In an age where cyber-attacks are as unpredictable as the weather, there's one truth that remains consistent: service desks are the first line of defense and frontline responders for their organization. As the digital realm expands and morphs, so do the threats we face. And while you might be keeping pace today, what about tomorrow?
In this post, we shine a spotlight on five cybersecurity trends that every service desk agent should have on their radar for 2024 and share actionable steps to address them.
1. Cloud Computing Risks
The conveniences offered by cloud storage, from easy data accessibility to seamless collaboration, have reshaped the way we conduct business and store data. However, as we've seen with significant breaches like the 2019 Capital One incident where over 100 million users' data was compromised, even the most trusted cloud setups are not immune.
With this shift, we've also seen a slew of new security threats, such as misconfigurations related to encryption, firewalls, and data storage settings, inadequate access controls, as well as other hidden vulnerabilities associated with legacy systems and third-party software or hardware. Service desk trends reflect an increase in cloud-related queries, and as help desk software use continues to rise, agents need to be equipped with the latest knowledge and guidelines to ensure they can provide top-tier advice on cloud security.
- Limit Access: Guide users in enabling multi-factor authentication and setting robust access controls for cloud storage.
- Regular Audits: Encourage routine cloud configuration audits to detect misconfigurations and vulnerabilities.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Exploitation
AI’s role in cybersecurity is double-sided. On one hand, AI tools can help defend systems; on the other, they can be weaponized against them. Adversarial machine learning techniques can be used to trick AI systems, bypassing traditional security measures. Service desks need to remain vigilant, staying abreast of these AI-centered threats and the best ways to counteract them.
- Stay updated: Service desk agents should stay informed about the latest developments in AI cybersecurity. This includes understanding new AI threat channels (e.g., deepfakes, misinformation), adversarial AI techniques, and deceptive tactics that can trick AI models.
- Simulated Attack Scenarios: Engage in periodic training sessions where agents encounter simulated AI-driven threats. This hands-on experience helps agents recognize real-world AI threats more effectively.
- Leverage AI for Detection: Use AI-driven tools that detect unusual patterns or anomalies in network traffic or user behavior. This helps in early identification of potential threats, which might be AI-driven malware or unauthorized access attempts.
3. Increased Sophistication of Ransomware
Ransomware attacks have grown both in number and complexity. Some of the latest ransomware strains leverage AI, allowing them to adapt and become even more potent. Service desks are often the first point of contact after a ransomware attack, so it's paramount that agents understand these threats and can guide users on recovery and prevention steps.
- Preventive Measures: Advocate for regular data backups and the use of updated security software.
- Update and Patch Systems: Ensure that all software, especially operating systems and key applications, are regularly updated. Many ransomware attacks exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software.
- Immediate Action: In case of an attack, guide users to disconnect from the network and contact IT security immediately.
4. Internet of Things (IoT) Vulnerabilities
The Internet of Things, popularly known as IoT, is an interconnected web of devices that communicate and exchange data. From smart refrigerators to baby monitors, they offer unprecedented convenience. Unfortunately, many IoT devices were not designed with cybersecurity measures at their core, leading to glaring vulnerabilities.
For IoT service desks, whether it’s a smart printer or smart conference room equipment, users in all departments need to be informed about the potential risks associated with devices and given guidance on how to secure them.
- Device Configuration: Ensure all smart devices, including printers and conference room equipment, are set up with security in mind. Disable unnecessary features and services.
- Firmware Updates: Regularly check for and apply firmware updates to ensure devices are protected from known vulnerabilities.
- Network Segregation: Consider placing IoT devices on a separate VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) to isolate them from critical business systems.
- Monitor Device Traffic: Use network monitoring tools to detect any suspicious activity coming to or from these devices.
5. Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) Growth
APTs are long-term, stealthy attacks that aim to steal data without detection. They might target governments or large corporations with motives ranging from espionage to financial gains. Their clandestine nature and increasing sophistication make them a pressing concern. Service desks should be aware of the latest evasion techniques associated with APTs and equipped with tools and knowledge to identify and combat them.
- Vigilance: Constantly update threat intelligence feeds to understand the evolving nature of APTs.
- Educate: Provide guidelines to users on the importance of security patches and updates to fend them off.
Shaping a Cyber-Resilient Future
As digital connectivity continues to expand, the importance of implementing appropriate cybersecurity measures increases. This responsibility extends beyond IT specialists, touching every industry, professional, and indeed, every individual user.
In their pivotal role, service desks are both problem solvers and proactive protectors, translating tech jargon into practical, actionable guidance for users. Solutions like DeskDirector provide built-in security enhancements and tools to help you protect, defend, and meet this revolutionary moment in technology.