Top 6 Cybersecurity Threats for 2023

Without proper threat intelligence and robust security controls, cybersecurity attacks will come without warning and cause detrimental harm to an organization. Depending on the attack, organizations could lose critical data, pay hefty compliance fines, or see their brand reputation diminished for not taking their customers (and their own) data security seriously. A successful attack could shut down an IT environment in a worse—case scenario, forcing a business to cease operations entirely and lose revenue streams.  

Attacks and similar events result from cyber threats (or risks) that successfully exploit a security system vulnerability. Cybersecurity threats can come from inside an organization’s network or outside and constantly evolve just as technology capabilities enhance and industries adapt to marketplace needs. That said, staying up-to-date on the most pressing and current cyber threats is essential.

By doing so, you can better understand the unique controls you need to deploy to prevent them from becoming a successful attack, obtain threat intelligence, identify potential incidents, and mitigate the impact of an incident through response solutions. As we head into 2023, here are the six cybersecurity threats your organization needs to look out for:   

1. Ransomware

Ransomware is malware that locks users out of a system, device, or application or encrypts a set of data until a payment gets paid to the cyber-criminal. Often delivered through phishing, ransomware comes either as an email attachment or downloadable content from a malicious website that looks legitimate. Hackers could also deploy ransomware if they obtained access to a network or specific application. This threat will remain prominent as organizational attack surfaces increase with additional applications and devices.


  • Utilize security awareness training for personnel to help them identify and avoid malicious emails or websites that could contain ransomware. 
  • Keep data and applications constantly backed up to reduce the operational impact of a ransomware attack. 
  • Ensure their endpoint protection tools like antivirus stay up-to-date so it can avoid ransomware from downloading and spreading. 
  • Deploy email filtering controls that prevent malicious emails from ever entering the network. 
  • Practice solid account security hygiene, like creating strong and secure passwords and using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent a hacker from deploying malware from inside an application.       

2. Phishing

Phishing is when a hacker pretends to be a trusted person or website and convinces a user to complete an action like downloading an attachment or submitting credentials. Though mostly done through email, it can also occur through texting or website spoofing. Phishing is often the precursor to other attacks, which is why it will remain a top cybersecurity threat for 2023 and years after. For instance, hackers often use phishing to obtain user credentials for account access — allowing them to carry out attacks like delivering malware or stealing data. 

  • Educate users on what phishing looks like and how to avoid it in all forms, including email, text, and websites. 
  • Deploy email filtering systems that blacklist addresses and prevent potentially malicious emails from entering the network.  
  • Utilize technical controls and governance through company policies that dictate and enforce which websites users are allowed to go to. 
  • Use a layered security approach with mechanisms like antivirus and MFA to protect endpoints even after users fall for a phishing scam.  
  • Invest in detection and response solutions like endpoint detection & response (EDR) software or managed detection and response (MDR) services to provide automated cyber threat intelligence and incident remediation after a successful phishing attack.      

3. Increased IoT Devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to all the devices an organization would connect to its network to process data and complete workflows. For example, defense contractors use cameras and sensors for facility security management. Those devices require a system with user access to collect and analyze data or carry out other activities. As firms increase their reliance on IoT things and the number of connected devices grows by nearly 2 billion year-to-year, the attack surface will only widen for additional attack opportunities.

  • Develop a robust attack surface management program with technology and processes for taking inventory of all IoT devices, managing IoT lifecycles, monitoring IoT activity for potential incidents, and disposing of devices once obsolete.   
  • Practice network segmentation to secure IoT systems and isolate the impact of breaches sourced at IoT devices. Firms can use different access points throughout the network that require separate authentication and/or use a network router just for IoT.
  • Enforce MFA requirements for applications or systems a user would access to manage all IoT devices.       

4. Insider Attacks

Inside threats can be far more lethal to an organization because the attack actor already has access to its data and applications. It’s even worse for defense contractors and facility security personnel because you are now talking about sensitive national security information and the chance that foreign adversaries are involved. Regardless, a malicious or disgruntled employee or even an offboarded user who still has resource access can steal or remove data, distribute malware, or commit various forms of financial fraud from the inside. 

  • Deploy and practice principles of Zero Trust Security, which operates on the assumption that a threat is already inside the network — requiring you to constantly authenticate their access for contextual purposes such as duration between logins.  
  • Enforce the concept of least privilege, a principle within Zero Trust that only gives users the minimum network, application, and data access needed to do their jobs.
  • Adopt automated provisioning technology and implement strict offboarding procedures when employees leave to immediately remove their resources and network access. 

5. Cloud Security Vulnerabilities 

Businesses increasingly rely on cloud data storage because of its cost scalability and ease of access, where data resources are available to users from anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. The issue is that public cloud services that host data for numerous organizations are prime targets for hackers and require different security controls than traditional on-premise environments. By design, the cloud has vulnerable system weaknesses, like more easily compromised credentials, misconfigurations, and a higher potential for negligent data sharing.  

  • Enforce detailed password management policies to protect user and admin credentials for cloud application accounts. 
  • Implement MFA for an additional layer of security for cloud-based applications and databases.
  • Design and enforce organizational policies for secure cloud file and data sharing regarding how the sharing process must occur and who is permitted and restricted from receiving cloud data. 
  • Utilize encryption on cloud data at rest and in transit, particularly for highly sensitive information.       

6. Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks are problematic to organizations because they have limited control over how third-party vendors, suppliers, and contractors manage their cybersecurity. Even though a third-party firm often has at least some access to its customer data and information systems, there’s usually no coordination between the parties for cyber threat management or threat intelligence. This leaves the primary organization susceptible to having its own data or customer information compromised due to an attack somewhere else in the supply chain.  

  • Before choosing to work with a supplier or third-party vendor, run a cybersecurity risk assessment to evaluate their controls, incident history, cyber threat intelligence mechanisms, and overall security posture.  

Use non-partisan tools such as BitSight and SecurityScorecard that assess and validate third-party risk management controls for thousands of global companies.

Stay Ahead of Today’s Cybersecurity Threats with MathCraft

For Facility Security Officers (FSOs) looking to improve their cyber and industrial security posture, MathCraft has your back. Portal Commander gives facility employees a self-service and FedRAMP-compliant option to securely process travel and visit requests, manage documents, and track training. The system is built with secure infrastructure to protect organizational data and employee personally identifiable information (PII), and empowers employees to stay accountable for reporting requirements for identifying potential insider threats.  

MathCraft also proudly offers Access Commander, an industrial security management software fully compliant with cybersecurity requirements like NIST SP 800-53 and CMMC. The system comes equipped with modules for visitor and secured access management, audit reporting, insider threat analysis, and tools for tracking sensitive documents. There are also powerful incident management features that let defense contractors flag potential employees, detect threats based on analyzed activity data, then remediate prioritized incidents.   
Contact us today to learn more about how our industrial security management software suite helps FSOs automate their security workflows, protect their sensitive data, and manage compliance requirements across all aspects of their facility-security operations.