As we head into the new year, security professionals everywhere are piecing together clues from 2019 that might offer some insight into what 2020 will bring by way of threats and cyberattacks. As mobile becomes more powerful and more ingrained in business, the security risks stack up in step. Here are the risks and evolving threats that we believe will dominate the mobile agenda in 2020.

1. Ransomware will remain merely a distraction for mobile

While ransomware continues to dominate the headlines, it’s proving to be nothing more than a distraction when it comes to mobile. Compared to other mobile threats, ransomware ranks at the bottom, accounting for close to zero percent of total incidents experienced. It’s time for end-users to shift their focus away from the noise to the threats that truly matter. Our data shows that trojan, adware, and spyware were the most frequently encountered types of malware in 2019. As long as businesses remain distracted by protecting against ransomware, they’ll continue to leave themselves exposed to the more pervasive types of malware in 2020.

2. Phishing sophistication will skyrocket

Instead of the mass-produced threats of previous years that relied on ‘spray and pray’ tactics, we’re seeing more sophistication on the attacker’s side as spear phishing campaigns continue to move beyond corporate email. Advanced phishing schemes have already appeared in app stores, demonstrating more sophisticated functionality and successfully evading detection. With 81 percent of mobile phishing attacks already taking place outside of email, 2020 will see attackers making the move toward targeting users via messaging apps and social media; where they are vulnerable to fake profiles and notifications that are convincing enough to make them hand over sensitive data.

3. Context will become king when it comes to authentication

As the drive toward a passwordless future continues, access will be determined by context – where you are logging in, what time, and from what device. This shift in authentication will change the need for passwords. While the methods of authentication will likely continue to move toward a superior biometrics-based approach, the most important authentication factor will become the context in which users are looking to gain access. Soon, opening different apps will not only rely on facial recognition or your fingerprint but where you are, the network you’re connected to, the country you’re working from. In 2020, context will be king in the world of authentication.

4. The price of personal privacy will peak

In the past, end-users unknowingly forfeited their private information in return for “free” services, but as privacy becomes both a legal and financial imperative, users are going to have to pay for services that were once free and set aside funds in their budget to pay for privacy itself. Additionally, the idea that businesses could offer an alternative to the monetization of their personal data with a paid option is no longer abstract. In 2020, privacy will come as a privilege to those with the means to pay for it.

5. Bad apps will continue to slip through the cracks, but official app stores will improve their malware vetting capabilities

It’s been proven that the app stores are a step behind when it comes to catching bad apps due to the increased sophistication of threats and it’s becoming increasingly clear that Google and Apple can no longer scale and improvements are needed. There are simply too many apps, too many developers and too many attack methods for the app stores to keep up. This isn’t to say that the app stores are necessarily negligent, as they’ve taken action when “bad” apps are brought to their attention. The issue remains that as the sophistication of malware, adware and phishing continues to advance, the stores struggle to keep up. The good news is that looking ahead to 2020, it’s likely the official app stores will improve their malware vetting capabilities to continue to be a more secure option vs sideloading or third-party stores.

The 2019 Verizon Mobile Security Index reported that 33 percent of organizations admitted to having suffered a compromise involving a mobile device. This number is only likely to increase as users are granted access to increasingly sensitive data from their personal devices. Heading into 2020, security professionals will need to redefine organizational priorities when it comes to mobile and learn to evolve with the changing landscape to keep their information secure across platforms, regardless of the device.