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Top 4 Emerging Cybersecurity Challenges in 2025: 5G, AI, IoT and Phishing

6 June 2024

It's a tough reality, but cyber attacks aren't letting up any time soon. In fact, expect them to increase exponentially in the coming year.

Back in 2018, the global cybercrime cost was $0.86 trillion. Fast forward to 2023; it went up 13x to $11.5 trillion and is projected to hit $14.57 trillion in 2025. This makes sense because new technologies keep popping up. While they make life easier in several ways, they also bring in a new set of vulnerabilities and attack vectors for cybercriminals to exploit.

But you don’t have to worry because today’s guide has you covered. You’ll learn some cybersecurity challenges to expect in 2025 and how you can keep yourself protected:

1. 5G security concerns

5G comes with an entirely different architecture, which makes it better than the older 3G/4G networks. This architecture is called network slicing and it promises better speed, reliability, and performance. But splicing is a double-edged sword. It also makes 5G riskier and more vulnerable to security threats in various ways.

For starters, slicing works by dividing a single physical 5G network into smaller virtual networks, called “slices.” Each slice can have its own settings and features, depending on its use case. For example, a slice of online gaming can have high speed and low latency, while a slice for medical devices can have more security and reliability.

This way, 5G can connect more devices & data, and serve even more purposes than the older generations did. With so many endpoints, the attack surface naturally expands. This means attackers now have more prime targets to exploit.

Another potential threat is this. Suppose one slice has a security breach. Hackers may then launch cross-slice attacks to potentially disrupt other slices as well. This affects the integrity of the entire network.

Furthermore, the cybersecurity threats might come from the technologies underpinning the slicing architecture, including Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

Both software work with a centralized controller—an SDN controller for SDN and an orchestrator for the NFV. A centralized controller means there’s a single point of failure. Thus, if hackers compromise the controllers via eavesdropping or ransomware attacks, for instance, they can take over the whole network.

So, as you can see, 5G is not as safe as it seems. But there are some things you can do to protect yourself and your devices from these security risks.

For one, choose a trusted 5G network provider. Ensure they have good security policies and practices and that they follow the relevant standards and regulations. Also, be sure to use a VPN service when you use 5G to mask your online data and activities, whether via your business or personal devices. Trust.Zone VPN is an option you can consider.

As a final tip, hire skilled professionals with top security certifications for your business. They’ll help you deal with security incidents that may arise in your corporate systems and create a comprehensive corporate cybersecurity strategy.

2. AI and Machine Learning attacks

Here’s something you should understand about AI and machine learning models. They work based on data, algorithms, and computations. Essentially, they learn from data and do many things humans can do, but better and faster.

But this is where the problem lies. Threat actors can also take advantage of this functionality to develop AI-powered malware. This malware is even more dangerous than the traditional ones because it can be more stealthy and adaptive. For instance, it might be able to analyze the code behind a wide range of antivirus programs and learn how to evade detection or removal by security tools.

That said, cyber attackers can also create deepfakes with these models. Deepfakes are fake images or videos that look real and can fool people. So, cyber attackers can easily impersonate you or a public figure to carry out financial fraud.

How can you protect yourself from these attacks?

You should also be careful and critical of what you see online, especially if it looks too good or bad to be true. Tools like Intel's real-time deepfake detector or Sentinel can also help you avoid falling victim to deepfakes.

Also, use antivirus and anti-malware software to help you block and detect malware. At an organizational level, consider using enterprise-level AI security systems like DarkTrace or Vectra AI to detect and stop cyber attacks in real-time.

3. IoT security challenges

The number of IoT cyberattacks grew exponentially from 32 million in 2018 to 112 million cases in 2023. Expect this number to grow even further in 2024. You’re probably asking why. The simple answer is due to increased 5G adoption.

With 5G, you can connect more IoT devices simultaneously than what 4G offers. As a result, the attack surface increases and there are more devices to target with cyber threats.

Sadly, IoT devices are also making things easy for cyber threat actors because they’re usually not designed with security in mind. Most devices come with hard-coded passwords that are very easy to guess. Another kicker is that 98% of data transmitted via IoT devices is unencrypted. Finally, there are always little to no security updates available to many of them.

When hackers hack into your IoT, they can cause harm in various ways.

For one, they can combine your device with a group of other hacked smart devices, called botnets. With a botnet, cybercriminals can target other websites with a DDoS attack (Distributed Denial of Service) to shut them down.

Also, these hackers can use your IoT devices to spy on you or steal your personal information through lateral movement. For example, they can hack into your smart lights initially. Then, they carry out reconnaissance to hack into other devices, say your smart camera, and use them to watch and record you.

You don’t have to panic. Just take your security seriously. Use a VPN with DDoS protection, which encrypts your connections and keeps you protected on the web. Make sure you’re intentional about the IoT provider you go for. Research whether they have robust cybersecurity measures, such as encryptions. Also, they should allow you to change passwords. And when you change your password, make sure it’s something no one can easily guess.

From your research, you should also find out if the provider offers regular software and firmware updates. That way, you’ll be sure you’re in safe hands.

4. Phishing attacks

Phishing is a social engineering attack that involves sending fraudulent messages or emails that appear to come from a legitimate source, say a bank. This is to trick recipients into:

With so many emerging technologies, expect these criminals to be more sophisticated and creative in their tactics in 2024. Thanks to these, cyber attackers can now analyze vast amounts of data, from social presence to other activities. As a result, they can easily tailor phishing messages and websites to individual victims and make them more believable.

This is why you always have to be suspicious of unsolicited or unexpected messages. Don’t open or reply to messages you don’t recognize or seem spammy.

You also need to stop revealing important details on social media. For example, you might think simply mentioning your location or date of birth on social media is harmless. But with this, criminals can launch spear phishing, making the messages seem like they’re close to you and making it easier to scam you.

And if you receive an email or message that claims to be from a reputable source, take your time to verify. Contact the source via another channel, like a phone call, to confirm their identity.


Cybercrimes keep gaining ground day by day. In fact, in 2024-2025, expect to face major threats such as 5G cybersecurity challenges, AI and ML attacks, IoT security challenges, and phishing attacks.

About the author: 

Nico Prins is the founder of Crunch Marketing, a SaaS link building agency. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally across EMEA, APAC, and other regions.