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09 February 2024

Forewarned is Forearmed: Navigating 2024's Email Threat Landscape with SYNAQ’s Roadmap to Cyber Resilience

Staying ahead of the curve isn't just an advantage, it's a necessity


As we step into 2024, while the digital landscape we navigate is transforming, email remains a critical pillar of business communication and collaboration. Yet, this vital channel is under siege, facing threats of unprecedented scale and sophistication, evolving as quickly as the counter technology. In this threatscape, forewarned is forearmed, and staying ahead of the curve isn't just an advantage, it's a necessity.

At SYNAQ, we understand that the stakes have never been higher. That's why we've delved deep into the latest research and emerging trends to equip you with the knowledge you need to bolster your defences. From the alarming rise of AI-powered attacks to the emerging focus on quantum-resistant cryptography, the email security landscape in 2024 is both challenging and complex. But with these challenges come opportunities to prevent, protect and prepare.

In this blog post, we're not just sharing predictions; we're offering a roadmap to cyber resilience. We'll explore how the advancements in AI, ML, and quantum computing are double-edged swords, offering both threats and defences. And most importantly, we'll discuss how SYNAQ, as your proactive partner, is at the forefront of cyber resilience, offering cutting-edge solutions and expert guidance to keep your business safe, secure, and one step ahead.

  1. Understanding the Cybersecurity Threatscape: A 2024 Outlook

    The email threat landscape is more dynamic and dangerous than ever.

    Understanding these threats is the first step towards building a robust defence, ensuring that you're not just reacting to the landscape but anticipating and preparing for its shifts​​:

    Rise of AI and ML in Cyber Threats:

    We're witnessing a significant shift towards more sophisticated threats, particularly those powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). These technologies are used by cybercriminals to automate the creation of malicious emails and malware, making detection increasingly complex.

    Surge in Social Engineering:

    Social engineering attacks are surging, with incidents like the MGM Resorts International breach underscoring their severity.

    Premised on human fallibility, social engineering attacks use psychological manipulation to play on our weaknesses - whether impersonating a trusted contact, or triggering emotions like curiosity, fear or greed. Social engineering is made all the more powerful by the wealth of personal information we make available online and on social media, giving hackers unprecedented insight into our networks and interests.

    Growth in Business Email Compromise (BEC):

    In BEC, a social engineering tactic, the sender impersonates a colleague, partner organisation or known brand, usually with urgent instructions to make payments or share sensitive information. BEC gained prominence during the COVID pandemic as cybercriminals sought to take advantage of remote work. In 2023, according to IBM, the average cost of a BEC attack was $4.67 million, with BEC cited as the initial attack vector second only to cloud configuration.

    The Insider Threat: Security Fatigue and Manual Override:

    Security fatigue describes the feeling of exhaustion users experience when they are inundated with security measures. Fatigue sets in when staff are overwhelmed with security warnings, IT alerts, cybersecurity policy documents and password change requests. And, as in life, familiarity can breed contempt.

  2. How is Business Responding | Trends in Cybersecurity

    Businesses are responding to these evolving and escalating threats with their own defensive arsenal, setting new standards for cybersecurity best practices. At the centre for organisations leading the charge is the notion of cyber resilience – protecting infrastructure and assets with technology and training, preventing breaches through proactive threat intelligence, and preparing for recovery in the event of a breach. More specifically:

    Increased Reliance on Threat Intelligence:

    Organisations are shifting their focus to uncovering unknown cybersecurity risks, relying on threat hunters and actionable threat intelligence to stay ahead​​. In this new paradigm, threat intelligence is not a nice-to-have, but a necessity.

    Email Security in the Boardroom:

    Cybersecurity, especially email security, is becoming a central agenda item in board meetings, with metrics on threats and targeted departments as key points of discussion​​.

    AI in Cybersecurity:

    AI's integration into cybersecurity brings with it the potential for automated security systems and threat detection, ulitising advanced data- and predictive analytics​​.

    Enhanced Phishing Defence and User Behaviour Analytics:

    Organisations are adopting advanced phishing defence techniques and focus on User Behaviour Analytics (UBA) to detect anomalies that might indicate security threats and act as early warning systems​​.

    Emergence of Quantum-resistant Cryptography:

    As quantum computing advances, there is a significant focus on developing quantum-resistant cryptography to protect against future threats​​.

    Empowering Through Awareness: The Keystone of Cyber Resilience

    Human error remains a leading cause of security breaches. According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, the first line of defence against email threats is a well-informed workforce. Their annual Oh Behave! survey found that over a third of respondents started using multi-factor authentication and around 50% developed a better eye for phishing in the wake of cybersecurity training.

    As we navigate a more complex cyber landscape in 2024, empowering your staff through awareness and training is crucial. Social engineering attacks and sophisticated phishing schemes are on the rise, making it imperative for employees to resist security fatigue and remain vigilant in the face of suspicious activities.

    These trends highlight the dynamic nature of the cybersecurity landscape, with a particular emphasis on the growing sophistication of threats due to advancements in AI and ML, the need for stronger threat intelligence and defensive strategies, as well as the importance of regulatory compliance and insider threat mitigation. While these tactics are noteworthy, businesses should adopt a holistic view of cybersecurity with cyber resilience as the ultimate goal. Cyber resilience demands a three-pronged strategic approach – PREPARE, PREVENT and PROTECT.

  3. The 3 Pillars of Cyber Resilience

    PROTECT | Proactive Defence: Leveraging Best-of-Breed Cybersecurity Solutions

    In 2024, adopting a proactive defence strategy will prove critical. AI and ML-powered security systems, advanced phishing defence techniques, and Secure Email Gateways (SEGs) like SYNAQ’s Securemail Service are among the tools that can provide a robust defence against the evolving threat landscape.

    A comprehensive approach should include user behaviour analytics to detect anomalies and potential threats. By combining advanced technologies with a keen understanding of user behaviour, businesses can establish a proactive and resilient defence posture​​.

    PREVENT | Building a Resilient Security Posture: Best Practices for Prevention

    In the face of escalating threats, building a resilient security posture is paramount. Regular vulnerability assessments, security protocol updates, and compliance with evolving regulations are essential.

    With the rise of BEC scams and expanding regulatory compliance requirements, organisations must stay vigilant and proactive in their prevention efforts. It's about creating a dynamic, responsive defence that evolves with the threat landscape and regulatory environment​​.

    Make sure that your cybersecurity partners share this approach. The right partner should deliver more than technology. They should act as a strategic advisor in the pursuit of resilience against attack.

    PREPARE | When Breaches Happen: Effective Incident Response and Recovery Strategies

    Despite the best defences, breaches can and do occur. In 2024, having a well-defined incident response and recovery plan is not just beneficial; it's essential. Creating strategies that address immediate threat containment and outline a clear recovery path will minimise damage, maintain business continuity, and ensure learning from incidents to bolster future defences.

    With the potential acceleration of AI-powered attacks and the looming threat of quantum computing, building a multi-layered strategy that includes data classification, redundancies, risk assessment, and mitigation is critical​​.

    Your technology partners should guide you and work to ensure that, in the case of a breach, you are able to recover quickly.

  4. Future-Proofing Your Business: Embracing a Holistic Approach to Cybersecurity

    True cyber resilience requires a holistic approach, integrating technology, human insight, and strategic foresight. Embracing new technologies, fostering a culture of continuous learning, and forming strategic partnerships with a focus on cyber resilience, means you can not only protect against the threats of today but also prepare for the challenges of tomorrow​​.

  5. Harnessing SYNAQ: Your Partner in End-to-End Email Security

    In a landscape fraught with evolving threats, SYNAQ stands as your ally, offering more than just solutions; we provide a partnership. Our expertise, innovative technologies, and commitment to your security fit within the holistic resilience framework. Our comprehensive solutions are designed to predict, prevent, and respond to threats, ensuring that your email communications are secure and your business is fortified. With SYNAQ, you're not just adopting a set of tools; you're embracing a comprehensive, forward-thinking approach to email security and cybersecurity resilience.

    Not yet part of the SYNAQ family? Contact us for world-class email security backed by local support – available 24/7 and let’s turn your mailbox into your best line of cyber defence -