According to experts in threat analysis, 2022 could be the year that cybercriminals start focusing more on the Average Joe instead of focusing on big corporations as they have in the past. These days, consumers could be a lot more lucrative to hackers, so it makes a lot of sense. Here is what you need to know about what is happening to help hackers:
Cybercriminals Like to Take the Easy Path
No one really likes to do a lot of hard work, and this includes hackers and other cybercriminals. So, they will focus on the path of least resistance when targeting a victim. Where they used to find a lot of loopholes with corporations, now they are focused on individuals…specifically those who work from home as a remote worker.
Remote Workers Are Easy Prey
Though the pandemic is starting to fade away, remote working seems to be here to stay, and with that comes more security risks. While all of this is going on, organizations are focusing more on internal security and forgetting that they have employees out there who can easily be connected to the network remotely and are vulnerable to hackers.
So, it is totally possible that for a hacker, it is much easier to access a company network by using social engineering or a phishing scam on Mary in Customer Service, who now works from home in her jammies, than it is to go through traditional hacking methods.
We are in a Crypto-World, Now, Too
2021 was the year for those who mine cryptocurrency because coins like Ether, Bitcoin, and other cryptos rose greatly. Meanwhile, we also…and are still seeing…the rise of NFTs on the market. People who are just now getting into this are really focused on this new crypto-craze, and they don’t know how to protect themselves. Hackers are focused on them, too, and it is thought that it will continue to rise into 2022.
Meta is also here, now, and it is expected to create even more payments via digital assets, and this is expected to add even more fuel to the fire.
Another thing that is happening right now is that companies like Microsoft are working to disable things like Excel 4.0 macros, which hackers often use to get malware on a victim’s device. However, hackers are one step ahead, and they are now working on fooling victims to go to a malicious website instead, and using things like social media sites, fun games that are actually designed to steal passwords, and even posting YouTube videos designed to hack.
For much of 2021, experts noted that there were tons of threats to people that came from software that looks innocent, such as games, and though a person can play the game in some cases, the software also installs things like miners onto the device. This, too, is expected to increase throughout 2022.
Even More Adware
For most cybercriminals, adware is seen as a great way to make money, and they use it to exploit networks, smartphones, and even computers. It is expected that in the remainder of 2022, these attacks will continue to rise as they are difficult to detect but spread fairly quickly. Many consider adware to just be annoying and not particularly dangerous, these programs may be bundled with other types of software including ransomware, viruses, and more.
Speaking of Ransomware…
Finally, when we think of ransomware these days, we still see a lot of threat, but they had been focused more on larger companies and corporations. As we settle nicely into mid-2022, however, we have seen more ransomware targeting governments and other similar organizations, as well as people who may own something of value. These attacks are common for hacking groups, as they are easy to pull off.
We also see the ransom demands falling a bit, with hackers asking individuals for $1000 or less in order to access their device. This means that consumers have to be more careful than ever before, and they need to keep the following in mind:
- Only use unique passwords that are very strong and varied. (I.e. a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols.)
- Use security software, like Microsoft Defender, if you have a Windows computer or any antivirus as long as you ay for it. With free, you get what you pay for.
- Never open any email attachments from a person or company that you don’t know. Call them first to confirm its OK.
- Don’t expose internal services, like NAS devices or a Remote Desktop, to the internet.
- When OS and software updates are available, make sure you install them.
- Don’t download key generators or software cracks, which often contain viruses or ransomware.
By taking these simple steps, we can work together to make sure that 2022 is NOT the biggest year of cybercrime, and instead, the year we do our best to fight back against hackers.
Written by Robert Siciliano, CEO of Credit Parent, Head of Training & Security Awareness Expert at Protect Now, #1 Best Selling Amazon author, Media Personality & Architect of CSI Protection Certification.