Cyber Risks in 2020 and How to Secure Your Device

In 2019, Facebook and Whatsapp suffered serious data compromises that threatened to expose millions of their users’ details. Scams, data breaches, fraud, and hacking are all too common in this technological age. We use our smart devices for calls, messaging, social media, online banking, and shopping. This means that in 2020, we need to secure all our devices, from tablets, smartphones, and laptops from malicious actors. Some of the cyber risks to our devices include:

● Machine Learning Poisoning

Machine learning systems are algorithms that make decisions based on the data fed to them. Machine learning poisoning is intentionally feeding a machine-learning algorithm the wrong data to mislead it into making poor decisions.

● AI-enhanced Cyber-threats

In a few years, hackers will be making use of AI to improve their hacking techniques. AI-supported attacks will be performed by automation. This automation will significantly help the attackers since the machine does not need to take a break to eat or sleep. AI-driven attacks will be customized and allow hackers to access information from different sources to identify their victims.

● Ransomware

Ransomware is a malware type that encrypts your devices, making them inaccessible. The hackers ask for a ransom fee in exchange for a decryption key, mostly in cryptocurrency, to prevent them from being tracked by authorities. Ransomware infects your devices by taking advantage of network, software, and human vulnerabilities.

A ransomware gang is known as Sodinokibi, or REvil, who demanded $6m, attacked Travelex, a foreign currency specialist. The gang claimed to have accessed the company’s network at least six months before the attack and had already downloaded 5GB worth of customer data.

How to protect your devices

1. Install a VPN

Buying a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will save you a lot of grief by encrypting your data using the AES-256, an encryption standard used by the US government and banks to protect sensitive data. A VPN provides your device with a virtual location, which ensures hackers do not find out your actual location. Some free VPN apps do not provide proper security. They justify their free services by selling user data to third parties. Make sure you do your research before installing one.

2. Vulnerability scanners

Vulnerability scanners thoroughly inspect your network and devices for any vulnerable spots. The scanner detects and grades all the security weaknesses in your devices and system, and proceeds to predict how effective your countermeasures against the threats are.

3. Email security

Email security includes procedures that protect the contents of your email and shields you from access from unauthorized individuals. Email service providers have security measures that protect all accounts under their care from malicious actors. These protection measures include email servers bolstered with access control mechanisms, encrypted email content, sent and received, robust passwords, firewalls, and spam software.


Hacking techniques have become more sophisticated, and you have to keep improving your security continuously. Since hackers have made it their lives’ mission to steal your data, you have to make it your life’s mission and keep them at bay. Every day, there is a new version of the same scam or malware, and any momentary lax on your end can cause untold losses.