It’s a new year and a new decade, a time for predictions and resolutions. But we don’t need a crystal ball to predict that keeping pace with the increasing number of ever-evolving cyber threats will be challenging for businesses, governments and individuals this year and beyond, and that demand for cyber security skills will continue to be on the rise.
Hackers continue to prey on existing security weaknesses and with their progressively advanced attack methods, people’s health, safety and lives are at risk. Cyber incidents are widely reported in the news and serve as a reminder that constant vigilance is necessary to mitigate risks. Below are some of the potentially impactful issues as a new decade commences.
- Cyber corruption will persist as organized crime syndicates ban together and nation-state threat actors use more progressive tactics along with simple and advanced technology to propagate their agendas. In 2019 there were over 5,000 data breaches leaving over 7.9 billion records exposed. Security issues worsen with every breach leaving people more vulnerable.
- Social engineering will continue to be employed by hackers in all forms of phishing attacks, which will become more sophisticated. The simple technique of targeting human weaknesses to circumvent technical obstacles is low risk/high reward for malefactors. All it takes is one employee to click once for a cyber criminal to gain entry.
- Increased reliance on mobile devices combined with projected worldwide growth to over 16 billion devices by 2023 will increasingly make them lucrative targets for hackers.
- Poorly protected IoT (Internet of Things) devices are a valuable source for hackers attempting to obtain personal information and gain access to other devices residing on the same network. It is estimated that the number of IoT devices worldwide will grow to over 75 billion by 2025. Cameras, garage door openers, light controls, baby monitors, and lawn watering systems are some examples of IoT devices.
- Ransomware impacted over 900 government agencies, educational establishments, and healthcare providers in the United States in 2019 at a potential cost of over $7.5 billion. State and local governments are prime targets because they are often ill-equipped when it comes to cyber protection.
- Third-party vulnerabilities present an enormous amount of risk to corporate organizations and are often the weakest link in the supply chain making them opportune entry points for an attacker.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) will become more powerful and infiltrate all aspects of life. Transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, and education are some of the areas where AI is benefiting society and increasing our ability to solve problems. Unfortunately, it is inevitable that AI will be exploited for nefarious purposes.
- The quality of deepfakes will improve and eventually rival that of special effects studios.
- Though some states have enacted privacy and security laws, federal legislation is still lacking. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) took effect on January 1, 2020 and is considered by many to be one of the toughest data privacy laws in the United States.
- Cyber security will be imperative to preventing interference with the 2020 United States elections. Ransomware targeting voter databases, foreign meddling, and deepfakes are among the cyber threats with the potential to disrupt the election process.