Trending Topics in Cybersecurity (2020s)

Codecademy Team
This article discusses growing challenges and fields in cybersecurity.

Emerging technologies create new questions for cybersecurity to answer and evolve around. Shake-ups to how organizations store their data digitally, the volume of content that is shared across the web, and more types of devices connected to the internet mean new types of vulnerabilities.

Data breaches have been growing in numbers. New technology means new attack vectors for cyber threats as well as physical security considerations. We’ll walk through a couple of emerging topics in the cybersecurity world!


Organizations want to scale, whether it’s the amount of content being shared or the number of employees. Cloud computing is now an essential solution to the question of scaling as the demand grows for remote collaboration and distributing data quicker to more places.

The benefits of the cloud are that an organization’s data is centralized, the capacity for storage and content delivery is more flexible, and the physical management of the server is outsourced while improving reliability.

A diagram of what cloud computing is, with resources like games, media, and messages stored in a cloud. On the side is text explaining what a cloud customer is responsible for versus a cloud provider.

Cloud security depends on shared responsibility between the cloud provider and an organization using the cloud (customer). Here’s how the responsibility is split, generally:

  • Provider Side: protecting and configuring the physical infrastructure, improving cloud network architecture, and ensuring the reliability of content delivery.
  • Customer Side: implementing access control, encryption of assets stored in the cloud, and ensuring compliance.

Cloud providers also often lessen the security responsibilities on the customer side as an incentive. Here is Amazon Web Services (AWS) ‘ security and compliance page, and Microsoft Azure’s page as examples.

Security professionals exist on either the provider side or the customer side, solving challenges in developing and maintaining cloud-based systems, as well as working out management and compliance.


An image with a network source seeming to send out internet in waves.

As of the early 2020s, 5G adoption is quickly speeding up. 5G stands for the 5th Generation of standards for telecommunications. Like every new generation, connections between devices will become faster and more reliable. Objects connected to the Internet become even smarter. Communications become even more instantaneous. This will accelerate the evolution of things like:

  • Virtual and augmented reality.
  • The automation of industries like transportation (vehicle-to-everything connectivity), healthcare, manufacturing.
  • The monitoring of energy networks, agriculture, environment, etc.

and even more! New technology means… you guessed it, new security risks! As 5G was built out, new security controls were also introduced. These include new authentication mechanisms, enhanced mobile security, more advanced encryption of communication, and even the possible elimination of physical SIM cards.

You can read more about security in the 5G era from the GSM Association.

Internet of things (IoT)

Speaking of more objects being connected to the Internet, IoT (Internet of Things) is also a new cybersecurity challenge. Think of your voice-activated speakers and home assistants, Wi-Fi-connected microwave, and just about anything you can think of, even more full-blown in the era of 5G (and beyond!)

An image with lots of items like game consoles, cars, watches, washing machines, cameras and more. There is a network symbol at the bottom of the image suggesting all of the items are connected.

The number of attacks using IoT devices as a vector is increasing. An attacker who can access your IoT devices can use the data those devices store for malicious purposes. They can also hijack these devices to use them as part of a botnet. IoT security is becoming more and more important.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a hot topic for a while — it is essentially the pursuit of computers and programs that can learn and make decisions the same way humans can. Using artificial intelligence, computers can process data relevant to security or threat intelligence at incredibly large volumes. These insights can then be used towards automating security actions!

On the other hand, AI is also available to attackers who can collect and gain insights about a target and figure out the most opportune vector or time to attack. You can read up on the role of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity.


We hope this kicks off more curiosity about the large questions surrounding cybersecurity. Whether you are a tech enthusiast or aspiring security expert, there’s much to keep up with.