A new year means it is time to deal with old and new cyber threats. 2020 will bring many technological developments, but expert opinions vary on which of these will be leveraged by hackers, if any. Cybercriminal practice has been to rely on different versions of the same technique until enough victims become wise to the vulnerabilities that allow it.
Yet the new decade may very well be a time of escalating cyber attack brought on the proliferation of new technology. Additionally (or maybe consequently), public demand for greater data security controls is creating a greater incentive for business to put more effort into their cyber defense strategy.
Here are nine cybersecurity trends to keep an eye on in 2020:
Personal Information and Data Privacy
California’s CCPA and New York’s SHIELD Act have made waves in the data privacy discussion, as each of these laws emulates the comprehensive protections of the EU’s GDPR. Their passage comes as momentum is building among politicians and the public to pressure businesses to put more effort into securing personal data. This conservation is likely to heat up further in 2020.
AI Bias, Deepfakes, and Machine Learning in Cybersecurity
There are many predictions on how AI will be used for either cyber attack or defense, but the real-world applications are still technically theoretical, with only a few shocking but rare (proven) examples. Ironically, human influence keeps artificial intelligence’s ability to execute imperfect by leading to AI bias, and both hackers and security professionals will spend the next year learning how to overcome this.
Automated Systems and Robotics Security
Manufacturing and industrial control systems have always represented a supply chain vulnerability, but the introduction of robotics automation may bring new security gaps to address. Hackers may exploit diminishing human oversight to silently breach these automated networks and attack central command points in the production space.
Open Connections – 5G, IoT and Cloud Networks
The implementation of the fifth generation of wireless networks (AKA 5G) has raised alarm bells in cybersecurity circles. Many of these warnings reinforce the concerns already present about the faster and more open connectivity of Internet of Things (IoT) and “As-a-service” cloud-capable devices. However, 5G networks will potentially expand the scale of the threat with an attack surface that includes every connected device in your vicinity.
Mobile Device Security Threats
5G also presents new dangers for smartphones and tablets, as the speed at which this technology is being deployed may outpace the ability to secure mobile endpoints. A growing concern is that hackers will uncover one or more critical native mobile device vulnerabilities and break into otherwise protected networks at a greater rate in 2020.
Ransomware is certainly not new, but trends indicate veteran hacker groups are refining their tactics as well as their technology when it comes to fil encryption. Ryuk, SamSam and other newer file-locking malware types reflect the evolution of ransom schemes to a targeted model that requires deep research, profiling and creativity in execution.
Cyber Cold War
Against a backdrop of rising global tensions, some cybersecurity professionals worry that these emerging technologies will help escalate a new Cold War, but one that revolves around a cyber attack. Cyber warfare provides many political and tangible advantages, and can cause significant harm to an enemy while still being cost-effective for the aggressor.
Cybersecurity Collaboration and Shared Responsibility
By now, everyone has heard that cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and this approach will only become more integral to future security strategies. CCPA, SHIELD, and whatever comes after will also reinforce a building momentum towards organizational and vendor security across several industries.
Hackers Will Rely on the Same Tricks for Now
Despite all of the above, the biggest trend being observed right now is that hackers are still refining existing techniques instead of immediately adopting new ones. Ransomware, phishing and more common attack methods remain the preferred choice of most cybercriminals, for now.
Protect Your Business with SMB Security Best Practices
Emerging technologies will still be more complex, harder to obtain and easier to track than the proven tools hackers already had in their arsenal in 2019. Until the resources available provide more reward than risk, cybercrime will continue to focus on exploiting human error for at least the beginning of 2020.
Download our Essential Cybersecurity Toolkit for SMBs e-book to discover the best practices that will keep your business protected in the new year.