As the first month of the new year quickly approaches its end, the cybersecurity predictions that we made at the end of 2019 are slowly, but surely, starting to take their form. Having said that, however, when we take into account the rampancy of ransomware and cyber-attacks throughout the course of 2019, the need for better cybersecurity measures within organizations and enterprises becomes even more apparent.

On the contrary to the commonly-held belief that cybersecurity is applicable only to IT companies, as the world around us becomes increasingly digitized with each passing day- cybersecurity implementation becomes an even more pressing concern that directly influences an arsenal of industries and sectors.

Additionally, it is also worth mentioning that the cybersecurity practices that an organization has employed also play a key part in the rather tumultuous relationship that enterprises have with data regulatory laws. The extremely fine line that companies tread on with data regulation, is further made evident by the fact that only last year, massive organizations such as Marriott International and British Airways have been issued record-breaking fines for a failure to comply with GDPR regulation.

As demonstrated by the examples that we’ve linked above, the consequences of taking cybersecurity lightly can be serious enough to topple gigantic companies to the ground, or at the very least, severely damage the organization’s security and business infrastructure. Among one of the most pivotal steps that an enterprise can take is to simply prepare ahead.

In order to play our part in aiding organizations to fill in the security gap created by flawed cybersecurity practices, by predicting for the years ahead based on predictions rooted in current trends and patterns in the cybersecurity world. Having said that, here are some of our expectations for the state of cybersecurity in 2020.

Ransomware Attacks are Expected to Increase in Sophistication:

Looking back at the consistent increase in the number of ransomware attacks over the course of the past couple of years, it becomes quite reasonable for cybersecurity experts to expect the number of ransomware attacks to increase in 2020 as well.

Moreover, it is highly likely that ransomware and phishing attacks are going to evolve, and consequently become highly complex and sophisticated, which makes the process of combating them even more difficult for an enterprise’s security team. The primary reason behind the increasing sophistication of ransomware and phishing attacks is that now, hackers and other cybercriminals have a highly intricate arsenal of technologies at their disposal, which includes everything from artificial intelligence to machine learning.

On their quest to wreak as much damage as possible, cybercriminals utilize new attack vectors that enable them to propagate the attack on a much deeper level. With the expansion in the Internet of Things, and the interconnectedness through which devices can communicate with each other, the attack vectors available to hackers consist of a varying group of devices, including everything from a smart refrigerator to a smartphone. To overcome this problem, use a VPN and secure yourself from snooping eyes.

Out of all the devices linked to each other on the IoT, we believe that the smartphone will arise as the most commonly employed attack vector, mainly because of how popular smartphones are today, with a whopping three billion users.

It is also worth noting that along with branching out on attack vectors, hackers are also expanding the organizations that they target with their ransomware and phishing attacks. As made evident by the recent news cycle, organizations such as airlines, banks, hospitals to governments have fallen prey to ransomware attacks. When we take into account the fact that these attacks are only going to increase, both in number and sophistication, it becomes apparent that cybersecurity defenses that we currently have in place fall short in combating the very real threat posed by ransomware.

If we hope to combat the massive threat posed by these ransomware and phishing attacks, organizations need to step up and conjure ways to beat hackers at their own game, simply by relying on modern technologies such as hyper-convergence and edge computing for the implementation of cybersecurity.

Additionally, it should also be mentioned the amalgamation of more modern technologies within an organization’s current security infrastructure, also enables an enterprise to uphold it’s business function as well, by allowing them to deal with the ever-changing consumer demands, along with deploying effective cybersecurity strategies against ransomware and phishing as well.

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The Overall Number of Cyberattacks is Predicted to Increase in 2020:

Perhaps the gravest mistakes that CISO’s and CSO’s can make is to expect that the rampant nature of cyberattacks is somehow magically going to slow down in 2020. Although it’s true that the cybersecurity world is slowly, surely formulating advanced strategies- the pacing of development is still excruciatingly slow, especially when we consider the ever-evolving nature of the threat landscape around us.

Quite on the contrary to the belief that cyberattacks are about to slow down in the coming years, cybercriminals are currently working on enhancing their TTP (tactics, techniques, and procedures) along with creating new TTP to exploit a wider group of victims, including businesses and governments as well.

Not only is the rampancy of cyberattacks a growing cause for concern, but it is also expected that threat actors will employ new attacks, which will further increase their chances of successfully propagating an attack. One such attack that we expect an alarming number of hackers to employ throughout the course of 2020 is lateral phishing.

Unlike regular phishing, lateral phishing sees a corporate email address being exploited and used to gain access to confidential data and assets. Furthermore, lateral phishing is extremely difficult to combat, since even the most security-conscious employee will be lulled into compromising their confidentiality when emailed by a hacker pretending to be a C-level executive.

Taking the rampant nature of cyberattacks into account, along with the futility of the current cybersecurity measures that organizations have in place today, the possibility of a cyberattack is no longer just that. Given the dire state of their security infrastructure and the severity of the threats facing enterprises, it might be high time for organizations to consider cyberattacks as a matter of when, rather than if. Once the urgency that the situation demands is realized by higher-ups in an organization, only then can enterprises hope to foster security.

With that said, some ways through which enterprises can improve their current cybersecurity infrastructure includes the following:

Increase Training:

Perhaps one of the most crucial steps that an organization can take in fostering cybersecurity, and creating a security-conscious environment is to simply increase awareness by training its employees.

In order to maintain and uphold the principles of cybersecurity in an organization in the long run, it is highly essential that companies realize the importance of basic IT and cybersecurity knowledge and the vast difference that it can make in making an organization secure.

Implementing Modern Technologies As Cybersecurity Solutions:

Although we’ve already mentioned this above, we believe that the only “correct” way to combat cybercrime is to beat cybercriminals at their own game. As breaches, ransomware and phishing attacks grow increasingly sophisticated, it is high time that the cybersecurity measures we’ve employed are equally complex and intricate.

As the IT world buzzes with articles and news about the wonders of AI, it would be extremely lucrative if security teams were to formulate cybersecurity solutions rooted in artificial intelligence and machine learning since both of those technologies have extensive benefits, when applied to cybersecurity.

Parting Words:

At the end of the article, we’d like to re-endorse what we’ve said before and cross our fingers with the hope that the expectations that we’ve had for 2020 are met aptly, and that we, as the gatekeepers against cybercrimes, are able to take security steps to ensure that our data, and consequently, our online lives are protected throughout the course of the new decade.