Six cyber security predictions for 2020 

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Jan 2020

2019 saw a record number of cyber attacks, while Internet restrictions and shutdowns became the new norm for some governments as a way to strengthen their authority.

The number of data breaches will continue to grow in 2020, and will hit a new high. 

So says Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN, sharing the top six of the company’s cyber security trends for this year. 

1. Data breaches to hit a new high

2019 saw a record number of cyberattacks as they grew by 33 percent compared to 2018.

Now, healthcare is at the risk of becoming the most breached sector. These organisations deal with great amounts of sensitive data but often fail to apply the latest security standards.

There will be over 80 elections held around the globe in 2020. Politicians and hackers alike will try to interfere with voters’ choices.

Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert, NordVPN

Misconfigured databases and backups will be the leading reasons for successful hacker attacks. Hackers will get more creative, using complex social engineering techniques on potential victims. A significant increase in business e-mail compromise and ransomware is predicted, too.

2. New mobile malware

Last year it was Simjacker attacks taking advantage of a vulnerability found in SIM cards. In 2020, there will definitely be new techniques applied to steal data from handheld devices. For example, Rich Communication Services (RCS), the new messaging standard designed to replace SMS, is pretty easy to hack. Cybercriminals can exploit the technology to track users and compromise their location data.

We’ll see a spike in mobile payment scams and frauds.

3. Use of AI, deepfakes

Cybercriminals will use artificial intelligence to scale their attacks.

For example, the deepfake technology will be exploited in social engineering scams.

This year saw the first noted instance of fraudsters using AI to mimic a voice in a scam. The audio deepfake was convincing enough to scam a CEO out of $243 000.

Deepfakes will be the next frontier for financial fraud, hoaxes, and fake news.

4. Meddling with elections

There will be more than 80 elections held all over the world in 2020. It’s not hard to predict that both politicians and hackers will try to meddle with voters’ choices.

5. Stricter data privacy laws

There will definitely be more and stricter data privacy laws passed by governments around the world.

For example, the California Consumer Privacy Act went into action on January 1, 2020, providing consumers with unprecedented rights to control what information companies collect about them and how they use it. 

This year, more and more companies will be forced to take measures to protect their customer data or face the consequences as German Telecom did. Last year, the corporation was fined €9.5M for GDPR violations.

6. Surveillance, censorship, restrictions

Internet surveillance, censorship, and restrictions are becoming the new norm for some governments in their fight against political unrest. So we’ll be seeing further network shutdowns around the globe.

Last year, we saw internet outages in Venezuela, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Iran, and many other countries. Also, a law introducing new controls on the Internet to make it more state-controlled came into force in Russia in 2019. It means that the officials will be able to cut off connections to the Web if they see an emergency.