2019 is gone and a new decade is in sight. 2020 is said to be a year that will bring on many changes in many different realms, but what does that mean for cybersecurity? With the rapid advancements in technology come better, more sophisticated tactics for cybercrime, and in return, pressing demand for innovative cybersecurity solutions.
Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated than ever, finding and exploiting vulnerabilities wherever they can. These crimes cost the global economy around $45 billion in damages in 2018 alone, and likely much more in 2019. Hence, it is no surprise that spending on cybersecurity solutions will likely exceed $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021. So what kind of cyber threats can we predict for 2020, and how can we protect ourselves from them?
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be highly implemented
The increase of reliance on AI in cybersecurity allows companies to become more bulletproof against cyberattacks than ever before. As machine-learning technologies will be highly used, they will recognize weaknesses and prevent attacks in ways never been used before.
But, unfortunately, cybersecurity companies will not be the only ones taking advantage of the growing availability of AI technologies. Cybercriminals will have the opportunity to come up with more sophisticated (and thereby dangerous) types of attacks. We can expect to see higher instances of highly-intelligent impersonation of users, as their email and social media communication style will be highly analyzed and replicated in order to increase credibility.
With AI, attacks will occur faster and on a much larger scale. Moreover, they will be more tailored, effective, and nearly impossible to detect by traditional cyber solutions. Thus, it is imperative to get advanced AI-powered cybersecurity solutions, such as the new ZoneAlarm Extreme Security.
2. Ransomware will keep on shining
Ransomware — Every person and organization’s cyber nightmare — is expected to stick around with us throughout the next decade. With a large pool of codes available, low barriers to entry, fairly easy execution, and high ROIs, ransomware attacks aren’t going anywhere. In fact, in 2019, the number of ransomware attacks doubled and the number of new ransomware groups increased by 25%. This goes to prove that this cybercrime’s demand is not just high, but growing exponentially. In fact, Ransomware affected 4 US cities (including New Orleans) just this past December alone, costing them millions in damages. So how do you protect yourself? Install a strong anti-ransomware software such as ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware, which recently won PCMag’s Editors’ Choice for 2019.
3. Higher targeting a wider variety of electronic devices
Ever heard of a vacuum takeover? How about controlling smoke detectors remotely? Yes, technology has made it possible for hackers to hack just about any electronic device. One might wonder “why should I care if my pet/baby cam gets hacked? If they really want to share pictures of me sitting on the couch eating popcorn, they can go ahead!” but hackers are after something very specific, and it does not involve your baby or dog. Let’s say it’s your mom’s birthday and you call your florist to order her a bouquet home. When you read our credit card numbers to them, often followed by your name and address, guess what? Any technological device around with a mic gets it as well.
2020 will bring a higher use of these advanced devices, as hackers look for easier-to-target ways to your money. IoT devices will grow by nearly 80% in the next year, making the number of these probable attacks likely high.
4. Everything will be in the cloud (as will our heads)
More and more individuals and businesses are transferring their data to the cloud in order to avoid reliance on hardware storage alone, have greater location accessibility options, and easily share files among employees. In 2020, we can expect these numbers to soar. But this shift to the cloud isn’t all dandy; the cloud is still considered new technology, and if not properly protected, it can be more prone to hacking. A prominent cause of cloud breach is password protection. People tend to use the same password for everything, and if the password is easy to crack, like “password” or “abc12345” as a password, the attacker not only has access to your Gmail account now, they have access to your entire life on the cloud. Another scenario that makes cloud hacking possible is mistakenly downloading malicious files that seem innocent and grant the hacker access to your device/accounts.
As we can see, although the move to the cloud makes life a whole lot easier, it opens its doors to an array of cyber threats on a higher magnitude than ever before, as hackers gain access to practically everything in one central location. For example, this past November 1.2 billion records were found exposed on a single cloud server. For these reasons, it is crucial to use secure cloud services, strong passwords, and install phishing protection on your devices. A good one to try is ZoneAlarm Web Secure Free, a Chrome extension that protects your devices from entering and inserting your credentials in phishing sites and downloading malicious files.
5. 5G network threats will be increased
5G technologies are taking off in 2020 and are expected to change the tech game dramatically. The keyword: speed. Everything –and I mean everything– will become much faster. But with this great change comes a great opportunity—for hackers. But it isn’t the security of the 5G networks that causes all the havoc, on the contrary, 5G technology has better verification of users and stronger encryption data than ever before. Integrating IoT devices (as previously discussed) not equipped yet to handle advanced attacks (and are harder to update like smartphones and computers) leaves vulnerabilities wide and open. New technologies are a better target for hackers than well-established ones as they tend to pose greater vulnerabilities, and 5G is no different.
2020, without a doubt, will be the year for great changes in tech. As you enjoy the fruit of these cutting-edge technologies, remember to stay safe, and never simply assume you’re protected. You can apply best practices when it comes to your online security, like selecting two-factor authentication and using hard-to-crack passwords. In addition, getting a comprehensive security software such as ZoneAlarm Extreme Security for your PC and mobile is essential. It will protect you against zero-day attacks with advanced features, such as zero-phishing, anti-ransomware, threat extraction, and more, along with traditional yet powerful security features such as antivirus and firewall.