The evolution of cyber threats over the last decade

The evolution of cyber threats over the last decade - Cybergate your cyber security partner

The evolution of cyber threats over the last decade


A close look at the evolution of cyber threats over the last decade.

Over the last decade we have witnessed a continuous transformation in both the nature and sophistication of cyber threats. Individuals, small businesses, conglomerates, and governments alike were and are increasingly still faced with challenging threats in various domains. Malware attacks, complex ransomware campaigns and well-planned social engineering phishing attacks form the backbone of the cyber threat landscape.

Emergence of AI-powered cyber threats

Great advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence in general had a profound impact on cyber threats. Cyber attackers are harnessing AI technology to narrowly target their attacks, to automate their cyber criminal tasks and to evade detection layers. The latest trends in the artificial intelligence cyber threats space include AI-Powered phishing attacks, deep-fake scam and automated vulnerability exploitation.

Increased sophistication of Malicious Software (Malware)

Over the past ten years, we experienced the evolution from basic viruses and worms to highly sophisticated ransomware, spyware and advanced persistent threats (APTs). These malware are created, by design, to disrupt operations, steal data and extort funds from those falling victim. Modern malware became increasingly hard to detect (and mitigate) because of the use of encryption, obfuscation techniques, and polymorphic code.

Rise of Nation-state cyber attacks

A notable development in the cyber security sphere over the past decade is definitely the rise of nation-state-sponsored cyber attacks. Such attacks are carried out for espionage, and to sabotage critical infrastructure (namely in the energy, health, telecoms, oil and gas, and transportation sectors).

Nation-State Cyber Attacks are often also conducted to influence geo-political events. State-sponsored cyber attacks pose significant challenges to both cybersecurity professionals and policymakers alike. Practical incidents worth mentioning are the Stuxnet worm which had as its target Iran’s nuclear programme and the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 USA presidential election.

Sharp increase in IoT threats and supply chain attacks.

Internet of Things (IoT) devices have spiked in popularity along the years. That is a fact. Insecure IoT devices have become a top target for hackers organising large-scale botnet attacks. Other common reasons why IoT devices are hacked include, to compromise home networks and to conduct surveillance. In 2016, The Mirai botnet attack made the headlines – this attack exploited vulnerable IoT devices to launch massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Since a few years, supply chain attacks have become the order of the day with black hat hackers targeting software vendors and service providers including MSPs to infiltrate trusted networks and distribute malicious code. High-profile incidents like the SolarWinds supply chain attack have demonstrated the far-reaching impact of compromising a single trusted entity in a supply chain. Such attacks showcase the importance of regular vulnerability assessments and pen tests.

Organisations and individuals must remain vigilant, adopt best practices in cybersecurity hygiene, and stay informed about emerging threats to effectively mitigate risks. Through cyber awareness training employees and key stakeholders get to understand the evolving tactics of cyber criminals. Moreover by investing in robust vulnerability management products, one can better protect the owned digital assets and data.

    We are here to help


    francesco mifsud cybergate your cyber security partner
    Francesco Mifsud
    [email protected]

    I live and breathe cyber security and everything else in the discipline. With around a decade of experience in the industry I have had the opportunity to develop skills in penetration testing, cloud security, reverse engineering & exploit development, application security engineering, management and organisation-wide cyber security strategy. I hold a well-rounded set of security certifications such as OSCP, eWPTX and CISSP and have delivered training & workshops at some of the most prestigious hacking conferences such as DEF CON, BRU CON, BSides London and BSides Manchester.