The greatest online threats of 2023yoana
The increasing digital interconnection nowadays can leave multiple internet users vulnerable to online threats. These could harm not only individuals but also businesses and often governments. As sensitive data is shared and gathered every day worldwide, it is of great importance to gain understanding into the biggest online threats and how to best protect ourselves against them. Further in this article you can find which are the 8 biggest online threats of 2023 and advice on how to avoid them.
Artificial intelligence in Antivirus is supposed to be one step ahead of the ever-evolving online threats. Read more about artificial intelligence in Antivirus in this article.
We talk of a ransomware attack when a hacker encrypts user’s files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. Often the payment is demanded in the form of cryptocurrency because it offers a great degree of anonymity. Ransomware attacks are expected to become more sophisticated and dangerous in 2023. Their target victims are not only individuals but also businesses and governments. Therefore, ransomware attacks can cause significant financial losses and easily disrupt critical services. This makes them one of the greatest online threats of 2023 which is why they hold the first place in this article.
To protect yourself against ransomware attacks, you should keep your software up to date and regularly backup your data. Another advice that many users know but decide to ignore is to not open email attachments or links from unknown sources. Using different and strong passwords across platforms with preferably a multi-factor authentication can further protect your data and accounts from unauthorized access.
You can protect your devices from harmful attacks with simply installing the right antivirus, click here to read more about the top 8 antivirus of 2023.
Phishing scams are another popular type of cyberattacks you should be careful with. We talk about phishing scams when an attacker sends deceptive emails or messages to trick victims into revealing sensitive information or clicking on malicious links. Similar to ransomware, phishing scams are also expected to become more sophisticated with the help of artificials intelligence and deepfakes. These tactics are expected to make the deceitful messages appear as convincing. The deepfake technology is still quite new, however it rapidly grows in popularity. This is why phishing scams are expected to implement it even more in 2023. An example of using deepfake in phishing are deepfake videos. In 2011 a major phishing scam was proven successful with the use of voice-imitating AI. Nowadays, the deepfake technology can produce a deepfake video that seems so real, it cannot be distinguished from reality.
You can protect yourself against phishing scams by simply being extremely cautious when opening emails or messages from unknown senders. Additionally, do not reveal sensitive information or click on links unless you are 100% sure that the message is legitimate. You can usually request confirmation of the legitimacy when it comes to sharing sensitive information such as your bank account, personal data and confirmation codes. What is more, you can use spam filters and anti-phishing software, as they can help prevent such attacks.
IoT, short for the Internet of Things, is the interconnected network of devices that communicate with each other through the internet. In 2023, IoT attacks are expected to become more common due to the increasing number of devices connected to the internet. To execute an IoT attack, hackers usually exploit vulnerabilities in the connected devices in order to gain (unauthorized) access to networks. After they are connected, attackers can steal sensitive information, or even cause physical damage.
You can protect yourself against IoT attacks by keeping your devices up to date.Additionally, we recommend you to change the default passwords on your devices and use strong passwords instead. An additional security measure is the use of network segmentation and using firewalls. Both technologies are excellent in preventing unauthorized access to your networks and in turn your devices.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly applied to numerous sectors and services, one of which is also cybersecurity. AI attacks, on the other hand, are expected to become more frequent as AI can be used to develop more efficient and sophisticated attack strategies. AI attacks often include malware that avoids detection with the help of AI. Some AI attacks can go as far as to manipulate data or deceive victims. The best way to protect yourself against AI attacks is, as you may expect, to apply advanced security. When choosing your cybersecurity solution, pay attention to its ability to detect and prevent AI-based attacks. The best software for this is AI-based security softwares. This way you can be ahead of AI attackers and their more advanced attack strategies.
Read more about the difference between Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in this article.
Social engineering attacks
Social engineering attacks are used by cybercriminals to manipulate users into sharing sensitive or confidential information or performing an action. Such attacks often involve psychological manipulation to benefit from human trust, fear, or curiosity. This way attackers are able to access information or systems.
Social engineering attacks include, for example, phishing scams, in which an attacker sends emails or messages impersonating a trustworthy source in order to trick the victim into providing their sensitive information or clicking a deceptive link, for instance. Another example of social engineering is baiting. In this instance an attacker leaves a USB drive or a similar object in a public place for someone to pick up and use. This action ultimately infects the victim’s system with malware.
Social engineering attacks are also expected to remain a significant online threat in 2023 due to the fact that they exploit human psychology. By using fear or trust, cybercriminals can successfully manipulate individuals and benefit from their sensitive data. Another reason why social engineering attacks remain quite effective is the increase in digital communication and remote work. Many people rely on communicating and collaborating digitally from distance which can leave them vulnerable against social engineering attackers.
You can use a combination of strategies to prevent falling for social engineering attacks. Besides the usual – implementing strong and complex passwords and raising your education about these attacks, you can apply technical solutions. For example, anti-virus software, firewalls and intrusion prevention systems. Companies can also create and rely on incident response plans so that they can quickly and efficiently respond to social engineering attacks.
The threat of cryptojacking refers to the unauthorized use of a computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies. Another name for cryptojacking is cryptocurrency mining malware. This always occurs without the owner’s knowledge or consent. Due to the increased energy consumption, cryptojacking slows down the user’s computer performance and can even lead to permanent hardware damage.
Due to the increased interest and adoption of blockchain technology and the increase of IoT (see above), cryptojacking is expected to continue to be a threat in 2023. Cybersecurity Ventures report that the expected global costs caused by cryptojacking will reach more than 30€ billion by 2023.
You can protect yourself from cryptojacking by following some basic prevention strategies such as using ad- and script-blockers, installing anti-virus and anti-malware software. To make sure that your device is not being used in the background, you can monitor your CPU usage and check if there are unusual spikes. Last but not least, avoid using public Wi-Fi networks.
Cloud-based attacks target specifically cloud-based applications and services. These attacks succeed by exploiting vulnerabilities in cloud systems, and networks. Their goal is to access cloud resources, steal sensitive information or disrupt business operations. A few examples of cloud-based attacks are denial-of-service (DoS), man-in-the-middle attacks, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and malware infections. They can also target different layers such as infrastructure layer, platform layer, or software layer.
You can protect yourself from could-based attacks by using measures such as encryption, access controls, and intrusion prevention systems. Access controls restrict cloud resources to only authorized users through strong passwords and multiple-factor authentication, for example. You can further encrypt your sensitive data to avoid unauthorized access. Since cloud-based attacks also target businesses, it is important for business owners to provide adequate training to their employees as a security measure. After getting familiar with the nature of cloud-based attacks, workers can faster and more accurately recognize potential threats.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs)
One of the most dangerous online threats are Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs). In this cyberattack, unauthorized individual(s) access your system and manage to remain undetected for a long period of time. APTs are usually sophisticated and persistent. They require careful planning since they are usually carried out by well-funded and skilled attackers looking to gain access to sensitive data or systems.
An example of a recent APT is the SolarWinds APT. The attack is described as one of the biggest cybersecurity breaches of the century. It was discovered in December 2020 and is believed to have been carried out by a sponsored hacking group. After gaining access to SolarWinds’ software build system, the attackers injected malicious code into the updates of the Orion software. This provided the attackers with access to multiple organizations, theUS government agencies and private sector companies.
Due to their sophistication, targeted nature and persistence, ATPs are expected to be a considerable online threat in 2023. Their sophistication comes from the highly skilled attackers who do not mind investing time and other resources into achieving their goal. APTs are usually targeted towards a specific company or person, which increases their chances of success. What is more, attackers are constantly innovating their techniques and strategies, which further contributes to the APTs sophistication.
Since the main targets of APTs are specifically chosen people or organizations, the first prevention strategy would be increasing the (employee) education and awareness. This way, APT could be reduced significantly. Another very useful mitigation strategy against APTs is the application of multi-factor authentication. When users must provide more than one authentication type, any unauthorized access to sensitive information can be easily prevented. Lastly, you can encrypt your sensitive data which in turn would protect them in the event of a successful APT.
Additional Measures against online threats
General measures you can take against online threats are:
- Enabling of two-factor authentication (2FA) – this would add an extra security layer and prevents the unauthorized access regardless if your password has been compromised
- The use of virtual private network (VPN) – this hides your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic. his way, hackers would not be able to track your online activity
- Back up important and sensitive data – a regular backup can save you in case of a system failure or cyberattack
- Beware of phishing – by knowing the tactics and strategies attackers use, you can more easily recognise phishing and scamming attempts.
Read more about our top 8 antivirus of 2023 in this article.
There are multiple cybersecurity threats that you should be cautious of: AI attacks, Ransomware, Phishing scams, IoT attacks, Cryptojacking and Social engineering attacks. Although different by nature, their consequences can be fatal – from hardware malfunction to financial loss or even physical damage. This article discussed the most prominent cybersecurity threats and the best practices to avoid them. Most of the advice experts give aligns with what is already a common knowledge such as using a strong password, not sharing personal data with or acting on messages from untrusted sources. Additional precaution methods per online threat are for example, backing up and encrypting sensitive data (ransomware), checking for unusual CPU usage spikes (Cryptojacking), using AI-based cybersecurity (AI threats) and applying firewalls (IoT attacks).
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