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Arctic Wolf Networks 2020 Predictions: SMBs Beware - Everyone Will be a Target in 2020

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Sam McLane, Chief Technology Services Officer at Arctic Wolf Networks

SMBs Beware - Everyone Will be a Target in 2020

Companies big and small face security challenges that threaten to uproot entire operations everyday. From ransomware and increased privacy litigation, to the risks of adopting a cloud based infrastructure, 2020 will undoubtedly usher in a new era of uncertainty that cyber professionals need to be prepared for.

Companies of all sizes will have a target on their backs heading into the new year, with these major threats and trends emerging as top concerns:

With the ransomware window possibly closing, hackers will loot organizations like kids attacking piñatas with baseball bats

With more than 600 ransomware attacks plaguing the industry in 2019, organizations will desperately adopt new tools and solutions in an effort to dodge the onslaught. However, adversaries will see the door closing, and a widespread free-for-all will break out before the current round of tools closes. Among the disarray, these hackers will do as much damage as possible in order to hold themselves over until the next backdoor is opened and they can clean out organizations once more. 

More specifically, adversaries will place a large target on traditionally weaker environments with a lack of backup and restore procedures. Organizations such as hospitals, nursing homes, extended care facilities and the like will find themselves the victims of targeted attacks, and as long as they keep paying, the attacks will keep coming. With medication, confidential patient data and more at risk, the attacks will remain simple as adversaries will leverage scalable campaigns with seemingly reasonable requests that targeted organizations can justify paying due to the potentially dire implications of going unresolved.  

Cyber concerns for small companies will outpace those by large enterprises for the first time

As the level of sophistication in ransomware attacks and breaches becomes increases, small companies will realize that they now also have targets on their backs. Breaches are steadily becoming inevitable, and the question will evolve from a matter of if to when. Events of the past year, such as the coordinated ransomware attacks across 22 Texas towns, undoubtedly caused a paradigm shift. The belief that companies with under 1,500 employees are safe because they're "too small" for attackers to care will go out the window, and customers will shift their focus to the solutions that most effectively detect, contain, and remediate to minimize the blast radius before too much damage is done.

Half-baked cloud adoption will cause organizations to self-sabotage security 

Many organizations are stuck in various stages of hybrid cloud development. While their intentions to switch to the cloud mean well, these efforts can cause self-inflicted damage to their overall security posture without proper deployment. Throughout the day-to-day distractions, projects get put on hold and monitoring/response protocols do not get properly set up. Things like loose permissions, hard-coded or lost passwords, and configuration drift will migrate from on-premises to cloud environments. This leaves a big hole that brings direct linkage to connected devices, which will become especially threatening in 2020 as the 5G revolution continues to unfold. Organizations will need to prioritize cloud adoption before it's too late and they become the next Capital One. 

The outputs of data privacy legislation will move from the state house to the courthouse 

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other data privacy legislation gaining traction, 2020 will start to see the consequences of these laws come to fruition. Previously, not enough litigation existed for there to be a firm understanding of what these industry standards will mean for practitioners, but as these regulations go into effect we will begin to see these cases fleshed out in court rooms. Judges and juries will be forced to interpret the written law, and what was once more an abstract set of guidelines will have real world consequences as precedents are set; case by case. 

Cyberwarfare will become the battleground of 2020

As cyberattacks increasingly become the favored weapon for nation state threat actors, it's clear that cyber is quickly becoming the new frontier when it comes to international war games. As we've seen with the role its already played in elections and the rise of "fake news", it's apparent that cyberwarfare will be used more and more to replace traditional methods of conflict. Nation and state sponsored attacks, as well as cyber crimes, will continue to threaten aging infrastructures, trade deals, elections and more. In 2020, world leaders will have to evolve as methods of war shift from the battlefield to the cyber realm.

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About the Author

Sam McLane 

Sam McLane is the lead evangelist for all technical endeavors at Arctic Wolf, bringing over 25 years of security and product management experience to the team. Prior to joining Arctic Wolf, Sam led product management and other sales functions for Blue Coat Systems' Cloud Security Services business. Before Blue Coat, Sam was a sales leader at Lucent Technologies, managing the system engineering team for the eastern US. Prior to Lucent, Sam was a networking consultant at KPMG and network manager at Temple University. Sam holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from Temple University and a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Washington and Lee University.

Published Wednesday, December 04, 2019 7:21 AM by David Marshall
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