Deepfakes, Cloudjacking and Double Extortion: Evolving Cyber Threats in 2020 to Keep and Eye on

By Ryan Klund - Business Development Associate

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth watching.

In May 2019, actor and funny man Bill Hader did a seemly innocuous interview on the Conan Obrien Show. The segment started off with some run-of-the-mill late-night banter. Obrien asks Hader about his Al Pacino impression and how he mastered it. Hader’s face instantly transforms into Godfather Pacino’s face, circa 1972. Later in the interview Hader describes his time working with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Deep fake technology smoothly transformed Hader’s face into Schwarzenegger’s.

This clip and others like it, including fake videos of Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Buscemi, range from entertaining to downright scary. Some have even predicted that the creation and use of Deep Fakes will wreak havoc on society.

In 2019 ransomware grabbed many headlines, and rightfully so, a report from Security Magazine says more than 150 million ransomware attacks were launched in just the first 3 quarters of 2019. Ransomware and malware continue to be threats in 2020. IT departments are still on their toes dealing with a constant barrage of phishing attacks, taking advantage of people’s fears during the pandemic.

In cybersecurity one thing that will always be the same, is that the threats are always evolving.

Here are three new cyberthreats to know about in 2020

  1.  Deep fakes might be the scariest trend to keep an eye on. Machine learning and AI have made the technology relatively easy to pull off. Consider the potential damage a well-timed, well-executed deep fake video could have on society.

    Experts have noted that deep fake technology is so widespread that no skills are required to create a Deep Fake, only $20 to pay for someone on the internet to make one for you. 
  2. Cloud Jacking or cloud hijacking is a cyber-attack on data stored in the cloud. In recent years it has been overwhelmingly decided that keeping data in the cloud is a safer bet than keeping it on on-premise servers.  Companies that were late to migrate to the cloud surely will be moving that direction after the 2020 pandemic forced many workforces to work from home.

    While the cloud is a more secure place to put data, it is not untouchable. In 2019, Capital One Bank suffered a cloud jacking attack that affected almost 100 million Americans.
  3. Double Extortion Ransomware is a ransomware tactic that started showing up in late 2019. Rather than a traditional extortion method where threat actors decrypt data in exchange for Bitcoin, criminals carrying out double extortion will release small amounts of your data to the dark web until ransom demands are met.

    Civic Smart, a Wisconsin company that makes smart parking meters, was the victim of a double extortion ransomware attack last year. Civic Smart did eventually pay the ransom to protect user data.

While all these emerging cyberthreats are scary, the most alarming cybersecurity trend for 2020 is that there aren’t enough cybersecurity professionals in the United States. According to the Center For Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs has grown by 50% since 2015 and by 2022 there will be more than 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs.

As each day passes, it becomes more important to protect your organization from old and new cyberthreats. Tools must be used to protect data from bad actors and employees must be trained to detect and avoid attacks.

At SWICKtech, we’ve collected some of the best technology talent in the Midwest and have an expert cybersecurity team right here in Wisconsin that can protect your organization from any threat in the business landscape.

We’d be happy to tell you more about how we can protect your business from any of these cyberthreats and others, in a free no-strings-attached consultation today.

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