HomeMalware & ThreatsZcaler ThreatLabz 2024 VPN Threat Report

Zcaler ThreatLabz 2024 VPN Threat Report

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In the evolving landscape of cybersecurity, the shift from traditional Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to more secure frameworks like zero trust has become imperative. The vulnerabilities exposed by VPNs due to their legacy architecture have prompted organizations to adopt more robust security measures to combat cyber threats effectively.

Recent high-profile exploits targeting VPN appliances, such as CVE-2023-46805, CVE-2024-21887, and CVE-2024-21893, have posed significant risks to essential sectors, including US defense. These vulnerabilities have raised concerns over the security of VPNs, leading the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to issue an emergency directive for federal agencies to disconnect affected VPN devices immediately.

The US government, through Executive Order 14028, has mandated the adoption of zero trust architectures to enhance cybersecurity, signaling a strategic shift away from traditional VPNs. This directive emphasizes the importance of verifying every access request regardless of its origin, moving towards a model that does not inherently trust any user or device inside or outside the network perimeter.

Organizations are quickly moving towards adopting zero trust models to prevent lateral movement within networks, a tactic often used by attackers to deepen their intrusion after gaining initial access. The shift to zero trust is seen as a more effective approach to counter the complex and evolving cyber threats faced by organizations.

A survey of 647 IT professionals and cybersecurity experts has highlighted the challenges and vulnerabilities associated with VPNs, indicating a growing frequency and sophistication of attacks targeting VPN infrastructures. The majority of organizations are planning to implement zero trust strategies in the next 12 months to address these concerns effectively.

The survey findings also reveal the growing concerns about VPN security, with 91% of respondents expressing worries about VPNs compromising their IT security environment. Ransomware, malware, and DDoS attacks are identified as the top threats exploiting VPN vulnerabilities, underscoring the broad risks organizations face due to the weaknesses in traditional VPN architectures.

The transition to zero trust architectures is seen as a key step in enhancing cybersecurity defenses, reducing the attack surface, enforcing least-privileged access policies, and improving user experience. By adopting zero trust principles, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with VPN vulnerabilities and bolster their security posture in an ever-changing threat landscape.

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