Morgan Wright, Chief Security Advisor, SentinelOne
The next ransomware attacker jackpot. We’ve seen countless attacks on public school districts and higher ed providers in 2019 which will likely continue, but I expect research institutes to increasingly be in the crosshairs in the coming year. Research institutes hold tremendous amounts of sensitive data that can be criminally monetized and are notorious for disproportionate resource spending. Attackers will use automation to find vulnerabilities and exploit those who are spending on non-security personnel and neglecting security technology.

Hospitality is another industry I expect to be targeted more frequently in 2020. Because of its reliance on point-of-sale equipment and excess spending on advanced analytics to make the customer experience more personalized opposed to defense investments, attacker points of entry are susceptible.

Other industries include TV stations and media outlets, logistics/shipping/transportation, and the energy grid and utilities. Just imagine how quickly an energy or utility company will lean on its insurance policy if people do not have access to power or water. Currently, the U.S. energy grid is a fragmented structure, making a nation-wide attack extremely difficult to carry out.  However, if the consolidation trend continues, I expect targeted ransomware attacks. Albeit not ransomware, only weeks ago we saw the first-ever cyberattack successfully disrupt operations for a U.S. energy provider and just look at what Russia did to Ukraine in 2015. Where money is to be made ransomware will follow.

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