The internet has connected people, organisations and devices, and the speed at which these connections are made is faster than ever. But these connections combined with digitalisation of everything is making businesses face several unique challenges. Of these, the challenge that has surfaced as the one demanding urgent attention is the issue of cybersecurity.
In a conversation about the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape, our security experts Ian Cole, Richard Starnes and Chris Cooper shared their views on the latest market trends. I learnt that the shocking security breaches making headlines, hackers getting more sophisticated, and the enforcement of regulations like GDPR resulting in huge fines in 2019, will all make 2020 a big year for cybersecurity. Here’s why:
AI gets more powerful in 2020
Over the last few years, we have seen an exponential increase in the number of platforms, applications, and tools based on machine learning and AI technologies, and the trend will continue in 2020 as well. This has led to an increase in the number of and sophistication of AI-powered cyber-attacks, at a faster rate, outpacing existing defensive measures, leaving humans powerless in many cases.
Each passing year has shown how attacks are getting more sophisticated and personalised with a higher likelihood of success. Hackers have even started using AI to accelerate malware, causing code to constantly change and make it undetectable. Advanced tactics allow hackers to work around security to bypass facial security and spam filters, promote fake voice commands, and bypass anomaly detection engines. AI-led cybercrime is one of the biggest challenges for 2020.
The convergence of IT and OT
At the core of the Industry 4.0 trend is the convergence of operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) networks, i.e. the convergence of industrial and traditional corporate IT systems. While this union of these formerly disparate networks certainly facilitates data exchange and enables organisations to improve business efficiency, it also comes with a host of new security concerns. This is particularly frightening because many of these OT-related networks handle critical functions, such as electric power, clean running water, manufacturing processes, live-saving healthcare treatments, etc. – and if they were compromised, the impact would be significant. 2020 will witness the convergence of IT and OT and hence the increased risk to enterprise data.
5G and IoT: Risky turf
While 5G promises faster speed and bandwidth for connections, it also comes with a new generation of security threats. 5G is expected to make more IoT services possible and the framework will no longer neatly fit into the traditional security models optimised for 4G. Security experts warn of threats related to the 5G-led IoT growth anticipated in 2020, such as a heightened risk of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. The number of devices being added to the network will also make it challenging to keep each system updated and capable of meeting rapidly evolving cyber-attacks.
Death of the password
Password attacks are also among the most common cybersecurity threats faced by businesses. Unlike malware attacks, they are simple to launch as they do not need the development of complicated software to attack other systems. While the cyber-attacks have only been getting more sophisticated, safety mechanisms like passwords have stayed old fashioned. Today, businesses need to upgrade their cybersecurity systems and protect their networks and databases, and go for 2FA, biometric or other harder-to-crack mechanisms. 2020 could see organisations adopt new and sophisticated technologies to combat risks associated with weak passwords.
More power to data protection regulations
2019 saw a number of fines issued by the ICO and other European regulators to large businesses following data protection breaches. In 2020, regulations like GDPR, The California Consumer Privacy Act and PSD2 are expected to get harsher. We might also see announcements of codes of conduct specific to different business sectors like hospitality, aviation etc. All this will put pressure on businesses to make data security a top consideration at the board level.
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