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June 22, 2023 | Channing Lovett

Navigating the Cyber Threat Landscape in 2023

The days when you could be covered by just having firewalls and antivirus software are now long gone. Today’s cyber threat landscape is becoming more complex by the day. What do businesses need to know to navigate the cyber threat landscape in 2023?

What is the Cyber Threat Landscape?

Any potential or acknowledged threats that can impact organizations, user groups, or are specific to certain industries can be included in the cyber threat landscape. This landscape changes all the time – new and emerging threats and new combinations of threats rise in popularity as criminals become more sophisticated and technology advances.

Why Understanding the Cyber Threat Landscape is Important

Like most things, understanding what you’re up against is the first step in learning how to identify and address it. Businesses that take the time to understand the cyber threat landscape will be able to single out risks, prioritize based on urgency and impact to the business, develop security and disaster recovery plans that will truly address the most critical threats, and ensure compliance with necessary regulatory organizations.

Cyber Threat Landscape Potential Impacts

Organizations that fail to take the time to evaluate the threat landscape can experience the following negative consequences:

  • Financial: Financial consequences can stem from cyber threats in a number of ways. A data breach that reveals sensitive information can lead to increased expenses for the company or lost revenue as customers decide to take their business elsewhere. If trade secrets are revealed, the competition may be able to gain the upper hand and encroach on previously unoccupied territory. Companies that choose to pay when their data is encrypted with ransomware may lose money and still not recover their data. Paying premiums for cyber insurance coverage or trying to regain lost ground after a cyber attack can also be a costly endeavor.
  • Reputational: When an organization experiences a cyber attack, the reputational damage may be greater than the initial financial damage. Some customers or vendors may never feel they can trust a company again after their information is compromised and again take their business elsewhere
  • Operational: Supply chain attacks can create far-reaching operational consequences. When attackers target a company’s suppliers, the disruption can cause material shortages, price hikes, and financial losses. Operations can also grind to a halt when a business experiences a ransomware attack or a data breach.
  • Legal: Certain industries and data types are governed by regulations that dictate protective measures that should be in place and/or remediating measures a company should take after experiencing a cyber attack. If a business is not compliant, consequences can include fines and other sanctions.

What Are Some of the Most Common Cyber Threats?

Eight of the most common cyber threats include phishing, ransomware, extortion attacks, malware, malicious apps, DDoS attacks, data breaches, and zero-day attacks.


Phishing is a common attack vector that relies on social engineering to get people to take a desired action. Social engineering is a tactic that may include impersonation, emotional manipulation, or other human emotions to elicit this goal response.

With phishing, a bad actor will generally send an email or text message under the guise of a legitimate source with the goal of getting the recipient to click on a malicious link or provide personal or sensitive information.

The act of phishing may be highly targeted with a tactic called spearphishing, where personalized information is included in the message to add legitimacy.


A business that is attacked with ransomware may find they are locked out of sensitive data or data that is vital to their daily operations. A cybercriminal will encrypt the data and demand the victim pay a ransom in order to receive a decryption key or other method to access their data again. Organizations that don’t have backup and data recovery solutions can find themselves particularly prone to this kind of attack.

Extortion Attacks

While extortion attacks may be done in tandem with ransomware attacks, they can also be a distinct attack vector. Bad actors who have accessed an organization’s data will threaten to leak some or all of it unless a ransom is paid.

Two increasingly popular forms of extortion attacks include double or triple extortion. In double extortion, the attacker threatens the organization at the corporate level, but in triple extortion, the threat can extend to the customers or end users who may not want their personal information getting out.

Businesses looking to protect their users or have something go away quietly may find themselves tempted to pay the ransom. Most “successful” attacks on the side of the criminals are thanks to this addition of double or triple extortion tactics.


Malware may feel like a “vintage” threat, but its use is still relevant today. Typically computer viruses or spyware from internet use, malware is often used in combination with other popular cyber threats, including ransomware and phishing. Employing firewalls and keeping software up to date helps protect against malware, but businesses also need to ensure they are keeping up with increasingly sophisticated attacks.

Malicious Apps

Malicious apps are one type of malware that can steal personal information from users if they are installed on mobile devices. They may also have tracking capabilities or be able to send spam messages to other users.

DDoS Attacks

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is designed to flood the targeted victim with more requests than it is able to shoulder, leading to a shutdown and lack of accessibility to the system. Sometimes a group of attackers can leverage a DDoS attack, and other times, one individual can carry it out using bots. Large amounts of traffic might be sent to IP addresses, websites, or DNS servers in an attempt to limit access or shut down operations.

Data Breaches

Many different attacks may be included in data breaches, including phishing or ransomware. In a data breach, sensitive company (i.e. employee login information or files) or user data (i.e. birthdays or email addresses) is exposed to people who should not have access.

Zero-Day Attacks

Cybercriminals are ready to pounce on recently discovered vulnerabilities, and this is where zero-day attacks come into play. These are vulnerabilities that are found before a developer is able to patch the software and can cause further problems for companies that don’t have a solid plan for patching or vulnerability management.

Emerging Cyber Threat Landscape Trends

New technology, and combinations of existing tactics, mean that the cyber threat landscape will continue to expand and evolve as time goes on.

Emerging cyber threat landscape tends

Artificial Intelligence

AI-powered tools have started to enter the mainstream, with AI writing assistants, programming tools, project management software, and more. However, the benefits of new technology often come with downsides as well. AI can be used to power social engineering attacks such as phishing by creating more realistic messaging and even spoofing the voices of key figures in a company. Because AI can also automate formerly manual processes, it can be used to find and exploit software vulnerabilities at a faster rate. The efficiency afforded by AI is a double-edged sword for businesses that may fall victim to more efficient and effective attacks.

Cloud Security

Major cloud providers offer several security measures for clients, but that doesn’t mean that cloud environments are immune from incoming threats. Data breaches can happen as a result of cloud service vulnerabilities or compromised data on the employee side. Misconfiguration and human error can pose major threats to critical infrastructure.

Exploiting IoT Devices

Internet-connected devices, including fitness trackers, medical trackers and smart thermostats, are called “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices. These devices can be subject to attacks due to oftentimes more lax security controls, such as end users failing to update default network settings. Attackers can use their access to control devices or steal data.

Combined Cyber Attack Methods

In addition to double/triple extortion and malware combined with ransomware, cybercriminals are combining other attacks to deliver more effective one-two punches:

  • Ransom DDoS: Attackers launch a DDoS attack and promise to lift it once a ransom is paid.
  • Exploit packs: Amateur hackers can buy ransomware as a service (RaaS) on the dark web, malware kits, and compromised system credentials.
  • Cybercriminal gangs: Some criminals have joined forces and formed alliances with other criminals or groups that have other specialties. This might look like one group infiltrating data and another group exfiltrating it.
  • Software supply chain attacks: Supply chain attacks have been on the rise, but now, software supply chains are also at risk. Open-source environments, including GitHub and Linux, may have vulnerabilities that can impact thousands or millions of users who share a repository.

How to Protect Against the Cyber Threat Landscape

While knowing about the cyber threat landscape can take you far, gaining visibility on your own attack surface and implementing appropriate security measures are steps you can take to protect your organization against incoming cyber threats.

How to protect against the cyber threat landscape

Understanding Cyber Attack Types

When you understand what different cyber attack types entail, you stand a better chance at defending against them. Different threats behave in different ways, infiltrate different parts of your environment, and may target specific types of information or people in the company. Understanding which cyber attack types are most likely to impact your business can help you prioritize your security strategy.

Gain Visibility into Attack Surface

Once you know what to look for, you need to gain visibility on the attack surface. Monitoring tools can help with this, especially tools that allow you to see across environments if you’re running multiple clouds or have a hybrid environment.

Use Defensive Measures

Any defensive measures you include will provide additional fortification around your business, and there’s really no such thing as being too protected. Here are some things you might want to incorporate:

  • Multifactor authentication and strong passwords
  • A plan to keep software up-to-date and patched
  • Training programs for employees to learn about phishing and common cyber attacks
  • Firewalls, antivirus software, XDR and DDoS protection
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity planning

Reduce the Overwhelm of the Cybersecurity Threat Landscape with an IT Security Partner

It’s no longer good enough to simply react to threats. The best way to protect yourself against whatever the cybersecurity threat landscape has in store is by engaging in proactive security measures. TierPoint offers IT security services including disaster recovery, cybersecurity, advisory, security consulting, and compliance solutions that help businesses stay one step ahead of cybercriminals.

Ready to learn more about the top threats to cloud security and the best defenses against them? Download the full whitepaper today.


What is the number one attack vector in the cybersecurity landscape?

Phishing is the most used attack vector in the cybersecurity landscape – attackers will send messages that are often impersonations of identifiable companies or individuals, and victims are tricked into providing personal information or clicking on harmful links.

What is cyber threat intelligence?

Cyber threat intelligence (CTI) includes any information or data that organizations can use to become better informed about the scope and nature of cyber threats, as well as the motivations and entities behind the threats.

What are the three levels of security threats?

Security threats are divided into three levels – low-level, medium-level, and high-level. The higher the level of threat, the more likely it is to cause serious damage and the harder it will be for a business to recover. Low-level threats can include phishing emails, medium-level attacks can include ransomware, and high-level attacks can include supply chain disruptions.

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