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2023: 3 Big Cyber ​​Security Predictions for the New Year

2023: 3 Big Cyber ​​Security Predictions for the New Year

The end of the year is traditionally a time for reflection. In many industries – including cyber security and online privacy – it’s also a time of predictions about the year ahead. This year, Avast has three big predictions for 2023: Ransomware will become an increasingly serious problem, fraud will continue to be a favorite method of cybercriminals, and cybercrime as a business will become even more sophisticated.

Ransomware is getting worse

Ransomware continued to be a profitable crime in 2022, as cybercriminals used phishing attacks and other social engineering techniques to gain access to the systems of both public and private organizations. From hospitals to large corporations to individuals, it seemed that no one was safe.

“This year we saw cyber gangs threatening to publicly publish their targets’ data if ransoms are not paid, and we expect this trend to only grow in 2023,” said Michal Salat, Threat Intelligence Director at Avast. “This puts people’s personal memories at risk and poses a double risk to businesses. Both the loss of sensitive files, plus a data breach, can have serious consequences for their business and reputation.”

For 2023, Salat and his team expect to see a continued increase in these types of attacks.

Scamdemic 2022 becomes Scamdemic 2023

The “Scamdemic” of 2022 saw everything from romance scams to Covid-19 scams to tech support scams and became more widespread as cybercriminals went after individuals around the world. This may be due, at least in part, to software solutions that prevent cybercrime becoming more sophisticated, making people easier targets than devices.

“We’ve been living in a scam epidemic for a while now, and there’s no sign of it slowing down,” says Salat. “Cyber ​​groups go to great lengths to exploit people’s worst fears to trick them into sending money or giving up personal data because it’s easier to make people vulnerable than hack their devices. “

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In addition to the plethora of scams seen in 2022, Salat expects to see some relative newcomers to the field in 2023.

“Next year, we expect to see attacks playing on people’s economic and environmental concerns,” says Salat. “Scams are not only flooding people’s inboxes in the form of phishing emails, but are bombarding people’s texting apps and keeping their phones ringing.”

Cybercriminals are becoming more professional

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Cybercrime is first and foremost a business. And, like non-criminal industries, it evolves and changes. In 2022, we saw increased professionalization in the form of conglomerates being formed and even a ransomware group offering a bug bounty program. But perhaps even more worrying is the intrusion of cybercriminal recruitment into places where young people hang out.

“Cybercrime has been a growing business for years, but we’ve started to see open source malware become more readily available and distributed on platforms like Discord,” says Salat.

“People, including young people with less technical knowledge, can now get their hands on malware and may be more inclined to join the dark side given current economic difficulties.”

Cybercriminal groups have also begun paying ordinary people to participate in their crimes, a trend that Salat expects to continue in 2023.

“We’ve also seen criminal groups recruiting and paying people to carry out DDoS attacks, or installing ransomware on employers’ devices, for example,” says Salat.

Not only will we see more malicious activity thanks to software-as-a-service, distribution of software to perform DDoS attacks, and readily available open source code, but this could be a stepping stone to a career as a cybercriminal.”

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But while these trends may seem scary, there are simple ways to protect yourself, your loved ones and your businesses. Here are our best tips for avoid being deceived or become a ransom victim.

How to protect yourself from fraud

  • Research companies and websites before you buy. No matter how urgent the offer may seem, or how badly you want the product or service, do your research first. Read the site’s corporate information, terms of service and privacy policy – many scam sites will have basic versions of anything at all. Look up customer reviews and see what others have to say.

  • Pay by credit card or trusted payment processor. Compared to debit cards and bank transfers, credit cards are far more secure. Your credit card company is on your side when it comes to fraud. When you’ve been ripped off, chargebacks are your friend.

  • Avoid links and downloads. Scammers can use attachments and websites to infect your computer with malware. For example, Trojans often slip onto your device disguised as harmless attachments, and these Trojans can then carry rootkits, spyware, or adware. Some malware will only show you ads, while others can be far more harmful.

  • Keep personal information to yourself. Do you know how many websites ask you to answer a series of security questions in case you need to recover your password? Remember what information you have entered as a security measure and do not share it. Otherwise, scammers can easily answer your security questions. Of course, this also applies to things like login information and account numbers.

  • Secure yourself online. If a site offers two-factor authentication, use it. It’s not bulletproof, but it’s better than nothing. Use strong, unique passwords on the websites you visit, and store them more securely with a trusted password manager.

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How to help prevent ransomware

  • Keep your software up to date. Ensuring your operating system and apps receive new updates as soon as they’re released will plug security holes and prevent hackers from using exploits to distribute ransomware.

  • Back up your system regularly. Ransomware usually gains its power from blocking access to important files. If you have backed up your files elsewhere, the chances of losing them to ransomware are reduced. Perform regular backups of your system and files – cloud services and physical storage are both viable options, and you should use both if you can. If your device allows you to set an automatic backup schedule, do that too.

  • Use an ad blocker. Load your browser with an ad blocker to protect against malvertising and drive-by downloads: two ad-related ways ransomware can enter your system.

  • Be skepticall. Be wary of strange links sent in e-mail or on other messaging platforms. Even if the link is from someone you know, they may have been hacked. Learn the signs of unsafe websites and avoid visiting them.

  • Use an antivirus. Ransomware can only harm you if it can reach you. Use a robust online security app that helps you block malware and viruses before they can get anywhere near you. Avast One helps block unsafe links, sketchy downloads and unsafe websites.

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