2024 promises to be a pivotal year marked by unprecedented challenges and several groundbreaking advancements in India’s cybersecurity landscape. As the digital realm becomes increasingly intertwined with geopolitical tensions, supply chain vulnerabilities, and the relentless evolution of cyber threats, India will find itself at the intersection of innovation and risks.
With insights from leading thought leaders, our predictions unveil a roadmap for navigating the cybersecurity ecosystem, spotlighting key trends that will shape India's digital defense strategies.
1. Criminal Innovation with Generative AI:
Criminal innovation around generative AI and large multimodal models will continue to unfold in India. The emergence of new phishing attack techniques, leveraging WormGPT and FraudGPT, will mark the beginning of a new era. For instance, WormGPT-powered phishing could manifest as spear-phishing emails meticulously crafted by AI, replicating an individual's communication style to deceive recipients into divulging sensitive financial information.
Also, the proficiency of FraudGPT in manipulating audio and video opens the door to deepfakes, allowing criminals to impersonate individuals for fraudulent financial transactions or extortion. Social engineering, facilitated by AI-generated content, could involve the creation of deceptive news articles, social media posts, and targeted propaganda to manipulate public opinion for financial gain or political influence
2. AI-Driven Phishing Techniques on the Rise:
India will experience a surge in AI-driven phishing techniques, making cyber tactics against small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) more sophisticated. Investing in security awareness training will be essential for SMBs to combat these AI-driven attacks effectively.
3. Convergence of Cyberspace, Supply Chain, and International Conflicts:
Geopolitical tensions will likely catalyze a surge in cyber-espionage campaigns and targeted malware attacks. This underlines the growing convergence of cyberspace and international conflicts. In the Indian context, where a burgeoning digital economy is deeply interwoven with global supply networks, the convergence of cyberspace and the supply chain assumes paramount importance. The prospect of targeted attacks on supply chain and third-party software vulnerabilities demands a proactive and strategic response from Indian businesses and governmental bodies alike.
4. Evolution of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) Models:
In 2024, brace yourself for an evolving cyber threat in India marked by sophisticated and frequent malware attacks, especially in the ransomware sector. Cybercriminals are anticipated to innovate further with RaaS models, emphasizing profit-sharing and advancing risk mitigation to outmaneuver authorities more effectively.
5. Crimeware-as-a-Service Maturity:
The maturity and evolution of Crimeware-as-a-Service, with expanded AI-driven capabilities, will continue. Ransomware attacks will be focused on high-value targets with comprehensive campaigns.
6. Rise of DDoS Attacks:
Ransom demands are on the rise, and this trajectory is predicted to continue. In addition to encryption and data exfiltration, cybercriminals are expected to deploy distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks to cripple entire environments. A multi-faceted approach demands, robust and adaptive cyber defense strategies in India, considering the complexity of the digital threat landscape.
7. Shorter Patch to Exploit Windows:
In 2024, India will witness even shorter patch-to-exploit windows, necessitating timely patching of exposed technical assets. The pressure on administrators to maintain updated solutions will increase, pushing vendors to ensure quick and seamless updates.
8. SMBs in India will need to upgrade their defenses to a new level:
The pervasive rise of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) will underscore the urgent need for SMBs in India to fortify their cybersecurity posture. Being prepared for new ransomware delivery methods will be crucial, necessitating a proactive cybersecurity approach. SMBs in India will also increasingly adopt software bills of materials (SBOMs) to identify potential vulnerabilities within their code. This transparency in the software supply chain will deter poor development and security practices, fostering the creation of more secure software.
In conclusion, the Indian cybersecurity challenges in 2024 will demand heightened vigilance, collaboration, and innovation to safeguard against evolving threats. As experts predict, a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy, coupled with awareness and preparedness, will be paramount for businesses and organizations in the Indian digital ecosystem.
Written by -- Praveen Kulkarni, Director- Security, Risk & Governance at OpenText India