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    Predicting the Cyber Landscape in 2020 - ThreatAdvice

    2019 was full of record-breaking data breaches and an array of ransomware attacks. As the new year begins, understanding the progression of cyber trends in 2019 is so important in analyzing what could transpire in 2020. This year will be pivotal in setting the stage for what technical trends can be expected throughout the new decade. Predictions aren’t always accurate, but they can be helpful in jumpstarting necessary preparation for what could potentially happen. Below, you will find a list of what we may expect in 2020.

    Cybersecurity moves to the C-Suite

    Securing valuable data has become a high priority for business executives. Cybersecurity is no longer strictly seen from a technical perspective but is also seen and analyzed through a business prospective. CIOs and CISOs are having to oversee the management and security of critical data. These C-suite executives will look to continue exploring data security solutions and enterprise tools such as artificial intelligence or machine learning. Making necessary technical advancements will be imperative for both IT and ROI efforts.


    CISOs on the move

    2019 displayed the need for CISOs to move beyond the IT department and into company management circles. Business goals and strategies must include security and compliance initiatives. CISOs will be called upon to deliver the overall security structure of the organization as well as educating board members and shareholders on the importance of cybersecurity.

    The dilemma that organizations have recently faced is maintaining a CISO. A recent report found that CISOs face high levels of stress and urgency that play a role in shortening their tenure to 18-24 months. Stability is the treasure that every organization is hunting in 2020. Alternative solutions such as a vCISO provide comprehensive security insight, data management, and risk assessment without generating the cost of a high-level executive. Resources like vCISO will play a pivotal role in stabilizing business security in 2020.

    Municipalities and schools will be heavily targeted

    Many cities and government entities took major hits in 2019. Ransomware plagued multiple cities as well as many school systems. Datto reported that ransomware costs organizations more than $75 billion per year. With Iranian officials threatening imminent cyberattacks, municipalities and school systems can expect to be targeted at an even higher rate in 2020. Both of these entities showed vulnerabilities from last year that provided hackers enough evidence to see why they will be prime targets again this year.


    Work shortages will pose major threat

    The gap between the lack of strong cybersecurity talent and filling essential positions continues to grow. Organizations are finding themselves in high risk situations without the professionals needed to secure gaping security holes. A recent CSIS survey of IT decision makers across eight countries found that 82% of employers report a shortage of cybersecurity skills. Even worse, 71% believe the shortage has caused measurable damage to their organization. In 2020, companies will not be looking to add more compliance officers or cybersecurity policy coordinators. The need will be for cybersecurity professionals who can design secure systems, utilize strong defense resources, and uncover vulnerabilities in the network.


    IoT device hacks will become more severe

    To this point, we haven’t seen someone held for ransom through their IoT devices or smart appliances. However, that doesn’t mean that the threat doesn’t exist. Hackers are continuing to explore weaknesses in these devices and threat has grown tremendously over the past year. In a recent hacking conference in Las Vegas, two researches confirmed a method in which a smart thermostat could be infected with Ransomware. This attack could be inflicted by a hacker hundreds of miles away and the device could be held hostage until the amount of money requested is paid.

    Smart thermostats are just one of the many smart appliances being added to modern homes. In an effort to create convenience and comfort, smart homes have created an open-door policy for cybercriminals. Understanding the security behind IoT devices will be important in assisting users in protecting their families and their possessions. It will also be important for IoT developers to innovate and communicate security advancements in these devices to create better peace of mind for users.



    Cybersecurity continues to develop, grow, and change each year. New trends create new opportunities to understand the direction of the industry’s landscape and make the necessary adjustments. New vulnerabilities will emerge in 2020, but new data security solutions will also be developed throughout the course of the year. While many of these predictions lend a negative connotation, perhaps 2020 will have some trend-breaking moments that change the trajectory of the cybersecurity landscape. (Fingers crossed.)