Two Terrifying Cybersecurity Predictions for 2020

Jordan Kadlec

2020 Cybersecurity

Ransomware dominated cybersecurity headlines throughout 2019, with cities and municipalities paying millions in ransom demands. Will 2020 and the beginning of a new decade bring the same threats? Cybersecurity experts seem to think so.

Ransomware Attacks Poised to Increase Again in 2020

“In 2020, ransomware attacks are estimated to increase,” predicts Agung Nugraha, Director of Protection of National Critical Information Infrastructure at the National Cyber and Encryption Agency.

Attacks against cities and small, municipal governments are also expected to remain prevalent threats. Local government networks are low hanging fruit for cybercriminals. While cybersecurity spending is projected to increase (we’ll talk about this later), governments of all sizes tend to lack the budgets necessary to build efficient information security programs, including a properly sized IT staff.

“At least three US States will declare states of emergency due to waves of ransomware in 2020. Ransomware, which carried a price tag of over $10 billion this year (2019) in attacks, will continue to plague state and municipal agencies lacking appropriate skills, controls, and ransomware countermeasures. If that isn’t worrisome enough, we predict there’s a 20 percent chance this could escalate to a national level,” said Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst and Fellow at Enterprise Strategy Group.

Nearly two-thirds of all ransomware attacks in the United States targeted state or local governments. Those infected with ransomware paid nearly ten times the ransom compared to their private-sector counterparts. As criminals go where the money is, don’t be surprised to see more cities making headlines from becoming victims of a ransomware attack in 2020.

Cyber Security Budgets Will Increase – In the Wrong Areas

It’s without a doubt that cybersecurity budgets will increase drastically in 2020; however, the big challenge is ensuring that spending focuses on the proper areas. For the most part, unfortunately, it won’t be. One major problem is the inability of many organizations to keep up with basic cybersecurity hygiene tactics such as patching, frequently changing privileged credentials and utilizing multifactor authentication.

Another major problem is that many organizations continue to use yesterday’s technology to combat tomorrow’s threats. While technology such as rules-based security solutions is great for detecting known vulnerabilities, it is ineffective against new, unknown threats. So, while companies continue to invest astronomical amounts of money in such products, ransomware attacks and data breaches will continue to occur on a regular basis.

Bonus Prediction – Deepfakes

Deepfakes is a term that was coined in 2017 and relates to fake videos being created by deep learning techniques. Deepfakes is poised to create huge problems in 2020, with both ransomware and the presidential election in November.

Cybercriminals will leverage deepfakes to entice individuals to pay the ransom from a ransomware attack. Ransomware authors will send targeted deepfakes. Recipients will see what looks like a real video of themselves in compromising situations and will likely pay the ransom in order to avoid the threat of the video being released to the public.

Deepfakes made its appearance in the political arena earlier this year. In 2020, it is expected that deepfakes will be leveraged as a tool to attempt to discredit candidates and push inaccurate political messages to voters via social media.

It’s expected that deepfakes will cost businesses over a quarter of a billion dollars in 2020.

WatchPoint Has You Covered!

Through our Layered Security or Defense in Depth approach, WatchPoint combines multiple layers of security that focus on prevention, detection, and response. Think about your bank – you can’t just walk into the safe and take your money. They have locked doors, human guards, and special access controls. Each layer of security protects you against different types of threats. As cybercriminals get more sophisticated, your defenses need to as well – your traditional antivirus isn’t enough to protect you anymore.

Remember the continued threat of ransomware? The Layered Security approach contains CryptoStopper, which is proven ransomware detection software to stop actively running ransomware infections on Windows workstations and servers. CryptoStopper uses deception technology to detect ransomware. During the installation process, decoy files are strategically deployed. When ransomware begins the encryption process, CryptoStopper detects it in real-time and takes action.

Contact WatchPoint for your all-in-one cybersecurity package that will protect you in 2020 and beyond.

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