Why 2020 Has Been a Bad Year for Cybersecurity

This year has certainly been unprecedented — from political debates to natural disasters to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Central to it all has been how we interact with technology, how it is at the center of day-to-day life and how proper cybersecurity practices are necessary in keeping ourselves and others safe.

Now, 2020 is being called the “worst year in cybersecurity history.”

Security firm Bitedefender released its 2020 Business Threat Landscape report that declared this year the worst ever for cybersecurity, warning that “many firms still aren’t ready to protect themselves,” according to Techradar.

Why exactly is this being considered such a bad year for cybersecurity? The report states that the “new normal” we’ve all found ourselves in, of working remotely, actually put businesses in a difficult position where they had to go in overdrive to ensure their systems and employees were protected.

The data shows that 50 percent of companies were “completely unprepared” for a reality where all business suddenly had to migrate outside the office. It was found that small businesses had difficulty adjusting to these shifting norms and shielding themselves from attacks.

This year is unique among all others. The kinds of attacks companies have faced have been tied directly to the challenges brought about by 2020. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), for instance, has been putting more effort to protect healthcare organizations and UK-based hospitals against cyberattacks in the COVID-19 era.

Tech publication ZDNet reports on the NCSC Annual Review, which shows the British government has managed more than 200 “cyber incidents” tied to the coronavirus outbreak this year. This is nearly one-third of the total incidents it was called on to address.

“The second half of the year for us, as it has for everyone else, has been dominated by the response to COVID,” said Lindy Cameron, CEO of the NCSC, told ZDNet. ”What we’ve done as an organization is really pivot towards the health sector to try and give them the best support we can in thinking about their cyber defense to let them focus on responding to the pandemic,” she added.

When it comes to the future, Bitedefender states that the problems plaguing cybersecurity firms in 2020 are likely to continue into 2021. Continued lockdowns due to COVID-19 outbreaks and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal activities will keep everyone on high alert well after we ring in a new year on January 1.

“The threat landscape for businesses during the first half of 2020 has changed considerably in terms of attack surface, threats, and challenges brought forward by the global coronavirus pandemic. Organizations that learn to adapt by understanding these new trends, will have the opportunity to both increase their cybersecurity resilience and strengthen their business continuity,” the Bitdefender’s report reads.

Published by Peter Cavicchia

Peter Cavicchia is a retired U.S. Secret Service Senior Executive, now Chairman of the security consulting firm Strategic Services International LLC. https://petecavicchia.com/

%d bloggers like this: