Without adequate security, hackers can cause chaos for businesses and their customers. And because this is such a vast and growing industry, the threats are also always on the move.

As 2022 gathers pace, it’s important to take stock of the state of cybersecurity today, so that we can predict where it might go in the months and years ahead. Let’s look at just a few predictions that will upset the applecart this year.

IoT devices will face more attention from both sides

The Internet of Things is made up of billions of connected devices, from household appliances to heavy machinery, and as 5G connectivity is rolled out more extensively, the security of these networked gadgets will come under scrutiny.

Hackers will continue to look for weak points in IoT equipment in order to subvert this hardware for all sorts of attacks. Meanwhile, businesses will want to see IoT security increased in order to justify their procurement strategies.

Tougher rules governing IoT security should help with this, and in general, there is an increased strictness of regulations across the board in this arena, with everything from private data usage to IAM compliance report generation encouraging organizations in every industry to batten down the hatches.

Ransomware will become more sophisticated

Ransomware remains a real problem for individuals and businesses, and experts fear that it could grow in its sophistication and complexity this year as more cybercriminals choose to leverage it to earn cash.

Malicious downloads that lock you out of valuable data, backed up by gangs that use high-pressure tactics to get you to pay up to retrieve it, can be avoided with the right training and adherence to cybersecurity best practices.

However, it is the infrastructure and professionalism of these hackers that is most worrying. Ransomware-as-a-Service is emerging along the same lines as legitimate cloud-based platforms, so added vigilance is a must.

Artificial intelligence will work its magic

The application of AI can solve all sorts of problems in different industries, and cybersecurity is no different. Researchers are turning to machine learning algorithms to allow software to adapt to evolving threats itself, rather than having to manually implement updates to patch flaws and defend against attacks.

Opportunities for AI-augmented hacking and malware to arrive on the scene this year are also pinpointed as a possibility. This would be worrying but does at least come at a time when the good guys are also arming themselves with similar technologies, rather than being caught unawares.

Social media subversion will fuel disruption

It is worth pointing out that cybercrime is not just about standalone attacks on individuals and organizations, but also the ways in which digital systems are subverted more generally to fulfill the aims and intentions of various groups.

Social media is particularly susceptible to exploitation in this way and has been a prime target for several years now during times when the public conversation is veering in different directions.

Fears that hacking groups, as well as foreign states, will use social media to disseminate false information and sow the seeds of dissent at all points on the political spectrum are very real and backed up by hard evidence.

As the pandemic continues into 2022 and various important elections loom on the horizon, security specialists at the major social services will be expected to come up with new ways to protect users from malicious posts and ensure that democracy is not eroded.

All of these predictions may sound scary, but the defenses available to modern internet users are getting stronger to match the threats that are out there.