So far, 2020 has been a crazy year – the Coronavirus Pandemic has caused a global health crisis. This is probably the greatest challenge the world has faced since World War II. There has been an increase in reported cases of cyber attacks taking place on a global scale. This too, has caused yet another pandemic, and this doesn’t come as a surprise as a lot of people have taken their businesses online. News regarding huge data losses and numerous security breaches happen every few seconds, and they have been making headlines since the year started.

15 Biggest cybersecurity threats

Cybercrime is a serious problem that causes heavy losses accumulating to trillions of dollars annually. These threats not only affect individuals and businesses, but governments too.

Both companies and individuals need to brace themselves for potential risks that they could face for the remaining months of this year and, most probably, the rest of the decade. Who knows, new threats could continue emerging. We have put together a list of 15 top cybersecurity threats to watch out for in 2020 and beyond:

1. Mobile Malware

Many people have made the move from using their PC to using their smartphones to make financial transactions. This may be attributed to the rise in the number of banking apps that make touchless payments possible.

Smartphones are now targeted by attackers who create malicious programs that infect mobile phones and steal their victims’ information. The attackers can also install tracking software into the phones and monitor their activities online. This makes it so easy for them to find a way to trick the victim into downloading and installing mobile malware. Download a reputable security tool and follow the malware removal guide to delete the mobile malware and clean up your junk files and folders.

2. Fakes and Deepfakes

This is the new kid in the block. Fakes and deep fakes refer to images, videos, or voice audio that resemble the real thing but didn’t actually happen. This sounds interesting, doesn’t it? The software uses AI technology to manipulate an existing piece of data in an attempt to portray something that is not real. For example, a person’s face may be superimposed on another person’s body so that people think that the person whose face appears in the video did whatever the other person is doing.

This software offers limitless possibilities for malicious activity and has emerged as a major security threat.

3. Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks are scams that use social engineering techniques to steal the victim’s personal information, such as passwords or credit card details. These attacks are expected to rise as the criminals are now stealing the data through cloud applications and during on-premise attacks.

Downloading and installing reliable pc cleaning software is very helpful in minimizing the risk of phishing attacks.

4. Cloud Jacking

This is another cybersecurity threat that seems like it could emerge among the most prominent risks. This is because so many companies now rely on cloud computing to run most of their daily activities.

Cloud jacking refers to a type of a cyber-attack where the criminal infiltrates a company’s information stored in the cloud, modifies the data, and eventually takes full control over it. Usually, the data stored in the cloud is under the control of the cloud provider, and the provider may have a hard time protecting the data from hackers and respond quickly to attacks.

5. Insider Attacks

These attacks have a huge potential to cause significant losses. This is because they’re not anticipated and are also difficult to prevent. Internal attacks usually involve reckless employees who use systems and leave their accounts vulnerable, allowing for a major security breach.

Regular anti-malware programs are not very effective in preventing insider attacks. Businesses should limit the number of people with authorized login details to keep the risk at a minimum.

6. Synthetic Identities

This is a type of fraud where the hacker uses a mixture of real credentials and made-up information to create an illusion of a real person who doesn’t exist. The number of scammers using synthetic identities is on the rise.

7. DevOps Vulnerabilities

DevOps refers to a way of coming up with codes that bridge the gap between development and operations. The main aim is to speed up software development. The creation process is fast, and before making the final product, only small iterative changes have to be made.

Generally speaking, DevOps increases the complexity of software but also magnifies and multiplies the security issues. The high speed of software innovation translates to new unseen vulnerabilities.

8. DDoS Attacks

Distributed Denial of Service, abbreviated as DDoS, refers to an attack where attackers overwhelm a network so that users can’t process legit traffic on the network. These attacks have the potential of paralyzing business operations for both small and bigger entities.

Usually, these attacks are used by attackers to divert the attention off the real threat. They’re often started, stopped, and started again. To beat DDoS attacks, the business needs to find a way to handle the fake bandwidth. Alternatively, you could consider blacklisting IP addresses that have been identified as being a part of the attack.

9. DNS spoofing

All computers that log onto the internet have a special string of numbers for identification purposes.

The Domain Naming System assigns names to the IP address so that each computer can be found. A good analogy for this system is a phonebook. Now, here’s where the issue comes in – attackers spoof these names and use the information to redirect computer users to a malicious website where there’s a risk of data theft.

10. IoT Attacks

These days, you will find many smart devices that connect to the internet in almost every household. Unfortunately, most of these devices don’t have a strong security system to protect them against infiltration.

IoT attacks leverage the use of vulnerable devices like TVs and WiFi-enabled speakers that are connected to the internet. They take the opportunity and sneak malicious files into the system that comprises these overlooked network components. Using web application firewall is an effective option to combat such threats.

11. AI and Machine Learning

AI-powered cyber-attacks use artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to come up with programs that learn and emulate human behaviors. Systems are poisoned and deceived into giving away peoples’ personal information that is, in the end, used to carry out “deepfakes” attacks.

The programs may also fool image recognition systems into identifying non-human things as humans.

12. Sophisticated Ransomware

Sophisticated ransomware attacks, encrypts, and freezes the victims’ information so that they have to pay out a ransom for the information to be unlocked. The users can’t get access to the data if they don’t pay. The codes used have evolved, making it very hard for hackers to be detected.

The main targets of this evil form of extortion today are high-value entities such as police departments and other government facilities.

13. Hardware and Firmware Attacks

There is a worrying trend about the vulnerability of hardware and firmware. Such attacks exploit the weakness in firmware and hardware, causing serious damages to the computer components such as the chips.

Although no such attacks of a similar nature have been reported in a while, there’s a high likelihood of it happening sometime this year.

14. Breaking in hospital systems

A breach of data in a hospital system could pose a serious threat to the medical network. The medical records and information of so many patients would be exposed and exploited.

Such information can fetch the cybercriminals hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of data on the dark web. This kind of attack goes against so many codes of conduct that require that a patient’s information be kept private and confidential. If this were to happen, the result would be an unimaginable health crisis.

15. 5G-to-WiFi Security Vulnerabilities

5G networks are very bandwidth-efficient. On the downside, there’s a security gap that hasn’t been filled yet.

With the emergence of 5G networks, wireless service providers are handing over most of their calls and data via Wi-Fi networks. Attackers have already come up with ways of compromising the safety of the networks.

Rapid rollouts are taking place across so many public places like shopping malls and airports. Cybercriminals are having a field day tapping into the Wi-Fi networks and make it look so easy. So many people are worried that 5G could create more cyber security threats for individuals, businesses, and the government.

Conclusion

Some of the threats mentioned above, such as deep fakes and issues with the 5G network, are among the new risks that we are just starting to see. Ways of countering such are constantly being developed so that internet users can relax a little as they use their smartphones or PCs.

Even though cybercriminals are always coming up with new ways of exploiting unsuspecting people and businesses, data protection tools keep evolving too to counter the threats and protect users from viruses, identity thefts, online tracking, and so much more. The most important thing to do is always make sure that the tools are always up-to-date.

About the author

Mark Coleman

Mark Coleman is the editor at MarkupTrend. He is also a technical writer and digital marketing expert. He handles all marketing, advertisement related activities at MarkupTrend along with his team.