The top three trends impacting the threat landscape

  1. Artificial Intelligence: Friend and foe
    In 2023, there were significant advancements in generative AI tools like ChatGPT. AI now holds defensive potential and can be valuable for cybersecurity controls. AI can analyze network traffic in real-time and identify potential security threats. We can also utilize AI to detect behavior that aligns with malicious activity, aiding in proactive defense measures.

    However, this also means that adversaries of all skill levels will find it easier to carry out cyberattacks using AI. For instance, AI can be utilized to create highly convincing phishing emails that can bypass email filters and anti-spam measures. It can also be used to translate messages into different languages, expanding the range of potential targets and lowering the entry barrier for cybercriminals. Additionally, attackers can leverage AI to generate fake photos, videos, and audio files (known as deepfakes) for disinformation, business email compromise and executive impersonation attacks. AI can also be employed by adversaries to develop more sophisticated and harder-to-detect malware, as well as tools that quickly identify vulnerable websites and lead to increased data theft and extortion campaigns.
  2. Weaponization of cyber capabilities by nation-states
    Geopolitical tensions have risen globally, impacting the digital realm. Nation-states may employ tactics such as extortion, ransomware, disruptive attacks on critical infrastructure, intellectual property theft and supply chain attacks to achieve their geopolitical goals. Disinformation campaigns will continue to undermine public trust and influence public opinion. Denial-of-service attacks and defacement campaigns are other vehicles used to disrupt services and damage reputations. Collaboration among threat actors from different regions is expected to increase, leading to more sophisticated campaigns.
  3. Persistence of social engineering attacks
    Social engineering remains a highly effective method for obtaining unauthorized access to organizational networks. Current trends include cybercriminals leveraging stolen data and personal information to create personalized lures. Attackers are also impersonating IT staff through text messages and phone calls, tricking employees into divulging their credentials on fake remote login pages. Additionally, callback vishing attacks persist, where targets receive deceptive emails prompting them to call a phone number to dispute a false claim, ultimately leading to the installation of malware for network access.

Engage your employees

Thanks to increased collaboration and information sharing among incident response communities in both public and private sectors, as well as increasing investments and focus in cybersecurity, global law enforcement is seeing more success in combating cybercrime and successfully dismantling ransomware operations and criminal forums. And below are five best practices which will help you protect yourself and your businesses.

  • AI and other technological advancements have enabled adversaries of all skill levels to conduct convincing phishing and other social engineering attacks. It is more important than ever that you know how to recognize, handle and report suspicious emails and calls.  You can always report phishing scams to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

  • Install security patches and software updates on your personal devices as soon as they become available.

  • Protect your online accounts. Use multifactor authentication (MFA) where you have the option, and don’t reuse the same passwords. MFA adds an extra layer of security to your devices and applications. Many web services and financial institutions offer the MFA option. Check the user settings in your accounts to see if the services you use offer this extra security step.

  • Be smart about social media. Don't share too much personal information on your social media accounts and always check privacy controls.

  • Back up your data to a secure cloud based service or external hard drives.

The information is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be relied upon, to address every aspect of the subject discussed herein. The information provided is intended to help you protect yourself from cyber fraud. It does not provide a comprehensive list of all types of cyber fraud activities and it does not identify all types of cybersecurity best practices. You or organization are responsible for determining how to best protect against cyber fraud activities and for selecting the cybersecurity best practices that are most appropriate to your needs.