9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024

January 25, 2024

2024 is well underway, and so too are the technology threats that are emerging, ready to threaten your business. The landscape of technology is continuing to evolve further and further, at what can only be considered at an unprecedented pace. Whilst this can bring in an influx of convenience and increased productivity across many industries, so too does it introduce new challenges and dangers. Here are a number of these technology threats that your business should be aware of.

Technology Threat: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Unsurprisingly, top of the list for emerging technology threats in 2024 is artificial intelligence (AI) and its ever-increasing use in the world. A lack of transparency, security risks and invasions of privacy are all valid concerns in relation to the advancements of AI.

The lack of transparency stems from the fact that many AI algorithms operate as “black boxes”. This term is attributed to the way in which the decision-making processes are not transparent or easily understandable. This lack of transparency raises concerns about accountability and the ability to challenge or audit AI decisions. Ensuring transparency in AI systems is crucial for not only building trust, but also developing an understanding of how these algorithms have arrived at their conclusions.

The security risks involved with AI are predominantly in relation to malicious exploitation of systems. Adversarial attacks, where an attacker manipulates input data to deceive an AI model, can compromise the reliability of AI systems. Additionally, AI can be used to actually enhance the sophistication of cyberattacks, making them more challenging to detect and mitigate. Ensuring the security of AI systems requires robust cybersecurity measures, regular audits, and ongoing research to stay ahead of emerging threats.

Technology Threat: Ransomware Evolution

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Ransomware Evolution is a technology threat that has, concerningly, progressed rapidly over the years, from mere data encryption to more sophisticated and targeted forms.

Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) is a business model between ransomware operators and affiliates in which affiliates purchase services to launch ransomware strikes developed by operators. Criminals can rent or purchase ransomware tools and infrastructure, making it easier for a broader range of attackers to participate in ransomware campaigns. This trend has contributed to an increase in the overall number of ransomware incidents and diversified the pool of threat actors.

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)-style ransomware attacks involve highly sophisticated, targeted campaigns against specific organizations. Attackers conduct extensive reconnaissance, gaining insights into the target’s network, infrastructure, and vulnerabilities. This approach allows for more effective and destructive ransomware deployments, often leading to higher ransom demands.

In response to victims becoming more resistant to paying ransoms, cybercriminals have adopted more intense extortion tactics. In addition to encrypting files, attackers exfiltrate sensitive data before encryption. They then threaten to release or sell the stolen data unless a ransom is paid. This dual threat places additional pressure on businesses, as they face the risk of not only losing access to their files but also potential data exposure.

Technology Threat: 5G Network Security Concerns

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Whilst 5G as a concept has many positives to every-day users and businesses, it does also come with some concerns about how available it is to become a technology threat as it continues to develop.

The extensive deployment of 5G infrastructure leads to an expanded attack surface. With a higher number of connected devices and a more intricate network architecture, attackers have more entry points and potential vulnerabilities to exploit. This includes not only traditional network elements but also a multitude of Internet of Things (IoT) devices that may have varying levels of security.

The global nature of 5G technology involves complex supply chains with multiple vendors contributing to the network infrastructure. Securing the supply chain becomes critical, as compromises at any stage of the supply chain could introduce vulnerabilities into the network. Close collaboration between vendors, governments, and regulatory bodies is necessary to ensure the integrity of 5G equipment.

5G networks enable the collection of vast amounts of data from connected devices, raising concerns about user privacy. The granular nature of data collected, including location information and behavioural patterns, poses privacy risks if not handled appropriately. Establishing clear data protection regulations and implementing privacy-preserving technologies are crucial to address these concerns.

Technology Threat: Biometric Data Privacy Risks

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Biometric authentication, including facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, is becoming more prevalent in various applications, from unlocking smartphones to airport security. However, the collection and storage of biometric data raise significant privacy concerns. Unauthorised access or misuse of biometric information could have severe consequences. Governments and businesses should be strongly encouraged to implement strict regulations and security measures to protect individuals’ biometric data from breaches stemming from this technology threat.

Unlike passwords or PINs, biometric data is essentially irreversible. Once compromised, it cannot be altered or reset. If unauthorised access occurs and biometric data is exposed, individuals face a long-term risk, as they cannot simply change their fingerprints, iris patterns, or other biometric features. This level of permanence raises concerns about the long-term privacy implications of biometric data breaches.

Biometric data can then, if not adequately protected, be misused for identity theft, fraud, or unauthorised access. Criminals may attempt to replicate biometric features using sophisticated techniques, such as creating synthetic fingerprints or generating 3D facial models. The risk of unauthorised access is particularly concerning when biometric data is stored in centralised databases, as a breach could expose a large number of individuals.

Technology Threat: Autonomous Systems & Ethical Dilemmas

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Autonomous systems, encompassing technologies such as self-driving cars, drones, and robotic devices, have the potential to positively transform industries and improve efficiency levels. However, the deployment of autonomous systems also gives rise to ethical dilemmas and technology threats that must be addressed.

Autonomous systems rely on complex decision-making algorithms to navigate and interact with their environment. Ethical concerns arise when determining how these algorithms make decisions in situations where moral choices are required. For instance, in the case of self-driving cars, ethical programming might involve decisions about prioritising the safety of the occupants versus pedestrians, or how to respond in unavoidable collision scenarios.

Determining accountability and liability for actions taken by autonomous systems poses a further significant ethical challenge. When an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident, questions are raised about who is responsible – the manufacturer, the programmer, the vehicle owner, or the AI system itself.

Establishing clear guidelines for accountability and liability is crucial to ensure that responsible parties are held accountable for any harm caused, and adequate compensation is then provided. Autonomous systems are also vulnerable to cybersecurity threats, including hacking efforts and remote manipulation. Problems arise when considering the potential for malicious actors to exploit vulnerabilities in these systems, leading to accidents, privacy breaches, or even intentional harm. Implementing vigorous cybersecurity measures and staying ahead of emerging threats are going to be essential to moderate these concerns.

Technology Threat: Blockchain Exploitation

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Blockchain technology, known for its decentralised and secure nature, has gained widespread adoption for its applications in various industries. However, like any advancing technology trend, blockchain is not immune to exploitation, and malicious individuals may attempt to exploit vulnerabilities for personal gain.

While blockchain provides transparency, some implementations may expose user identities and transaction details. Exploiting privacy vulnerabilities can lead to the identification of users and their financial activities, compromising confidentiality. Privacy-focused blockchain solutions, such as zero-knowledge proofs or ring signatures, aim to address these concerns and enhance user privacy.

Blockchain’s decentralised nature can pose challenges in terms of regulatory compliance. Perpatrators may exploit regulatory uncertainties to engage in illicit activities, such as money laundering or terrorist financing. Establishing clear regulatory frameworks and advancing collaboration between blockchain projects and regulatory bodies are increasingly crucial to prevent exploitation for illegal purposes.

Addressing blockchain exploitation requires a combination of technical measures, community awareness, and regulatory frameworks. Continuous security audits, adherence to best practices, and collaborative efforts within the blockchain community are essential to mitigate this technology threat and ensure the long-term viability and security of blockchain technology.

Technology Threat: Environmental Impact of Technology

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

The rapid pace of technological innovation leads to the frequent obsolescence of electronic devices, contributing to a growing amount of electronic waste (e-waste). E-waste contains hazardous materials such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can pose risks to both human health and the environment if not properly managed. Recycling initiatives and responsible disposal practices are essential to mitigate the impact of e-waste as a technology threat.

The energy consumption associated with the manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of technology infrastructure is a significant contributor to environmental impact. Data centres, which house servers and networking equipment, consume vast amounts of electricity for cooling and operation. Additionally, the production of semiconductor components and manufacturing processes for electronic devices require substantial energy inputs.

Addressing the environmental impact of technology requires a comprehensive approach involving industry stakeholders, policymakers, consumers, and the technology sector. Sustainable design practices, responsible sourcing of materials, recycling initiatives, and the adoption of clean energy technologies are essential components of mitigating the environmental footprint of technology.

Technology Threat: Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in Quantum Computing

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the field of computing by solving certain problems exponentially faster than classical computers. While quantum computing offers exciting possibilities, it also introduces new challenges and vulnerabilities in the realm of cybersecurity.

One of the most well-known threats posed by quantum computing is Shor’s algorithm. Shor’s algorithm can efficiently factor large numbers, which has significant implications for public key cryptography. Public key cryptographic systems, such as RSA and ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography), rely on the difficulty of factoring large numbers for their security. Quantum computers, with their ability to perform certain calculations exponentially faster, could break these cryptographic systems, compromising the confidentiality and integrity of encrypted communications.

Quantum computers, like classical computers, may be susceptible to various forms of malware, including quantum Trojans. Quantum Trojans could manipulate quantum computations and compromise the security of quantum algorithms. Additionally, side-channel attacks, which exploit unintended information leakage during computation, could be adapted for quantum systems, posing a threat to quantum cryptographic implementations.

Technology Threat: Deepfake Proliferation

9 Emerging Technology Threats in 2024 - Adept IT Solutions | IT Service and Support Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast

Deepfakes, or artificially generated media that use artificial intelligence (AI) to create realistic but fabricated content, have proliferated rapidly in recent years, raising significant concerns across various domains. The increase of deepfakes presents as a technology threat in areas ranging from misinformation and disinformation to privacy and security.

Deepfakes have been exploited for the creation of misleading or entirely fabricated content, contributing to misinformation and disinformation campaigns. Political figures, celebrities, and public figures have been targeted in deepfake content, leading to concerns about the potential impact on public perception, trust, and legitimacy.

The rapid evolution of deepfake technology has outpaced regulatory frameworks and countermeasures. The lack of clear regulations and accountability measures makes it challenging to address the malicious use of deepfakes effectively. Policymakers are grappling with the need to strike a balance between freedom of expression and preventing the harmful effects of deepfake proliferation.

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