With 2019 almost finished, both users and businesses are starting to prepare for the cyber threats they will have to combat in 2020. Hackers are continuously looking for new strategies and ways to cheat and defraud victims, so we have to know what threats we will face in the next year to look out and be ready to defend. This week, we’ll count down the top 5 Cybersecurity Threats

THREAT #5: RANSOMWARE

“Your data has been encrypted with the strong military algorithm; our special decoder is a must to restore the data. You have to pay within 3 days or you will never get your files back. Tick-Tock!”

Above is an excerpt from a ransom note people all over the world received from hackers who had managed to penetrate their computer system. Ransomware, a type of malware that threatens to block access to the victim’s data or publish it unless a ransom is paid, is big business. In 2019, the number of such attacks in the USA grew dramatically. For example, in July, the whole city of Riviera Beach, Flordia was paralyzed due to a virus that was traced back to a single city council clerk’s computer. The city was forced to pay $600,000 to hackers as to release their system

ransomware-nhs

In 2020, ransomware will is expected to become more targeted. Businesses, not individuals, will remain the primary victims of such attacks: local governments, healthcare organizations, and financial companies – the more damage criminals can inflict, the higher ransom they can demand.  But organizations and companies are fighting back. For example, The No More Ransom project helped more than 200,000 victims to decrypt their data without paying a ransom.  The only way to really protect yourself is to avoid ransomware entirely.

Never click on suspicious links in emails even from someone you know, make backups regularly, use strong antivirus software and do not forget to keep it up to date, and never ever trust anyone on the Internet.

THREAT #4: CRYPTOJACKERS

Over the past year, crypto attacks became one of the most fast-growing threats. Having gone through the roof in 2017, cryptocurrency is now developing faster than anyone could predict. Obviously, cybercriminals could not miss the opportunity to steal or generate as many bitcoins as possible.

Mining is the only way to get it, without buying it. But mining uses a lot of computer resources. Cryptojackers would rather use your computer’s resources.

There are two types of cryptojackers attacks – one of them is a web-based script that penetrates a system when the victim visits a malicious website and the other is attached to common malware that infects your computer. The attack is not easy to identify, although it slows down a PC’s speed. The best way to protect your system from such attacks is using special browser extensions like No Coin or Miner Block.

THREAT #3: DDOS-ATTACKS

DDoS-attacks will remain one of the biggest threats in 2020. Hackers attack servers overloading them with tons of traffic making them inaccessible to legitimate requests. DDoS attacks are not necessarily sophisticated, but they can easily ruin a company’s reputation as well as its financial stability.

Why do hackers use DDoS? Some of them do it just for entertainment, some criminals pursue political or commercial agenda. For example, they can influence elections or hamper the growth of a competitor’s company. DDoS is also a perfect shielding for other crimes. While webmasters are busy with fixing the bug, criminals could be accessing valuable files on the server.

THREAT #2: CONNECTED THINGS

The growth of smart speakers and other smart home tech is intimidating. Unfortunately, there are security gaps in technology due the absence of standardization and user negligence.  Smart devices experience an average of 5,200 attacks per month.

In 2018, the Mirai botnet showed that smart bulbs, cameras, locks, routers, and even baby monitors are capable of being used to arrange for a large-scale attack. Hackers have realized that getting access to a computer is harder due to a general awareness of the threat. But they can sneak unto a vacuum cleaner or coffee maker to eavesdrop, trace, spy, and steal.

THREAT #1: CROSS-SITE SCRIPTING

XSS-attacks will remain on the front burner in 2020. The problem is so important that Google pays a $10,000 reward for those who detect a cross-site scripting vulnerability.

Here’s how they work: as soon as the victim visits a malicious site with built-in javascript, the virus steals data from the browser. From then onward, the hacker knows anything about the victims’ activity on the Web.

To convince a user to click on the page, cybercriminals can apply various tricks, for example, they can send an email from a “system administrator”. The letter can have a strong resemblance to an official one, even the sender’s address can be the same.

Have you ever experienced a cyberattack? Let us know in the comments

~ Dean Chester

Author`s bio: Dean Chester is a tech enthusiast, computer geek, and founder of www.cooltechzone.com. This site was created as a non-profit project; it neither sells anything nor advertises any IT product. Together with his brother, Dean is struggling for the internet that is open, globally connected, trustworthy, secure and available to everyone.