Introduction

As the digital world grows more prominent, Cybersecurity threats are increasing as well. A recent report states that global spending on cyber threats and security products and services is likely to exceed $1 trillion by 2021. Similarly, a Gartner report predicts a five-year CAGR growth of 8.5% in global information security, which is expected to reach $170.4 billion by 2022. While such forecasts are ominous for businesses, it presents an excellent opportunity for people looking to become Cybersecurity experts.

What are the Types of Cybersecurity threats?

Any type of malicious activity that attempts to steal, modify, or damage data is referred to as a Cybersecurity threat. The most common and biggest types of Cybersecurity threats known to businesses are computer viruses, data breaches, and Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. However, there are always new threats emerging in the Cybersecurity field. The current types of Cybersecurity threats are expected to fall under these three categories:

  • Disruption: Over-dependence on weak connectivity produces a high potential for pre-planned internet outages strong enough to compromise business data and operations.
  • Distortion: Intentionally spreading misinformation using bots’ intelligence and automated sources that compromise business information integrity and trust.
  • Deterioration: Meteoric development in intelligent technologies and varying demands by national security and individual privacy that negatively impacts businesses’ access to information.
Organizations can manage these top Cybersecurity threats, if only they stay informed. Here, we present the list of top 20 Cybersecurity threats to be aware of in 2020.
  1. Sophisticated Phishing Attacks
  2. Evolved Ransomware Techniques
  3. Cloud Vulnerability
  4. ML-Based Attacks
  5. Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks
  6. Attacks on Healthcare Data Systems
  7. A Dearth of Cybersecurity Professionals
  8. Attacks Due to the Rise of 5G
  9. Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Cars
  10. Deepfake
  11. Cryptocurrency-based Attacks
  12. Synthetic Identity Attack
  13. AI Fuzzing
  14. Social Media Disinformation
  15. Malware Attacks
  16. Compliance, Regulations, and National Policies
  17. Internal Security Threats
  18. Remote Working
  19. Mobile-Related Phishing Attacks
  20. Password Attacks

20 Types of Cybersecurity threats to be aware of in 2020

1. Sophisticated Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks were earlier limited to messages with malicious links that have now become highly sophisticated. Attackers use intelligent technologies, such as Machine Learning (ML), to quickly draft and distribute convincing fake messages, hoping for recipients to unwittingly click on the hostile links. It compromises their user logins, credit card credentials, corporate details, and private databases.

2. Evolved Ransomware Techniques

One of the top 5 Cybersecurity threats is ransomware attacks. This type of Cybersecurity threat costs millions or even billions of funds to businesses, small and large alike. However, as corporations are launching smarter Cybersecurity plans to tackle ransomware attacks, hackers are also evolving their strategies and using similar advanced technologies to instigate cyberattacks.

3. Cloud Vulnerability

Yet another entry in the top Cybersecurity threats in 2020 is the cloud. As more and more enterprises leverage the scalable benefits of cloud to store, manage, and process big data, attackers target those infrastructures. Among many such threats, data breach, misconfiguration, insecure interfaces and APIs, account hijacking, malicious insider threats, and DDoS attacks are the topmost cloud security threats.

4. ML-Based Attacks

Any ML-powered system learns from data that has been sourced through surveys, social media platforms, and more. One of the 2020 Cybersecurity threats is attackers targeting these intelligent systems by injecting malicious data into them and compromising its entire stance. Cybercriminals engaging in ML poisoning make use of potential malicious samples to introduce backdoors or Trojans in the data training sets to compromise the system.

5. Internet of Things (IoT) Attacks

As per a study, there will nearly be 75 billion connected devices by 2025. More connected devices mean higher risk. Subsequently, IoT networks are vulnerable to emerging threats in Cybersecurity as hackers can potentially shut down or compromise all the connected devices once they hack into a system.

6. Attacks on Healthcare Data Systems

As the healthcare industry becomes digital and moves patients’ data to EMR, it will also open gates to specific threats in Cybersecurity. Hackers are relying on AI and ML to exploit the digital transformation of the medical field and compromise patients’ confidential healthcare records.

7. A Dearth of Cybersecurity Professionals

Although security threats in the cyber world have increased tenfold in the past few years, the rise in the number of Cybersecurity experts has not increased. Due to such disparity in the demand and supply of professionals, businesses are grappling with the largest Cybersecurity threats and top cyber-threats without proper guidance and knowledge.

8. Attacks Due to the Rise of 5G

As connectivity speed is increasing exponentially, recent Cybersecurity threats and attacks against the networks are rising as well. A study of 2019 reveals that 5G technology is likely to result in higher risks of cyberthreats on IoT networks. The same study also cites that the lack of security in 5G hardware and firmware is worrisome.

9. Connected Vehicles and Autonomous Cars

Technological advancements have allowed the public to leverage connected vehicles for their use. One of the top Cybersecurity threats of 2020 is attackers penetrating such sophisticated systems using advanced technologies to steal, damage, and modify vehicles’ driving history and location.

10. Deepfake

Deepfake combines Deep Learning with fake images or audio to morph the pictures and videos of celebrities and politicians online. Although this doesn’t look like a top 10 Cybersecurity threat, Deepfake is still a type of Cybersecurity threat that aids in spreading the wrong information to the public.

11. Cryptocurrency-Based Attacks

Cryptocurrencies are mined, and they require an immense amount of computing process power. Hence, hackers hijack the third-party home or work networks to mine cryptocurrencies, making money by secretly using someone else’s systems. For businesses, crypto-jacked systems cause performance issues and costly downtime.

12. Synthetic Identity Attack

A form of identity fraud, synthetic identity is used by a scammer to mix real and fabricated details on digital platforms to attack individuals and businesses. Such scams often lead to misinformation and misguidance, possibly resulting in loss of monetary funds or confidential data.

13. AI Fuzzing

The latest Cybersecurity threat, AI fuzzing, makes use of recent technologies to detect an organization’s vulnerabilities. Although fuzzing is useful for businesses to pinpoint their systems’ faults, it is also a Cybersecurity threat as attackers can use it for zero-day attacks. 

14. Social-Media Disinformation

Fake news on digital platforms is the biggest Cybersecurity threat of 2020. Be it general elections or ‘misguided’ info, social media disinformation leads to many people believing in the news that is not true.

15. Malware Attacks

This is one of the top security threats in the cyber world that is likely to grow further in 2020. Attackers are pushing sophisticated high intelligence malware attacks on corporations more than ever before. File-less malware attacks that execute malicious code by piggybacking on legitimate software are continuing an upward trajectory along with stalker were and spyware that tracks smartphone data to generate a big-picture view of user activities.

16. Compliance, Regulations, and National Policies

Nations have formulated regulations for businesses’ use of customer data. When these policies change overnight, organizations are left with limited time to comply with the modifications. Often, deviation from such national data compliance and regulations lead to hefty fines for enterprises.

17. Internal Security Threats

Not all security threats in the cyber world come from external sources; some are born within the organization. As employees have access to confidential business data and information, they are likely to fall prey to all the attacks mentioned above, either intentionally or unintentionally. 

18. Remote Working

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, many businesses began working remotely but couldn’t prepare well for such a change from the Cybersecurity side. Although comfortable and safe for employees, remote working is a threat to business data as home networks are relatively less secure than corporate networks.

One of the biggest Cybersecurity threats of 2020 is related to mobile and its application. SMS-phishing is highly responsible for mobile attacks, as receiving texts is quite normal. It is relatively difficult to track the scheme back to a specific incident, making it difficult to warn others about the scam.

20. Password Attacks

Many organizations do not change their database and other passwords regularly, which is a concern. The non-expired passwords file becomes a treasure trove for attackers as they hack enterprises and use the same age-old passwords to enter their systems.

Conclusion

Security threats are evolving, as the Cybersecurity world gears up to fight sophisticated phishing and malware attacks. However, even today, the conventional way of attacking corporations has not been lost. While enterprises may be focusing on advanced technologies to thwart the biggest Cybersecurity threats, hackers might rely on simple methods to get away with the data. Hence, along with the knowledge of Cybersecurity threats of 2020, professionals who work in the Cybersecurity landscape must also be aware of fundamentals to fight these top Cybersecurity threats.

HackerU and Jigsaw Academy’s Cybersecurity program encompasses the old, new, and emerging Cybersecurity concepts for learners to stay ahead in the game, while not losing their touch with the basics. The Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) allows you to work on offensive technologies on the simulated interface, prepare for the real threats in virtual environments, and get successfully placed at the end of the program.

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