6 Cybersecurity predictions for 2020
2019 was an intense year for cybersecurity. The digital community witnessed some of history’s worst security incidents. Internet restrictions and shutdowns became the new norm for some governments as a way to strengthen their authority.
Daniel Markuson, the digital privacy expert at NordVPN, points out that even though last year wasn’t easy, media brought cybersecurity into the spotlight. “Thanks to various news outlets, consumers, CEOs, and influential decision-makers were forced to hear more about digital literacy. Now, it’s up to them to learn the lesson and get prepared for new challenges.”
Every year, digital privacy experts at NordVPN assess cybersecurity trends. From different hacker motivations to advanced technological developments — these are the top six that made New Year’s security prediction list.
- Data breaches will continue making daily news headlines and will hit a new high. 2019 saw a record number of cyberattacks — they grew by 33 percent compared to 2018. Now, healthcare is at the risk of becoming the most breached sector. These organizations deal with great amounts of sensitive data but often fail to apply the latest security standards. Misconfigured databases and backups will be the leading reasons for successful hacker attacks. Hackers will get more creative, using complex social engineering techniques on potential victims. A significant increase in business email compromise and ransomware is predicted too.
- New mobile malware trends will appear. Last year, it was Simjacker attacks taking advantage of a vulnerability found in SIM cards. In 2020, there will definitely be new techniques applied to steal data from handheld devices. For example, Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new messaging standard designed to replace SMS, is pretty easy to hack. Cybercriminals can exploit the technology to track users and compromise their location data. So this year, we’ll hear more about RCS text messages and calls getting intercepted. The tendencies also show we’ll see a spike in mobile payment scams and frauds.
- Cybercriminals will use artificial intelligence to scale their attacks. For example, the deepfake technology will be exploited in social engineering scams. This year saw the first noted instance of fraudsters using AI to mimic a voice in a scam. The audio deepfake was convincing enough to scam a CEO out of $243,000. Deepfakes will be the next frontier for financial fraud, hoaxes, and fake news. The number of the latter is bound to skyrocket whenever government elections are drawing close. And this year promises a great deal of them.
- There will be more than 80 elections held all over the world in 2020. It’s not hard to predict that both politicians and hackers will try to meddle with voters’ choices. The US presidential election will be under the magnifying glass as we have already seen the trust of Americans exploited to sway their votes. We should expect new stories about foreign and local actors interfering with the election and other stunts designed to shake public confidence. Thus, voters should stay vigilant and double-check all the news coming their way.
- There will definitely be more and stricter data privacy laws passed by governments around the world. For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act went into action on January 1, 2020, giving consumers more control over their data. The law provides people with unprecedented rights to control what information companies collect about them and how they use it. This year, more and more companies will be forced to take measures to protect their customer data or face the consequences as German Telecom did. Last year, the corporation was fined €9.5M for GDPR violations.
- Internet surveillance, censorship, and restrictions are becoming the new norm for some governments in their fight against political unrest. So we’ll be seeing further network shutdowns around the globe. Last year, we saw internet outages in Venezuela, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Iran, and many other countries. Also, a law introducing new controls on the internet to make it more state-controlled came into force in Russia in 2019. It means that the officials will be able to cut off connections to the world wide web if they see an emergency.