Ian Snow, MD at CT, looks at the biggest cybersecurity threats moving into 2020

With 2019 ending, companies are having to prepare for the cyber threats they’ll face in 2020. Attackers are constantly looking for new exploits to defraud and damage companies, but older strategies remain amongst the most common types of threats. Whilst many may not be new, they are increasing in frequency and more cleverly targeted.


According to the 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report, a business falls for a ransomware attack every 14 seconds. Ransomware is delivered by email and renders all data inaccessible – essentially locking you out of your device. Attackers typically demand payment to release the files. There has been a growth of ‘targeted’ attacks on critical files and systems within organisations.

Disconnect your device from the network to reduce the number of files lost. Contact an IT expert to investigate how and why the attack happened. Once determined, ensure good malware protection is installed and regularly carry out data backups to prevent future attacks.


A term meaning to ‘fish’ for passwords and financial data, is one of the most common methods of cyber-attack. Scammers pose as trustworthy businesses or services to gain sensitive information. The point of vulnerability here is most often human. It can be hard to spot as phishing emails/messages often look convincing. If you do receive a suspicious email, don’t respond, and take immediate action. You or your IT support should run anti-virus on the device, change all passwords for accounts using the password captured and contact the company or person impersonated.

To prevent phishing, be suspicious of unexpected emails, keep spam filters turned on and check them regularly.

Advanced Persistent Threats (APT)

APTs are a sophisticated form of cyber-attack where a hacker enters a system network and remains there undetected. Systems aren’t damaged but, instead, financial and security information is stolen.  APTs are hard to detect but installing a Firewall to block unauthorised access to your systems is crucial to identify it, as is updated antivirus software.

With luck, if affected by an APT, you’ll discover it sooner rather than later but if not, take all affected systems offline and restore them from a clean backup.


A botnet is effectively a ‘robot network’. Collections of internet-connected devices that have been compromised there are used to initiate attacks on websites, steal private information and deploy malware. Botnets are free to access entire networks once a device is infected so look for strange emails, pop-ups or software downloads.

Devices connected to the internet are vulnerable to attack but taking precautions can help keep them away. Keep software updated, avoid suspicious links and downloads and install antivirus covering multiple devices.

Be prepared

Businesses are susceptible to a cyber-attack no matter the size. Having a back-up and recovery plan is crucial and so is training your team. Most attacks arise from human error and are managed by an IT support specialist which can constantly monitor threats and remain up to date with the latest methods being used by hackers.

For more information on protecting your business call 01246 266 130 or visit www.ct.uk.