Top Cybersecurity Predictions for 2020

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The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to take a step back to assess progress and anticipate future trends. In the cybersecurity world, the year 2020 will likely mark yet another mad scramble to stay ahead of bad actors while implementing proactive cybersecurity measures. In any business, it’s always challenging to stay a step ahead of the competition. This is particularly true of the cybersecurity industry, with its rapidly evolving landscape and countless black hat hackers. To help you get a jumpstart on the anticipated trends for the coming year, here are a few cybersecurity predictions for 2020.

Spending on Cybersecurity Will Continue to Increase.

In the coming year, it’s expected that private and public organizations will continue to spend more on cybersecurity initiatives and responses. According to the market intelligence company, International Data Corporation (IDC), it’s expected that the total worldwide spending on cybersecurity-related services, hardware and software reached $103.1 billion during the past year.

This represented a growth rate of 9.4 percent compared to 2018. That’s a growth rate that the IDC expects will continue through the next few years. Discrete manufacturing, government and banking are the three sectors that the IDC expects will spend the most on cybersecurity. Given the growing prevalence of cybersecurity attacks, this is likely one of the most reliable of all cybersecurity predictions. It’s good news for anyone thinking about going to grad school to enhance career qualifications in this field.

Companies Will Rely Heavily on Artificial Intelligence.

In other cybersecurity trends, organizations have already begun to incorporate the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into cybersecurity applications. It’s expected that the reliance on AI will continue to grow into the next decade. According to a study by the Capgemini Research Institute, almost one-fifth of all organizations used AI in cybersecurity before 2019. By 2020, nearly two in three organizations plans to incorporate it. In addition, the Capgemini Research Institute notes the following:

  • Three out of four executives think the application of AI allows for swifter responses to breaches
  • Three in five companies think AI helps cyber analysts do their jobs more accurately and efficiently
  • Most respondents believe the use of AI reduces the expense of breach detection and responses by an average of 12 percent

Why exactly is AI so crucial in cybersecurity? There are many reasons, including the fact that cyber analysts are simply overwhelmed by the data volume, velocity and variety. From 2017 to 2022, Internet traffic around the world is expected to grow three-fold. It is challenging for cyber analysts to stay on top, which is why experts giving cybersecurity predictions believe that there will be an increasing reliance on artificial intelligence.

In addition, the bad actors themselves are using AI. One example is spear phishing. This involves targeting specific users with personalized tweets designed to trigger the sharing of sensitive information. When hackers use AI for spear phishing, the tweets can get sent six times faster than if a human were doing it. Plus, they are twice as successful. Since hackers are successfully using AI, it only makes sense to use AI against them.

Critical Infrastructure May Be Targeted More Frequently.

The use of black hat hacking by state actors is nothing new. In July of 2019, APT10, the Chinese state-sponsored hacking group, was suspected of attacking U.S. utility companies. There are also state-sponsored hacking groups from Russia, Iran and North Korea known to target critical infrastructure as well as other entities.

It’s thought that attacks on critical infrastructure may get worse during the coming year and beyond. However, the idea that critical infrastructure may be attacked more frequently and severely is one of the most worrisome predictions.

Phishing Attacks Will Become More Troublesome Than Malware.

In previous years, it was thought that malware was the biggest threat facing cybersecurity professionals. In regard to cybersecurity predictions for 2020, however, it’s likely that phishing will take center stage. Phishing attacks are becoming both more common and more sophisticated. Furthermore, it isn’t necessary to be an expert black hat hacker to implement them. Phishing kits can easily be found on the dark web, enabling anyone with bad intentions to send targeted attacks.

Phishing attacks are evolving right along with mainstream technology. According to Verizon’s 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report, mobile users are becoming increasingly vulnerable to phishing attacks. This is likely due to the user interfaces. In one study, 18 percent of clicks on phishing links came from mobile devices. In addition, companies have been increasingly relying on cloud-based storage and collaboration tools. As more data are being stored in the cloud, hackers have begun using phishing attacks to target cloud-based email servers.

You can explore cybersecurity predictions and trends as a graduate student at the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Grand Canyon University. The Master of Science in Cybersecurity degree program trains professionals in best practices in penetration testing, vulnerability assessment and digital forensics. Are you ready to begin? Click on Request Info above to learn more about earning your master’s degree online at GCU.

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.