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Top Cybersecurity Threat Predictions For 2020

Published: June 13, 2020 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

Without the help of a crystal ball, some security experts take stock of the past twelve months and make predictions about cybersecurity challenges for the year ahead. WatchGuard Threat Lab looked at the cyber-puzzle pieces of 2019 and put together a picture of what we’ll expect to see in 2020. Last year’s threat landscape provides insight into what we can expect this year and gives individuals and organizations a “heads up” about their own cybersecurity.

 Ransomware Takes Aim at Cloud Security

Ransomware, the source behind epic attacks on industries worldwide, will increase its attacks on cloud-based security. Industries like healthcare and state and local government services have long been in the crosshairs of what is now a billion-dollar industry for hackers. Last year, cloud services became a ripe target for ransomware and an escalation in these attacks is expected in 2020. Along with victims in vulnerable industries, the malware is expected to target trusted cloud-based services like file storage and S3 storage buckets.

Data Protection Laws Created

Last year, the State of California passed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). As the U.S. continues to struggle with protecting data and privacy rights of individuals, it’s predicted that more states will create legislation dealing with data protection and privacy this year. Security experts look to the legislation created by the European Union (EU) to protect the data privacy of its citizens. The EU created the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2016. The GDPR imposed strict rules and massive fines for those entities that don’t comply with the legislation. Rather than creating official U.S. regulation rules for data, experts believe that 2020 will see ten or more states pass their own version of the CCPA.

Multi-factor Authentication as Standard Operating Procedure

Predictions for this coming year show mid-sized companies taking the lead using multi-factor authentication (MFA). After scores of attacks on businesses were due to compromised and unverified identities, security professionals acknowledge the need for vast improvement. Thanks to advancements in technology and acute awareness of the issue paving the way, MFA for mid-size companies will be the norm and not the exception this year. With 65% of small-to-medium sized businesses closing their doors after their first cyberattack, the stakes couldn’t be higher. This year, MFA will lead the way with identity verification, including for vendors and other service providers.

Shortage of Cybersecurity Professionals

The shortage of candidates for cybersecurity job openings will increase by 15% this year. Higher learning and other types of cybersecurity education are not producing enough qualified candidates to fill the increasing need for data security professionals. In a field that’s growing exponentially, there has been little done in recruitment and education tactics that will allow the shortage to be filled. Recent studies show nearly three million cybersecurity jobs were unfilled in 2018, and 75% of companies say the shortage lessened their security abilities. The lack of qualified professionals will continue this year and security experts know the demand will keep increasing.

Increased Attacks on 2020 Election Voting

From the remnants of the 2016 US elections comes the prediction that threat actors will again target state and local data bases in the 2020 elections. The objective in 2016 was to create voter fraud suspicions and foster the belief that voting security assurance no longer exists. Emboldened by their success, bad actors are expected to step-up their attacks this election year. Although the actual voting results were not altered in 2016, this year will see attacks against voter registration systems that make registering to vote more difficult.

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