Latest Cyber Security Trends: 2020 in Review

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Latest Cyber Security Trends: 2020 in Review

Take a look at this review of some of the most recent cyber security threats and trends.

· Security Zone ·
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The past decade has seen many advances, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and many more. These technologies provide many advantages, but also with distinct disadvantages. Perhaps the most critical disadvantage is the increasing amount of cyber threats. This article provides a brief overview of critical cybersecurity threats to watch out for during 2020, alongside the cybersecurity trends rising to prominence.

Trending Cybersecurity Threats

As technologies change, cybercriminals continue to develop innovative methods to exploit vulnerabilities and bypass security protections. To keep your systems and data secure, you need first to understand what the most common threats are.

Insecure Mobile Devices

Protecting mobile devices has become one of the main concerns in cybersecurity. Adding company emails to your smartphone and connecting from public Wi-Fi networks can make sensitive data available to everyone. Likewise, the use of instant messaging services and file sharing can enable criminals to easily compromise smartphones, granting access to credentials and data.

Careless Social Network Use

A common daily behavior of employees that can put the cybersecurity of your company at risk is accessing social networks. Downloading unverified files or posting images or information related to the workday can offer valuable clues to cybercriminals.

Lack of Device Controls and Shared Logins

When employees leave their desks or workstations, access needs to be restricted with passwords or other authentication measures. This prevents others from using the device while the employee is away. 

These locking systems should include strong passwords and should not rely on manual processes. Systems should lock automatically after a certain period of activity if users don’t log out.

Mismanagement of Passwords and Permissions

Security responsibility is shared between employers and employees. Permissions for access to certain documents or for downloading programs should not be given to everyone or used without restrictions. Companies need to establish access control mechanisms for employees and administrators.

State-Sponsored Attacks

Modern cybercrime goes beyond criminals seeking to make a profit through the theft or ransom of individual and corporate data. Now, entire nation-states are using hacking to infiltrate and attack critical infrastructure. 

Many of these attacks target government infrastructure and systems, but private organizations are also vulnerable. According to Thomson Reuters Labs’ research, organizations in business sectors related to geopolitical disputes are especially at risk. 

Advances in Computing Threaten Cryptography

Although quantum computing is still new, it can perform significantly more powerful computations than current machines. This creates a threat since it can enable attackers to decipher cryptographic codes that would take traditional computers far longer to crack.

Cyber Security Trends

As threats change over time, security strategies and solutions change too. These tools enable security teams to adapt to new attack methods and tools and ideally enable organizations to identify vulnerabilities before attackers can exploit them. 

Cybersecurity Expertise

The demand for cybersecurity experts is currently exceeding supply, as security teams have to manage more online threats than ever before. According to a survey by DDLS, over two-thirds of those surveyed reported that keeping security team skills up to date was their biggest challenge. This suggests companies need to begin investing more to improve in-house cybersecurity expertise.

Endpoint Management

As an organization’s systems grow. The expansion of endpoints often occurs in the following categories:

  • Cloud solutions are distributed, requiring many endpoints that are Internet-facing. 

  • Bring your own device (BYOD) policies allow employee mobile devices that make device management difficult. Malware on employee devices is a major concern, especially since 50% of organizations surveyed in 2019 were compromised by mobile malware.

  • Internet of things (IoT) devices often have PINs that cannot be changed or default passwords  and many use insecure connection protocols. Each IoT device represents a possibly vulnerable endpoint.

XDR is a trending solution that can help with endpoint management. It provides proactive protection for threat detection and response and offers visibility across networks, endpoints, and clouds. Using XDR, you can leverage automation and analytics to address even unknown threats. With XDR, security teams can:

  • Increase the productivity of security teams

  • Proactively identify hidden and advanced threats

  • Conclude investigations more efficiently

  • Track threats throughout the organization

The Growth of Alternative Authentication

Privacy and password strength is a security concern that has persisted since the beginning of the Internet. However, another authentication method is beginning to replace passwords —  alternative or passwordless authentication. 

Alternative authentication solutions, such as hardware tokens, knowledge-based authentication, biometric authentication, and unique password generators can offer a more secure option. Gartner predicts that by 2022 90% of midsize businesses will adopt passwordless authentication for more than 50% of their use cases.

Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance is in demand for all sizes of businesses. The total losses associated with cyberattacks and extortion were estimated at around $11 million in 2019. Due to this, it’s not surprising that organizations are looking for damage reduction measures and buying insurance. 

Estimates pegged the digital economy at around $11 trillion in 2016, and it has only grown, making it clear that the 'new' digital economy is severely underinsured. According to the Stanford University Center for Cyber Policy, the current cyber insurance market is around $2.4 billion. It is expected to grow 100% by 2021 despite restrictive conditions of coverage and high coverage costs.

Despite the need for coverage, insurance providers have struggled to adapt to the changing cyber risk landscape. This includes the increasingly important role that IoT is playing and the emergence of more connected devices. This lag creates a lot of opportunity for new insurance models and coverage.

Cloud-Based Security Expansion

As the world moves a large amount of technology infrastructure to the cloud, cloud-based security platforms and services continue to grow. According to Kaspersky Lab, about 75% percent of companies are expected to move applications to the cloud in the coming years.

Cloud-based security can offer several advantages over traditional approaches, including:

  • Economies of scale

  • Reduced costs

  • Better protection performance

  • Increased threat intelligence

  • Faster compliance with industry and government standards

This makes it an appealing investment and is part of the reason cloud security platform sales, once a small slice of cybersecurity, are expected to grow into a $ 460 million industry.

Advances in Encryption

As cyberattacks have become more sophisticated, numerous advances in data encryption have followed suit. According to a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute, 45% of those surveyed consistently apply encryption across their company. However, when a particular encryption strategy, it is no longer effective. 

To address this security gap, many advancements in encryption are emerging. These include distributed ledgers, zero-knowledge technologies, ring signing, and privacy technologies. When used in combination, these technologies can provide complete or partial data anonymity and identity and data verification can be automated.


As digital transformation increases, as connectivity becomes more distributed and complex, as remote work and education become the norm, as organizations lose control over devices and employees turn into insider threats, as warfare runs rampant and advances turn into weapons — what used to be a worldwide web is turning into a digital wild west. In 2020, cybersecurity trends are turning into a necessity for business continuity, as organizations face attacks from a staggering number of directions.

cyber attacks, cyber security, cybersecurity threats, security, security trends

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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