10 Cyber Security Trends To Watch Going Into 2020

Cybersecurity breaches have become an ever-growing threat, with more types of attacks cropping up as the years pass by. With this increase of attack methods comes an increase in the kinds of cybersecurity procedures that are available to fight these attacks.

It’s certainly likely that the sorts of attacks that will occur in 2020 and later will be ones that could be recognized by current cybersecurity experts. This means that companies should exert their security-related resources towards working on security vulnerabilities that they have already assessed and accounted for.

These companies should keep track of the following 10 cybersecurity trends that are expected to occur in 2020.

1. A Rise in Automated Cyber Security

Automation is quickly becoming a staple of business modernization and is widely recognized as an advantageous factor in a company’s quest for improved cybersecurity.

Palo Alto Networks reports that many Information Technology (IT) security professionals and specialists actively use automated platforms and products within their companies or plan to use automation soon. The movement towards greater automation is meant to relieve some of the stress faced by low-staffed cybersecurity teams.

At present, the move to automation poses its issues that will need to be addressed by organizations in the future. Specifically, organizations implementing automation security solutions will have to seek out knowledgeable automation experts to properly and efficiently utilize those platforms.

2. The Advent of 5G

5G is continuing to develop network infrastructure and has done so since 2018.

With this increased development, there have been a rise in Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices that utilize 5G networks rather than merely relying on Wi-Fi networks.

Over time, these IoT devices will become completely defenseless from sophisticated hacking attempts, as the devices will not receive their internet connection through an encrypted router signal. The ability of a 5G network to reach cloud-based storage platforms will also create new, valuable targets for future attackers to breach and exploit.

3. Public Utility Development

Public utilities and infrastructure are crucial elements of an advanced economy and society.

Their importance makes them significant targets of cyber hackers and terrorists.

Utilities such as roadways, electricity, waste management and telecommunication provide vital services for the vast majority of people and governments across the world.

In spite of this, these individuals and agencies typically work with outdated and less efficient infrastructure models. Attempts to rectify these infrastructure issues and correct cybersecurity problems can create undesirable periods of service interruptions or downtimes.

The utilities of some countries are also tied up with private contractors and private utility providers, who typically are not capable of effectively handling a major cybersecurity threat.

The development of the public utilities to prevent exploitation by cybercriminals will certainly be something to watch for in 2020.

4. AI Attack Mobilization

Malicious hackers and cyber attackers will not be satisfied with merely attacking the artificial intelligence (AI) systems and platforms of organizations.

Cyber attackers will begin to mobilize AI, exploiting the increased efficiency and versatility of AI-enhanced automation to their data breaching exploits.

AI-powered automated systems could evaluate organizational systems and networks, noting previously unforeseen vulnerabilities and taking advantage of them.

AI can be incorporated into social engineering and phishing attacks, creating seemingly credible emails and videos that can scam unfortunate individuals of information, resources or money. Malevolently used AI could even be used to carry out believable misinformation campaigns.

5. AI Defense Mobilization

Machine learning technologies are already being used to identify and protect networks and companies against cyber threats. AI can be mobilized for the protection of IT networks and frameworks as well as for attacks. AI platforms can track and correct vulnerabilities, strengthening networks against future attacks.

An AI platform could be used to simulate progressively challenging attacks to identify a previously unknown vulnerability that can be corrected before a malicious force finds the same issue.

6. Shadow IT Assets

According to McAfee MVISION Cloud – Skyhigh Networks, Shadow IT is a suite of IT applications or functions that are operated outside of the IT department without their explicit knowledge. Shadow IT is increasingly raising non-IT technology expenditures, as it has made organizations more productive.

However, the increased use of Shadow IT will also make it a prime target for cyber attackers in 2020. Organizations will have to address their organizational culture’s use and protection of Shadow IT assets to safeguard themselves from Shadow IT vulnerabilities.

7. Software Supply Chain Exploitation

Software supply chains are a regular target of cyber-attacks, with malware being sent along with legitimate software bundles. Cybersecurity experts from vpnAlert note that many organizations lack processes for fully vetting all of the vendors and third-parties that they work with.

The attacks can be orchestrated during the software generation stage at a vendor’s facility or when the software is being handled by a third-party. The software exploitation usually involves the attacker including malware into a legitimate software update, granting the attacker access to data connected to the computer network once the update is accepted by an end-user.

8. Capturing Online Data Traffic

In 2020, cyber attackers will target IoT applications, home routers and other data centers to gain access to some of the data going through these technologies.

Malware affecting these applications could record credit card numbers, spam a victim with malicious websites, steal secure banking information or access personal and proprietary information. Organizations are implementing methods to prevent these data breaches, such as not storing credit card CVV numbers to better protect eCommerce databases.

Cyber attackers will certainly seek out new ways to gain unauthorized access to sensitive data and buyer information while it is in transit.

9. Cloud-Based Security

In 2020, the majority of deals involving CASBs, cloud-based access security brokers, will be bundled together with web application firewalls (WAFs), secure web gateways (SWGs) and network firewall technologies. As clients and organizations move their data and services to the cloud and consider bundled cloud services, they should investigate each bundle’s application deployment guide.

10. Increased Cyber Security Spending

Expect cybersecurity spending to rise in 2020. Spending on cybersecurity solutions across the globe has increased steadily each year, with spending on software and hardware for cybersecurity spending growing past $100 billion in just 2019.

This increased spending is expected as organizations put higher amounts of resources into their cybersecurity solutions. The US is expected to be the largest individual cybersecurity market, with spending estimated to reach somewhere close to $45 billion by the end of 2019.

7 Ways Hackers and Scammers Are Exploiting Coronavirus Panic

“Every country in the world has seen at least one COVID-19 themed attack,” said Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 Security. These attacks, however, account for less than 2% of all attacks analyzed by Microsoft on a daily basis.

“Our data shows that these COVID-19 themed threats are retreads of existing attacks that have been slightly altered to tie to this pandemic,” Lefferts added. “This means we’re seeing a changing of lures, not a surge in attacks.”

1 — Mobile Malware

Check Point Research uncovered at least 16 different mobile apps, which claimed to offer information related to the outbreak but instead contained malware, including adware (Hiddad) and banker Trojans (Cerberus), that stole users’ personal information or generated fraudulent revenues from premium-rate services.

“Skilled threat actors are exploiting people’s concerns about coronavirus to spread mobile malware, including Mobile Remote Access Trojans (MRATs), banker trojans, and premium dialers, via apps which claim to offer Coronavirus-related information and help for users,”

2 — Email Phishing

In a separate report published today and shared with Salam Digital, cybersecurity firm Group-IB claims to have found that most COVOD-19 related phishing emails came with AgentTesla (45%), NetWire (30%), and LokiBot (8%) embedded as attachments, thereby allowing the attacker to steal personal and financial data.

Email Phishing

The emails, which were sent between February 13 and April 1, 2020, masqueraded as health advisories from the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other international agencies and companies such as Maersk, Pekos Valves, and CISCO.

3 — Discounted off-the-shelf Malware

Group-IB’s research also found more than 500 posts on underground forums where users offered coronavirus discounts and promotional codes on DDoS, spamming, and other malware services.

This is consistent with Check Point Research’s earlier findings of hackers promoting their exploit tools on the darknet with ‘COVID19’ or ‘coronavirus’ as discount codes.

4 — SMS Phishing

The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also issued a joint advisory about fake SMS messages from senders such as “COVID” and “UKGOV” which contain a link to phishing sites.

sms scam

“In addition to SMS, possible channels include WhatsApp and other messaging services,” CISA cautioned.

5 — Face Mask and Hand Sanitizer Scams

Europol recently arrested a 39-year-old man from Singapore for allegedly attempting to launder cash generated from a business email scam (BEC) by posing as a legitimate company that advertised the fast delivery of FFP2 surgical masks and hand sanitizers.

Face Coronavirus Mask and Hand Sanitizer Scam

An unnamed pharmaceutical company, based in Europe, was defrauded out of €6.64 million after the items were never delivered, and the supplier became uncontactable. Europol had previously seized €13 million in potentially dangerous drugs as part of a counterfeit medicine trafficking operation.

6 — Malicious Software

As people increasingly work from home and online communication platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams become crucial, threat actors are sending phishing emails that include malicious files with names such as “zoom-us-zoom_##########.exe” and “microsoft-teams_V#mu#D_##########.exe” in a bid to trick people into downloading malware on their devices.

7 — Ransomware Attacks

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) warned member countries that cybercriminals are attempting to target major hospitals and other institutions on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 with ransomware.

“Cybercriminals are using ransomware to hold hospitals and medical services digitally hostage, preventing them from accessing vital files and systems until a ransom is paid,” Interpol said.

Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus Threats Online

“Malicious cyber actors are continually adjusting their tactics to take advantage of new situations, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” CISA said.

“Malicious cyber actors are using the high appetite for COVID-19-related information as an opportunity to deliver malware and ransomware, and to steal user credentials. Individuals and organizations should remain vigilant.”

The NCSC has offered guidance on what to look out for when opening coronavirus-themed emails and text messages that contain links to such fake websites.

In general, avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments, and do not make meetings public and ensure they are protected by passwords to prevent videoconferencing hijacking.


Why does my website get no traffic from Google?

If you’re reading this article, chances are that your website is feeling lonely and you’re in search of a solution to increase traffic from SEO. Whilst likely that you are doing something wrong; do not fear as you are not alone! In fact, according to a recent search traffic AHREFs study, over 91% of all content on the internet gets no traffic at all!

From simple fixes to on-going medication for your website, we’ve compiled an infographic with the top 15 reasons why your website is getting no traffic from Google. Time to put your website in the top 9%.

Why You Don’t Get Traffic From Google

At times Google can be a fickle creature. Although most of the time it operates exactly as it’s designed to, with businesses either too inflexible or uninterested in learning and leveraging the world’s most powerful platform. The reason why you get no traffic from Google will stem from issues surrounding SEO, content or technical flaws. For more businesses than not, it may just be all three that are holding you back. If you’re looking at another month of dismal web traffic numbers, stop wondering where it is all going wrong and start diagnosing and correcting those issues.


We’ve all been the bearer of our fair share of 404’s, but these issues should hopefully be quite infrequent. The goods news? Correcting these issues will have an immediate benefit to your website, setting yourself up to facilitate traffic and house your content. The bad news? If you are not deep in the detail or hanging out in the backend, some of these technical issues might not readily present themselves and can continue to wreak havoc undetected.

Technical issues that may be causing no traffic from Google are:

  • Poor code structure
  • Your website is set to ‘no index’
  • Your website has been hacked
  • Your hosting server is down
  • You are using ‘free hosting’ or a free domain


Second only to the technical running of your website is your SEO. SEO is the gatekeeper to traffic from Google, with many businesses underestimating the three letter acronym. If your website is SEO challenged then Google will not deem it to be an authoritative source in its field. What that means for you, is that even the sleekest web design and greatest content will not assist with visibility or allow your website to climb the ranks. Resist SEO compliance at your own risk, or choose to optimise your website to a position where Google is working with you to put your page and business in front of the right customers.

SEO challenges that may be causing no traffic from Google are:

  • Bad SEO practices from a provider in the past
  • There’s a problem with your backlink profile
  • You have multiple websites for the same business
  • You have not set up google analytics
  • Broken 301 redirects


Content failures are particularly painful for businesses as there shouldn’t be any excuse for it. While an SEO agency will advise on a superior content strategy, there is nothing stopping internal resources from transforming a website with relevant and keyword-rich content. With unrivalled knowledge of your business landscape and the ins and outs of customer pain points, your team should set about designing a content narrative that will support your SEO outlook.

Missed content opportunities that may be causing no traffic from Google are:

  • Your site doesn’t have any information
  • Your Google Business page is vacant and not optimised
  • All your content is plagiarized
  • Your website is hard to navigate
  • Your on-page is not optimised

Less head scratching and more optimisation will see a significant shift in the traffic you generate from Google. Each technical, SEO and content issues can be approached in tandem so that you make incremental improvements as time goes on. Finding an SEO agency that has mastered these areas will allow for a faster diagnosis and recovery plan, getting you competing again for the top spot.

Using AI and Analytics to Predict Consumer Behavior

Predictive solutions are a necessity for today’s markets. Machine learning, Deep learning, Big Data and Artificial Analysis (AI) are all part of solutions that can predict consumer behavior.

How to predict consumer behavior with Big Data and AI
Over the years, companies have made use of effective marketing strategies such as monitoring social media and other online platforms to reach out to consumers and find out how best to serve them. Now that more than enough data has been collected from these sources, there arises the need to make use of it, for instance, to predict consumer behavior days and even months from now. Anticipating consumer needs is made possible through Big Data and advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Forecasting consumer behavior is realized through merging Big Data with AI. According to predictions from Forrester, there will be increased adoption of Big Data and AI among 70% of businesses globally; this is a 51% increase than in 2017. Let’s get into how Big Data and AI can predict consumer behavior.

Levels of Predictions

  • Emotional and Intent Analysis

It refers to a solution that can identify the emotion behind the experience and the intent behind consumer actions

  • Segment Patterns
  • Segmenting customers into small groups based on actual behaviors instead of only looking at aggregate data;
  • Tacking customer 

on how they move among different segments over time including different customer lifecycle context instead of looking just at the actual segment do not considering how they arrived there.

  • Future Actions

This enables a company to predict that if a particular experience occurs, the client will act in a certain manner

Decision making is no longer based on guessing or inaccurate surveys and studies conducted on selected groups of people. The progress made in Big Data analytics using AI simplifies companies’ decision making processes in real time. Big Data can be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured, and in these forms, it can be difficult to interpret effectively by the human mind. AI systems use algorithms to break down and make sense of Big Data into actionable insight which contributes to a more mature decision-making process by businesses.

Social media is growing into a significant tool for monitoring customer needs, satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and overall behavior. Big Data and AI better customer experience by predicting what they will want in the near future. Companies can easily enhance a product or service, do away with it, or introduce a new and better one altogether all based on the information gathered from AI analytics. Big Data and AI yield more relevant and creative solutions for consumers before they even know it. They are certainly a must-have for modern businesses today.


Why is SEO so important?

Your website is an important part of your business and you need to develop trust and integrity for the search engines to like you.

Many SEO agencies in Ontario try to convince business owners and brands that SEO is important for their potential customers to be able to find them.

It’s important for customers who hire digital agencies to run their marketing to learn about the importance and benefits of getting their assets SEOed – optimised for search engines. It’s not just about your organic visibility on search engines, there is more to SEO than just that. As I’ve been running SEO campaigns for years through various digital marketing agencies, in this post I’ll be explaining my vision towards SEO.

1: Traffic Source

 Have a quick look into your Google Analytics property, you’ll probably need that organic traffic is the top traffic source (unless your SEO company is doing a really bad job). Organic traffic is super powerful when it comes to returning visitors looking to complete a conversion, and most often it is one of the most seen in the client’s path to conversion when looking at Multi-Channel Funnels. In Ontario, many small businesses refer to SEO as “I want my website to show first on Google”, ignoring other search engines, but it’s honestly fair since Google owns the majority of market share in Ontario. Other search engines though should be considered in SEO campaigns, as they will definitely have a contribution (it could be minimal though). When you think Google, think about the most visited website globally, so you definitely don’t want to miss out. Being listed there is definitely a good trust signal for potential customers looking online, which is a great benefit to the brand’s recognition.

2: Trust and Credibility

Experienced SEO specialists work on establishing trust signals to search engines, but there is an important fact that explains why quick SEO doesn’t just work: authority is earned and built over time, it just doesn’t happen instantly by starting to engage an SEO company to work on your website. Agencies offering quality SEO services will work on optimising the website to provide a better user experience, adding quality content, needing relevant backlinks and many other tasks on an SEO setup program. SEO simply requires commitment, patience and definitely a good SEO provider.

3: UX (User Experience)

We have touched on user experience before, but many customers don’t realise how a good UX can push their organic rankings higher. Google is all-in when it comes to providing a better user experience, so having a website that provides a positive experience is a pivotal factor to achieve good rankings. A website should ideally provide what customers are looking for without their having to keep looking for it! It’s just like when you search online on Google – it does its best to offer the answers readily on SERPs without having to click any further. Better user experience doesn’t just mean good SEO; it means your website’s conversion rate is optimised.

4: Local SEO

With many customers searching from mobile, they are expecting local businesses to show up first, especially for SMBs providing a local service. From a simple optimised Google Maps listing to optimising websites for specific locations, your SEO company will work to get you in front of your customers when they are searching. A local campaign could be from as small as focusing on a specific suburb, up to a region, town or state. Getting online citations from local directories definitely helps the overall local SEO strategy, especially on websites like Yellow Pages, White Pages, Pink Pages, Yelp and others. It’s also a trust signal for customers that this company is not a scam, but rather a well-established business.

5: SEO Is Not a One-o Service

The SEO best practices that were in place in 2000 are not the same as 2015 or 2019. With the ever-changing SEO algorithms employed by the search engines, what worked last year might not work so well this year. If your SEO provider is not pro-actively working on maintaining the rankings you’ve achieved, those rankings are not guaranteed to remain there for long. We need that many customers take their rankings for granted so they can stop paying for an SEO package. Google makes thousands of algorithms updated every year, so your SEO is never future-proofed.

6: Think ROI

SEO is a relatively cheap service. It costs money just like everything else in our world, but when you think about the return on investment it really does pay o very well. Your monthly SEO payment is a great investment as it’s not simply a marketing cost, but rather a true business investment. Many business owners sell their businesses at a higher price because they can see guaranteed leads coming through that are not affected by the auction model of PPC campaigns like Google Ads.

You can easily measure the success of your SEO campaigns as it is measurable, just like everything digital is. Your SEO company should be sending you ranking reports on a regular basis, as well as organic traffic reports with analysis and insights.

The Bottom Line

 If you’re not on page one for the search terms your audience would use, you’re not winning the click. Remember that the first three organic search ranking positions result in nearly 40 percent of all click-throughs.

What It Means to be a CMO in 2020

The role of Chief Marketing Officer is a coveted one in the marketing and business space and one that is rapidly changing as consumer expectations evolve.

Put the customer first and align the business smarts behind it 

The primary objective of a CMO is understanding how to bring together the customers, your business knowledge and your team to the table to hit the business’s objectives, and operating at the intersection of all three. Focusing on the customer and their needs over the business politics is what’s going to have the most value long term. This is why we’re seeing titles like ‘Chief Growth Officer’ gaining popularity. After all, the fundamental purpose of the role is to expand new business opportunities, which will always come back to the customer.

Collaboration and communication are key

The day-to-day life of a CMO will vary depending on the size of the organisation, but one of the most important aspects of the role is ensuring collaboration and communication within the company and within your team. As a leader, outstanding communication and interpersonal skills will be crucial to developing and executing new initiatives and delivering consistent marketing messaging. An important part of the role is facilitating conversations between different functions of the business to find answers to problems and identify new ways to generate revenue for the organisation as a whole. 

Data is like money – it doesn’t mean anything until you use it

At the core, a CMO must understand Analytics, Data and Insights. From there, you can broaden your knowledge about Always On, Strategic Models, Deep Digital, Spending Your Own Money, Learning to Learn, Incremental Growth – and finally Culture, Finance and Governance.

Clients and even marketers themselves can often get confused by the volume of data out there. The job of the CMO and marketing agencies as a whole is to help people navigate through the data and pick out what’s most valuable for their business. 

Disrupt yourselves before somebody else does 

One of the most common questions a CMO can ask themselves is “are we going big enough?”. Generally, you’ll know if you’re on the right track if you’re evolving along with your competitors and continuing to innovate around them. This doesn’t mean copying what they’re doing, but rather building in systems to ensure you’re consistently innovating and keeping on top of industry trends to stay ahead of the curve. 

Beware of the ‘Drug of Discounting’ 

A common pitfall of the CMO is getting caught up in a cycle of continuously discounting your products or services to the point where you rely on it to get results. This generally happens in four stages:

  1. Experimental Stage – Let’s try out some discounting, and see how it goes.
  2. Social Stage – Everyone else is doing it (e.g. Black Friday, Click Frenzy), so we should too. 
  3. Instrumental Stage – We’re starting to use discounting often to hit our revenue targets.
  4. Compulsive Stage – We’re completely reliant on discounting as a means to an end.

The danger of frequently and heavily discounting your products is that it will eventually end up detracting from your brand, which can be particularly detrimental for high-end or luxury names. To avoid this, make sure you bring it back to the customer and what they expect to see from your brand. As long as you’re meeting their needs and getting positive feedback from what you’re doing, there’s no need to resort to discounting at every opportunity that arises.

Key Tips:

After a great evening of networking and panel discussion, the speakers shared these final key tips for those looking to pursue the CMO role:

  • ‘The Rule of 7’ – You need to say the same message seven whole times before someone hears you.
  • Show your opinion through data.
  • Find your favourite models and master them.
  • Be brave and take risks. Success comes from patiently seeking solutions despite the chaos around you.
  • If you’re going for a CMO role, don’t just show how you’d do the job, show where you would take the job.

With Salam Digital

Form confident and innovative strategies with datadriven decisions. Harness the power of data analytics to understand your customers, competitors, and brand.

Contact our Team Now

error: Content is protected !!