recognizes and honors businesses or organizations each year that manifest a strong commitment to the Harford County business community.”
Nationally and globally, the cyber news was less cheerful as the pace of ransomware attacks continued to increase unabated. A study from Apple noted that by September, 2023 had already seen more ransomware incidents than in all of 2022.
High-profile victims in 2023 included Johnson Controls (in an attack in which floor plans of U.S. defense installations may or may not have been breached – yikes); 23andMe, which collects DNA samples for the purposes of tracing ancestry; Caesars Entertainment, which purportedly paid $15 million to avoid publication of customer data; MOVEit software, which ironically promises the secure transfer of files; and LastPass, which keeps your passwords safe … ish.
Across the pond, the UK suffered attacks on both its Royal Mail Service and its Electoral Commission. And across the other pond, the passport records of a reported 34 million Indonesian citizens were breached in an attack on the Indonesian Immigration Directorate General. Indonesia, by the way, has some cyber work to do. They’ve reported nearly 100 data breaches over the past four years.
Bright spots? In January, the FBI shut down the Hive ransomware network, short-circuiting $130 million in pending ransomware payments. Hive had been responsible for more than 1,500 attacks worldwide. And in November, 16 European law enforcement agencies converged on Ukraine to dismantle a group responsible for attacks in 71 countries.
Predicting the future in such a fluid area is an iffy proposition at best, but one thing you can look for in 2024 is the increased role of artificial intelligence. AI shows a great deal of promise in combating cybercrime, but unfortunately the bad guys are using it also.
It will be an interesting year.