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Google Cloud Report Demonstrates Why We Need Secure Devices

by David B. McGarry

Google Cloud’s Cybersecurity Forecast 2024 provides insights into the threats countries, businesses, and individuals will likely face in the coming year. Its contents highlight users’ pressing need for stronger security tools to combat increasingly more sophisticated cyber-attacks.

Cybersecurity breaches generally originate from human error that creates an exploitable security vulnerability. Humans cannot entirely avoid making mistakes. Further, most users lack the technological knowledge to catch even semi-sophisticated cyberattacks without help from their devices and other tools. In short, users by necessity typically outsource security to professionals. Features including firewalls, malware scanners, sideloading limitations, and secure mobile payment systems fortify users against cyber criminals.

Google Cloud’s findings should be a wake-up call.

First, mobile users must brace themselves against innovative hacking attempts. “In 2024, we anticipate cyber criminals or scammers to continue employing novel social engineering tactics,” Google Cloud’s report says. Such tactics include “simulating domestic help services, messages from fake social media accounts, banks or government officials, and spoofed pop-up alerts to trick victims into installing malicious applications on their mobile devices.”

Moreover, users must secure their toasters as much as their phones. “Espionage groups will create ‘sleeper botnets’ out of vulnerable Internet of Things, small office, home office (SOHO), and end of life devices and routers using a mixture of old and new exploits,” the report states.

Experts have long warned that the proliferation of internet-enabled appliances (e.g., smart thermostats) provide hackers ample new opportunities to breach networks. “If you are an attacker, finding a vulnerable device like a lightbulb is fantastic because it has power constantly, it has the computational ability to be able to engage, you gave it network credentials when you brought it on your network,” Brian Scriber, vice president of security and privacy technologies at CableLabs, explained last year.

The rise of artificial intelligence will also affect cybersecurity greatly, providing new tools to hackers and security professionals alike, according to the report. This transition will only increase the importance of out-of-the-box secure devices to combat cutting-edge hack attempts.

Published on November 15, 2023