The Top Cybersecurity Threats of 2020

Threats to cybersecurity are continually changing as technology becomes more advanced, and cyber criminals identify new ways to breach system security. No one is entirely safe from the possibility of a cyberattack, regardless of which industry you are in or the security measures you have in place. Data breaches are continually happening, in fact, at a rate of one every couple of seconds. Cybercriminals can invade systems on a global scale and are not limited to geographic location, making them even more dangerous to your business.

Do not let this scare you, though. Instead, use this information to ensure you’re familiar with the most common cybersecurity threats and have thorough protection in place. Often companies overlook hiring a cybersecurity expert for their team, which can be a mistake. Having some on staff that has comprehensive knowledge of cybersecurity threats and regulations due to taking a masters in cybersecurity is one of the best ways to keep your data safe. Installing an antivirus and password protection is often not enough to stop today’s highly advanced hackers. You need the knowledge from training, such as a masters in cybersecurity, and to fully understand the threats out there.

By staying up to date on trends in cybersecurity and taking a masters in cybersecurity, you’ll know what threats are out there and can equip your business to deal with them adequately. That could mean updating your protection software, educating your employees, and changing the way you store data. Here are the top cybersecurity threats of 2020.

Phishing is the most common cybersecurity threat that most people have experienced in some way, shape, or form. Last year, a whopping 78% of cybersecurity breaches were connected to phishing, which is projected to be even more this year. Phishing is a form of cyber espionage involving scamming individuals through fake emails and web sites. Phishing schemes collect the users’ credit card, banking, or password details and then use those to steal money or data.

They’ve been around for a while but are now more evolved and launching via cloud applications.

The reason they are so effective is due to a lack of education as these scams easily trick users. They will present themselves to look like a reliable and valid site or email, under a company name that you know and trust. Sometimes all it takes is clicking on a link within an email, and you’ve opened the gate to an unwanted visitor. With phishing now coming through cloud applications, it becomes even harder to identify. Employees often blindly trust their workplace cloud environments and wouldn’t even consider the risk of anything being fake. The best way you can prevent these types of scams is to hire an expert who has a masters in cybersecurity and can monitor for risks. At the very least, you must educate your employees on the dangers of phishing schemes and ways to identify them. However, a masters in cybersecurity is usually the best bet. You could choose to take a masters in cybersecurity yourself even!

Cloud Jacking
Businesses rely on cloud computing now, more than ever, and that will continue to increase as the years go on. As it’s still a newer system for many businesses, there are opportunities for misconfiguration. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of these misconfigurations to infiltrate systems. Hackers are launching code injection attacks in which they modify pieces of code within a cloud system. These code modifications will allow them to eavesdrop, control, and alter data and files stored within the system. They can also use the same process to modify code within third-party libraries. A piece of malicious code within a third-party library will have a domino effect, as it will infiltrate the systems of all those who download from it.

Many companies moved their data onto the cloud to keep it safe from cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, your data is likely just as vulnerable there. While the cloud vendors are responsible for maintaining the platform’s infrastructure, they are not responsible for protecting your data. The customer is accountable for monitoring access to the data, identifying odd user behaviors, finding system vulnerabilities, and patching them, which is why it is recommended to take a masters in cybersecurity or have someone that has.

Hackers are aware that many companies are migrating to cloud applications and, therefore, have been working hard to find ways to exploit them. The worst part is that if a hacker can insert malicious code into a third-party library itself, all those who download from it will be faced with a cybersecurity threat.

Internet of Things Devices
The IoT market is growing at a rapid pace. So rapid, in fact, that many newer IoT devices still have many vulnerabilities. The Internet of Things is a network of connected devices such as alarm clocks, cars, security systems, lights, appliances, speakers, and more. Some common examples of this type of technology are Google Home and Amazon Echo. The convenience and efficiency of IoT are prompting many homes and businesses to migrate their devices onto an IoT system.

Cybercriminals are exploiting the vulnerabilities of IoT and developing invasion techniques faster than cybersecurity can keep up with. Companies are trying to roll out new technology as quickly as possible to keep up with competitors; therefore, they may not be as secure as they should be. Every device that connects to IoT will collect data and share it with each other. Your home lighting system may not disclose valuable data to hackers, but they can use it to get into more sensitive data, such as that on your phone.

The best way you can protect yourself is to take a masters in cybersecurity and do your research before purchasing devices and make sure to update the firmware regularly. New patches are often released to help enhance the security features of the device and protect you from a cyberattack.

Targeted Ransomware
Even if you haven’t experienced it yourself, you’ve likely heard of a business experiencing a ransomware attack. This form of hacking is highly unethical and have a devastating impact on companies and businesses, which is why it is important to learn on a masters in cybersecurity. Businesses have even had to close because of the financial implications of an attack. The reason it’s so common is because of the simplicity relative to the impact of the virus. There are even ransomware kits for purchase on the dark web, meaning anyone can access it. These cyberattacks began as chaotic and unstructured attacks but are now becoming more sophisticated. Cybercriminals have optimized their techniques and are making more targeted attacks. This is why masters in cybersecurity courses are popping up. By training people through a masters in cybersecurity, businesses are able to fight back.

Ransomware essentially infiltrates a system and blocks access to all files and data. They will become encrypted, and the only way to obtain the decryption code is by paying a ransom. The ransom payments required to regain access to your files are typically astronomical, but most businesses cannot operate without them and therefore have little option. They can either pay the ransom and risk going bankrupt or not pay and start their whole business from scratch. Not to mention the implications on client relationships as cybercriminals will now have control over sensitive client data, which understandably, clients will not be happy about. The problem as well is that even if you pay the ransom, there are no guarantees that you will even get your files back.

There is no one solution for preventing a ransomware attack. The best thing you can do is ensure you’ve got thorough and up to date antivirus and secure firewall plus are backing up your data regularly. Back up data in multiple places to ensure you can restore files and avoid paying ransoms. However, educating yourself with a masters in cybersecurity is just as good.

Unlike the other cybersecurity threats on our list, deepfakes have not been around very long. A deepfake uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to replace a portion of an existing image or video with someone else’s likeness. These deepfakes portray events that have not taken place, but they are incredibly believable, and it’s almost impossible to tell they are fake. Recently, deepfakes have entered the media in the form of harmless, humorous swap-outs, such as putting Nicholas Cage into movies he wasn’t in. They have also shown up in more malicious ways, including putting celebrities into pornographic videos.

It’s easy to see how this new use of artificial intelligence can pose considerable threats to cybersecurity. People are already falling victims to phishing schemes that are in-personal email messages or webpages. Imagine how convincing these scams will be when they incorporate personal video and image elements. How can businesses even begin to educate their employees on such an advanced technology that no one was prepared for? Data experts are struggling to build algorithms that can effectively detect deepfakes, and it seems that the best form of detection is through a trained human eye by taking a masters in cybersecurity.

The opportunities for creating synthetic identities are endless, allowing cybercriminals to access just about anything they want. Businesses and the public must be made aware of this technology to instill a healthy level of skepticism when it comes to what they see and experience online.

Mobile malware
Your mobile device likely carries a substantial amount of sensitive data about you. Banking passwords, credit card information, personal identification information, copies of essential documents all fit in the palm of your hand. Desktop users are gradually moving to mobile devices for their increased efficiency and convenience and therefore becoming targets for mobile malware. Mobile malware is a form of software that targets mobile systems specifically. Sensitive tasks that you used to perform in person or via a desktop are now done through your mobile device. Cybercriminals know this and are using mobile malware to access huge banks of your sensitive data.

Malware has been on the cybersecurity radar for many years, but its adaptation to mobile is an increasing concern. Within the first half of 2019, malware attacks on mobile banking jumped by 50%. It’s projected to continue to increase in 2020. Many applications are implementing two-
factor authentication to protect users from mobile malware. While it takes extra time to log in, it’s the best way to defend yourself from mobile malware attacks. Two-factor authentication involves using your password alongside an additional step to confirm your identity. Typically, that will be
a code sent either via text message or email.

The problem is that hackers have found a new way to take control of your mobile through SIM-jacking. Hackers will convince your provider to switch your mobile account to another device that they are in control of. When this happens, the two-factor authentication becomes redundant since they will receive all the necessary codes to access your data. Learn more about what you can do to keep protected by taking a masters in cybersecurity.

There is a lot of conspiracy talk around 5G technology and how it will impact the world. While many of these are just that, conspiracies, there are some risks to cybersecurity associated with its launch. As with every new technology, it takes time to work out the kinks. With the anticipation building for 5G, many will likely jump onto this new system before its vulnerabilities are detected. 5G has an entirely new architecture, and networks will have to run in a highly complex environment requiring vigilance in security to monitor. That monitoring will be the responsibility of the providers, and the technology is new for them too.

The primary vulnerabilities expected with 5G are related to the initial deployment and management of the supply chain. If developers are considering these vulnerabilities, then so are cybercriminals, and thus malicious attacks and data breaches are expected. Since 5G technology uses a higher volume of components than current and previous wireless technology, there are more components to exploit. Hackers have more ways to gain access to data, which makes it harder to monitor, especially without a physical router. New cybersecurity systems are necessary, and experts need to take a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach to protect users. 5G will roll out in high-traffic, public areas like shopping centers, hotels, and airports, and within a reliable security plan in place, vast volumes of user data will be compromised.

Cybersecurity threats in 2020 include upgrades on old methods and a string of entirely new systems. As technology contains to change at a rapid pace, businesses must adapt and evolve to be able to protect themselves. Skilled professionals in cybersecurity are needed now more than ever. As a business, don’t overlook the benefits of hiring someone who is trained in cybersecurity and has gained a masters in cybersecurity and thoroughly training other staff on the threats they may encounter.

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