The Biggest 2020 Cybersecurity Threats

Caleb Townsend
Staff Writer United States Cybersecurity Magazine

Cybersecurity threats, as we discussed in our recent 2019 data breach article, were a huge problem in 2019. Within the first 6 months, Forbes reported that 2019 yielded 3,800 publicly disclosed breaches, a 52% increase from 2018’s first 6 months. 2019 saw data breaches in every sector, from financial and healthcare, to government and entertainment.

Indeed, cybersecurity threats will continue to be a problem going into 2020, one that has no easy, silver-bullet solution. However, it’s important for organizations to know what to watch for. Despite the ever evolving nature of cyber threats, the same basic tactics and principals apply every year. The tactics simply focus on new sectors and technologies. These are the cybersecurity threats that companies should watch our for in 2020.

Emerging Technologies

Cybersecurity threats in 2020 will target a plethora of emerging technologies. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and 5G will likely vastly affect and impact the cybersecurity landscape next year. AI, for example will likely be huge in 2020. In the very least, many vendors will claim they are using AI. However, as the technology becomes more widely implemented and accessible, more and more security threats will appear as algorithmic biases lead to security blind-spots.

5G will also bring in new cybersecurity threats. The adoption of 5G will be uniformly widespread and attack surfaces will increasing accordingly. After all, the higher bandwidth will allow hackers to launch wider and more powerful attacks that can cause more damage. Additionally, the opportunities for cyberattacks will increase, because 5G is the conversion to an all software network. Software comes with many cybersecurity vulnerabilities, so this will call for a reassessment of our security methods and structure.

Cloud Storage

Many companies migrated their data and information to the Cloud in 2019, assuming that this would help mitigate cybersecurity threats. However, simply moving your data to the Cloud does not guarantee that your data is safer in any manner. After all, one of the largest 2019 breaches, the Capital One breach, occurred when a hacker infiltrated the servers of a third-party Cloud computing company that Capital One used. This breach resulted in 106 million records exposed, and that will not be an isolated incident.

Indeed, in 2020, Cloud Jacking will likely become a more prominent cybersecurity threat due to the increased use of Cloud Computing. The infrastructure of Cloud security is going to increase in complexity as the attacks on Cloud services also grow more complex. In fact, in 2020, security will likely be one of the main deciding factors as to which third-party Cloud service organizations will go with.

Internet of Things

A report from Fortune Business indicates that the Internet of Things (IoT) market will reach $1.1 trillion by 2026. To say that IoT is gonna be huge is an understatement. The majority of people know what smart devices are and many own such devices. Google is practically giving away free Google Home Minis. However, the widespread implementation of IoT devices will usher in a larger amount of cybersecurity threats.

After all, these new IoT Devices will often be in their infancy, as companies roll them out as fast as possible. These devices will increase the attack surface with risks and vulnerabilities that come with any new technology in their early stages. Additionally, security experts don’t have time to develop new strategies to keep up with all the new devices. It’s not just phones that will function as smart devices. Everything from blenders and Brita filters to baby changing pads and washing machines will be connected to apps, collecting your data, and vulnerable to cybersecurity threats.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are the bread and butter of cybersecurity threats. With all of the security gaps from this new technology, cyber-criminals are absolutely going to take the opportunity to launch phishing attacks on all platforms. Many schools and places of work fell victim to spear phishing attacks in 2019.

Phishing may be an old cybersecurity threat. However, it will continue to persist in 2020 due to the sheer effectiveness of phishing attacks. In Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Digest Report, they reported that “90 percent of the data-loss incidents the team investigates have a “phishing or social engineering component” to them”. Indeed, many data breaches begin with a phishing campaign. After all, it only takes one employee clicking a phony leak to undermine an entire organization’s security efforts.

Deepfakes

We have written before on Deepfake technology, and the implications of them. Many people fear that we will start to see malicious uses of deepfakes grow into a massive cybersecurity threat. Some possibilities include deepfake phishing campaigns, attempts to influence the 2020 election, deepfake-as-a-service companies with bad security, and using deepfakes to commit fraud through synthetic identities. It will be important for the public to maintain a healthy skepticism in the face of fabricated videos. Deepfakes are going to make phishing attempts a lot more convincing, and may end up costing organizations a lot of money in 2020.

Conclusion

2020 cybersecurity threats are going to be challenging, weird, and intense. Data breaches have not shown any sign of slowing down, and a slew of new technologies will prove to be challenging. We will need skilled professionals and average individuals with basic cyber hygiene to come together. Strategy will need to be planned in advance and be active, not reactive. However, you, the average user, must also do your part in making sure you can spot phishing attempts. Additionally, you must implement MFA and strong passwords, as well as keep companies accountable when your data is mishandled.

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