TUV Rheinland Charts Path to Better Cyber Defense

By Greg Tavarez, TMCnet Editor  |  December 15, 2023

The digital landscape has become a battleground, with cyberattacks and the costs around cyberattacks escalating worldwide. In fact, worldwide cybercrime costs are estimated to hit $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, according to a Cybersecurity Ventures and eSentire report.

The growing number of network-connected devices, from traditional computers to industrial equipment and even automobiles, only multiplies the attack surface. AI also adds another layer of complexity, empowering cybercriminals to exploit vulnerabilities.

This has jolted businesses of all sizes, forcing them to acknowledge cybersecurity as a non-negotiable strategic priority. Businesses must re-evaluate their defenses. Should they form alliances, pooling valuable security knowledge to combat increasingly collaborative cyber gangs? Or will more stringent regulations and improved internal capabilities prove the most effective weapons?

TÜV Rheinland took a deeper look into these questions with its Cybersecurity Trends 2024 report and revealed 10 trends companies need to be aware of that will help them answer those questions and better protect themselves from cyberattacks.

There will be stricter cybersecurity regulations, and businesses need to prepare for a standardized approach to resilience. Governments are tightening regulations, demanding better security measures and incident reporting. This makes all systems more robust against attack.

Ransomware remains the kingpin, evolving at breakneck speed to bypass existing defenses. According to the survey The State of Ransomware 2023, conducted by the security provider Sophos, 66% of companies were affected by at least one ransomware attack last year. Of these attacks, 76% resulted in encrypted data and in 30% of the cases, there was even data theft. Businesses, governments and even our social fabric are in its crosshairs, demanding constant vigilance and adaptation.

The cost of a cyberattack is no longer just financial, it's existential. Reputational damage, operational disruptions, legal battles – all can cripple a company. In 2022, the cost of a data breach reached a new high of an average of $4.35 million, according to an IBM report. This figure represents a 2.6% increase from the previous year. Cybersecurity is no longer just an IT concern, it's a boardroom imperative.

Companie should trust suppliers at their own peril. Malicious modules or components can be woven into software or hardware products during production, creating hidden vulnerabilities. Scrutinize the supply chain with laser focus.

There are 42 billion connected devices today, and 75 billion by 2035, according to Frost & Sullivan. Every connected device, from a smartwatch to a factory robot, is a potential entry point. Massive connectivity demands a massive security overhaul.

Organizations need to get ready for the rise of cybercrime cartels. The 2023 TÜV Cybersecurity Study finds that the cyberattacks of the last 12 months were mainly carried out by organized criminal gangs. Professional hackers are forming alliances, sharing expertise and developing sophisticated attack strategies to carry out these attacks. Defenders can use the same strategy. Collaboration is key.

Speaking of collaboration, cybersecurity alliances are making their presence known. Don't go it alone. Joint defense alliances and coalitions allow companies and institutions to pool resources, share threat intelligence and stand stronger against cyber threats.

Phishing is getting smarter. Automated mass attacks use AI to tailor messages to specific targets, making them more convincing and dangerous. In March 2023, the European police organization Europol stated that GPT models make it easy to impersonate an organization or individual in a realistic manner. To counter this and stay ahead, organizations need to invest in robust email security and employee training.

Patching holes is a never-ending race. The sheer number of security vulnerabilities is overwhelming traditional management methods – 1,292 security vulnerabilities were reported in the Microsoft Vulnerabilities Report with BeyondTrust. Automation and prioritization are key to staying afloat in this vulnerability tsunami.

Cars are also becoming targets. Buckle up, literally. As cars become more digital and autonomous, their security becomes paramount. Expect hackers to target these rolling computers, demanding robust security measures to keep drivers safe on the road.

"The alarming increase in cyberattacks in recent years has made it clear that companies and institutions of all sizes should consider cybersecurity as a strategic priority," said Petr Láhner, Business Executive Vice President Industrial Services and Cybersecurity at TÜV Rheinland.

TÜV Rheinland, cognizant of the dynamic threatscape, extends a comprehensive array of solutions to assist organizations in bolstering their cyber defenses. The company's experts offer tailored guidance based on specific needs and industry considerations, covering proactive risk assessment, vulnerability management, robust incident response plans and ongoing threat intelligence.

This includes penetration testing, where real-world attack scenarios are simulated to identify vulnerabilities before potential exploitation by hackers. The company also provides security awareness training to provide employees with knowledge and skills to recognize and evade phishing attempts, malware attacks and other social engineering tactics.

Additionally, TÜV Rheinland offers compliance support, guiding organizations through the complexities of cybersecurity regulations to ensure adherence to industry standards and data privacy maintenance.

By engaging in a partnership with TÜV Rheinland, organizations gain access to a team of seasoned security professionals and a wealth of resources. Their expertise becomes instrumental in building a resilient defense that safeguards data, preserves reputation and fortifies the bottom line.

Edited by Alex Passett
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