US-Iran military aggression will spark more nation-state cyber warfare throughout 2020. The US presidential election will see increased cybersecurity issues. AI will be used offensively for the first time. Attackers will target cloud environments as an alternative to malware. 2020 will see cyber attackers target edge computing and IoT.

Listed below are the leading TMT trends in cybersecurity, as identified by GlobalData.

A world awash with cyberattacks

A year that began with military aggression between Iran and the US, action that likely resulted in cyber reprisals, will end with a US presidential election. The last US election was riven with arguments over Russian influence and 2020’s elections will be no different. Respect for individuals’ data privacy will be expendable with an election to be won.

Ransomware will make it another difficult year for smart cities

Over 40 US towns and cities suffered cyberattacks in 2019, with Baltimore a notable casualty of ransomware. 2020 will continue to see attacks on public services and state and local governments around the world. Those cities that have cyber insurance may find themselves being targeted precisely because they can pay.

Offensive AI creates a nightmare scenario

Until now, AI and machine learning have been used in a defensive capacity to identify and detect attack vectors from several data points. In 2020, cyber attackers will adopt AI offensively to analyse organisations’ defense mechanisms while simulating behavioural patterns to bypass security controls and then use analytics and machine learning to hack into organisations.

Cloud security posture management will enter the mainstream

As cloud delivery models become increasingly complex, effective management of cloud environments is essential to prevent the exposure of sensitive data. Cloud security posture management (CSPM) tools will be used in 2020 to identify and resolve cloud risks across public cloud environments and to provide security, compliance, and risk capabilities.

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By GlobalData

Cybersecurity skills shortage will not abate

The number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs will increase in the coming years. IoT devices and edge computing, an integral component of enterprise IT infrastructure in 2020, are key threat areas in 2020, according to GlobalData’s Jobs Analytics database.

Zero trust will make progress in 2020

Perimeter-based security architectures provide insufficient defense against attacks where hackers gain the access rights of an administrator or privileged user. Zero trust assumes that whatever entity, an insider or outsider, trying to gain access is untrustworthy until verified otherwise. GlobalData estimates cybersecurity spending to top $131bn, with zero trust and privileged access management to be key growth areas.

This is an edited extract from the TMT Predictions 2020 – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.