Top Cyber Threats For Business In 2020

The security threat has seen an unparalleled increase in IT systems and AI analysis which has benefits but is also set to make 2020 a real cyber security problem for most businesses. 

As organisations as diverse as hospitals, banks, schools, and retailers continue to grow their digital infrastructure, they’re in danger of unwittingly expanding their attack surface, offering new opportunities for hackers to make money. Furthermore, the average ransomware payment is growing as criminals become more sophisticated in their attacks.

Attackers focused on larger targets and honed their attacks using social engineering. There is a rising use of ransomware strains that tend to demand higher ransoms, like SamSam and RyukRecently, a top energy executive was tricked into transferring £200,000 of company money to fake recipients  following a phone call from that appeared to come from his boss at the German parent company. 

The average ransomware incident lasted 6.2 days and cost $54,904 in downtime, and the average ransomware-related downtime increased 47% over Q3.

The biggest factor in that increasing downtime is the rising number of compromised backup systems. 75% of organisations that paid a ransom had their backups encrypted by ransomware too. Professional services is the hardest-hit sector at 22.4%, followed by software services (13.8%) and financial services and healthcare, the latter two sectors each garnering 12.1%.

An effective response to these threats will require a blend of best practice basics and a willingness to embrace new security technologies. That’s because, although there will be new hacking tools and techniques to tackle over the coming year, many of the challenges facing organisations will be a continuation of current trends.

Here Are Six Top Threats To Watch Out For:

Leaking Email: Email remains the number one threat vector for global organisations. It continues to be the easiest and most effective way for cyber-attackers to harvest user credentials and personal information, and/or install malware on a target’s machine. In 2020, Chief Information Security Officers CISOs must do more to make this channel more resilient to threats, by investing in Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), enforcing Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), improving security training and awareness programmes and enforcing other policies such as disabling macros.

New AI-powered tools are becoming more widespread, offering an innovative and more effective way to detect spear-phishing and other fraudulent messages.

Email Fakes and Compromise: Business Email Compromises (BEC) cost organisations $1.3 billion in 2018, half of the total losses associated with global cyber-crimes reported to the FBI that year. Organisations are going to need to build staff awareness raising about the threat into their internal training programmes, as well as rolling out technologies and processes designed to spot and block attacks. 

Deepfakes: An potntiallyy bigger threat is from  AI-based spoof videos and audio. These so-called “deepfakes” are already being used to trick employees into making wire transfers. This is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg, and will need advanced tools and improved employee training to mitigate.

Cloud Platforms: The most obvious manifestation of digital transformation investment is increased spending on cloud platforms. But the advent of hybrid and multi-clouds is creating complexity that many in-house security teams are ill-equipped to manage. 

Ransomware: Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen an evolution of one of the biggest threats of recent years, as cyber-criminals refocused their ransomware campaigns on fewer targets. But that doesn’t mean your business is safe in 2020. In fact, the hackers are going to extra lengths to make sure their attacks are successful, deploying fileless malware techniques, RDP compromise and lateral movement to stay hidden until the time is right to strike. 

Best practice security steps like Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), network segmentation and prompt patching can mitigate many attacks, while regular on- and offline back-ups are essential.

Supply Chain Problems: Modern organisations are nothing without their supply chains. Whether it’s a bakery relying on providers of flour, water and energy, or an online retailer with an expansive ecosystem of digital suppliers, these networks provide the products and services essential to business operations. But they’re also a potential security risk. Hackers will become increasingly adept at exploiting these supply chain relationships to further their own ends.

In 2020 there will be more attacks on Managed Service Providers, which provide a handy stepping-stone into client networks, and digital skimming campaigns targeting the supply chain. The GDPR brought in strict new rules designed to improve transparency and accountability for just these circumstances. 

Chief Information Security Officers would do well to revisit their Service Level Agreements and Partnership agreements to guarantee a baseline level of cybersecurity among all their suppliers, or they will also risk the wrath of the regulators.

Barracuda Blog:      Infosecurity Magazine:      CityAM:       FBI IC3

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