As businesses work to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ll also have to face the ever-increasing threat of cyber crime. Hackers were already redoubling efforts to defraud organizations before the Coronavirus. Now the increased interest in new information about the pandemic and remote work arrangements gives bad actors the perfect cover to launch a host of new cyber attacks.

A report released by the firm Cyber security Ventures predicts that the global cost of damages caused by cyber attacks will reach $6 trillion by 2021. Over the last ten years, hackers have changed their tactics and targets, making it vital for small business owners to keep up with emerging threats and the latest 2020 cyber trends.

2020 Emerging Cyber security Trends and Threats

Organizations will need to ensure they keep up with the latest developments as a single successful cyber attack could spell disaster for the business. Rapid advances in technology can revolutionize a company’s daily workflows, but hackers are also looking for new ways to scam them out of their money or data. Here are the top ten emerging cyber security trends to look for in 2020.

1. The Rise of Deepfake Technologies

Deepfake technologies use deep learning techniques from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make fake audio and video clips. Using the self-learning capabilities of AI, hackers can generate any kind of video footage or audio recordings that are accurate enough to seem legitimate. Politicians and celebrities were the first victims of these types of cyber attacks, but criminals are now using the same technologies to improve their phishing and social engineering attempts. Attacks like a Business Email Compromise (BEC) using deepfakes have already succeeded in soliciting fraudulent money transfers from organizations.

2. Creating Synthetic Identities

The use of synthetic identities is also on the rise. Bad actors use a combination of legitimate and fake information to create a digital identity that’s capable of passing as a real person or entity. Synthetic identities enable hackers to open accounts with a business or bank with fake Personal Identifiable Information (PII).

3. Cloud Jacking Threats

Cloud platforms are great for business productivity and efficiency, but hackers are always trying to gain access to these systems. Emerging technologies like serverless code, component libraries, and containerization all present vulnerabilities if not configured correctly. Hackers use cloud jacking techniques like injection attacks or cross-site scripting while also monitoring all public-facing services for misconfigurations to exploit cloud platforms.

4. Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities in 5G to Wi-Fi Switching

As carriers roll-out 5G networks, new vulnerabilities will emerge. Specifically, more data and calls will be handed off between 5G and Wi-Fi networks automatically. The backend processes that handle the switching on devices may create entry points for hackers to exploit. The current skills gap in cybersecurity professionals will only compound the problem as these networks become more common.

5. Remote Workers and Endpoint Security

Due to the pandemic, more workers are operating from their homes, but this was already a rising trend over previous years. Organizations that have a telecommute or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy should know that this extends their threat perimeter. All devices that connect to business systems need to be included in the company’s endpoint cyber security scanning.

6. Supercharged AI-Powered Cyber attacks

In the same way that cyber security firms are looking towards AI systems to do their heavy lifting, hackers are using it in the same way. Cybercriminals can also train AI programs to imitate human behavior and trick individuals to give up their personal information.

7. Social Media Disinformation

Another concern is fake news spreading on social media like in the case of the company Spirit Halloween. After a false announcement that the chain store wouldn’t open during Halloween in 2020, the company had to issue statements on all their social media platforms to limit the damage. While the company turned the situation into a positive by engaging with their customers directly, organizations will need to ensure they have a strategy in place for disinformation campaigns.

8. Risks Posed by IoT Devices

With more organizations deploying Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices, hackers are targeting printers, sensors, access control systems, cameras, and smart displays. Any device that connects to the company’s network can become an entry point for cybercriminals.

9. Unknown Insider Threats

Internal actors were responsible for 34% of data breaches in 2019, stemming from either bad actors who execute malicious attacks or negligent employees. As these types of attacks originate from inside the company’s network, preventing them can be challenging. Monitoring user and device behavior can help prevent insider threats from spreading undetected.

10. New Sophisticated Ransomware Attacks

Preventing ransomware attacks should be a priority for all organizations of any size. The kits used to deploy a ransomware attack are cheap, and hackers can even use ransomware-as-a-service to infect company networks. A successful ransomware attack can devastate business operations, so preparing to recover from an incident is vital for business resilience.

Establishing a Safe Perimeter for Your Digital Systems with First Phase Data

As organizations will continue to face emerging threats that put their business systems at risk, partnering with First Phase Data can help secure their perimeter. First Phase Data provides office productivity tools, document management systems, and Managed Print Services (MPS). We assist organizations in establishing a safe and secure digital landscape that streamlines their processes while allowing them to scale operations when required.

For more information about First Phase Data, and to find out how we can help you improve your cyber security, get in touch with one of our agents today.

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