Predicting the future is tricky, especially after a year like 2020. While nothing is certain, here are five safe bets for 2021:

  1. Deepfakes will be easier to make and more widespread: While deepfakes didn’t trigger the doomsday scenario many worried about during the 2020 election, this much is clear: Deepfakes are going to become more common and harder to detect. As computers become more powerful and interest in the technology that generates deepfakes becomes more widespread, expect to see more artificially generated photos, videos, and audio online.
  2. Covid will be a favorite lure for scammers: The news of multiple vaccines ready for release is encouraging, but Covid-19 is going to be a part of our lives for the immediate future. Expect vaccine- and contact tracing-related phishing scams to continue to exploit the ongoing crisis.
  3. IoT will still be a security nightmare: The number of internet-connected devices in homes and offices across the country is going to continue to increase, and so will our attackable surface. In the absence of any meaningful legislation or industry-wide standard for security and privacy, IoT is going to continue to be an area of vulnerability for individuals and organizations everywhere.
  4. The AI arms race will continue to escalate: As the stakes for cybersecurity continue to escalate, both cybersecurity professionals and cybercriminals are increasingly looking to artificial intelligence and deep learning to do the heavy lifting for them. Expect algorithms dedicated to detecting cyberattacks to improve, and expect hackers to continue to find devious new ways to circumvent them.
  5. Employee identity protection benefits will become the norm: After years of megabreaches and data leaks, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone not at risk for identity theft. Companies are taking notice and are offering identity protection as a benefit. This isn’t as altruistic on the part of employers as it may at first seem: identity theft can sideline employees for weeks at a time and has a major impact on the bottom lines of businesses.