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2024 Trends: Cybercriminals using AI Against the Public

2024 Trends: Cybercriminals using AI Against the Public

It’s only a matter of time before cybercriminals leverage AI on a massive scale against the general public, and 2024 could be the year it finally happens. The conditions for such an assault are already in place: The dark web already holds vast amounts of public information on names, email addresses, and phone numbers which are used to conduct the sorts of scams and automated attacks that we’ve we all experienced. On a macro level, these attacks result in several billions of dollars in damage.

Soon, this far-reaching and extremely detailed collection of personal information will be used alongside AI to enable much more sophisticated cyberattacks than what we’ve seen up to this point. Both institutions and society at large should be prepared for AI-generated deepfakes related to kidnapping, false invoices, wire fraud, identity theft, and other nefarious money-making schemes. We have already seen extortion attempts where scammers have utilized fake, synthesized voices to dupe victims into believing their loved ones had been kidnapped and would not be returned unless a ransom was paid.

In the very near future, criminal plots like traditional identity theft, wire fraud, business email compromise, and imposter fraud will all make use of AI capabilities to project familiarity and lull potential victims into false senses of security. While more visceral schemes like fake kidnappings will continue grabbing headlines, these traditional, more understated cybercrimes against the public will only accelerate and leave vast damages in their wake. These attacks will continue to be perpetrated through email, text, and social media messengers; through AI-facilitated personalization, they will become more effective than ever before. The public should be aware that social media messengers like WhatsApp are highly vulnerable to imposter fraud. It must also be emphasized that third-party apps complementing WhatsApp and similar platforms are often rife with serious security threats. Additionally, businesses should know that WhatsApp is not appropriate for use in regulated industries, and using it as the preferred means of communication can result in massive fines.

According to a report on internet crime in 2022 compiled by the FBI, the nearly 801,000 complaints documented that year resulted in $10.2 billion in damages, representing a considerable 49% increase from 2021. As cyberattacks have become both more frequent and more severe in recent years, experts anticipate that damages will only continue to grow. With this in mind, it’s recommended that all households — especially high-net-worth individuals and families — implement individualized cybersecurity plans. Ideally, these plans should include a secret family password to combat fake kidnapping scenarios.

Next we will look at Proxy War Spillover and Cyberactivism in 2024.

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