The new year has begun and with it not only the promise of accelerating technological advancements and capabilities across all sectors, but with that the increase in the number of cyber threats we all need to look out for. At the end of last year we wrote a couple of articles looking at the most common cyber threats as well as how best to put security measures in place – it’s worth refreshing your memory by having a look at Cyber Security in the 21st Century and Insider Threats But what does 2023 hold in store? Experts predict that economic pressure both globally and in the United Kingdom will be a major factor in reducing budgets allocated to cyber security – with that, not only will threat levels increase but successful attacks will become more commonplace. What will these threats look like? The following cyber threats are likely to dominate the landscape: But what does 2023 hold in store? Experts predict that economic pressure both globally and in the United Kingdom will be a major factor in reducing budgets allocated to cyber security – with that, not only will threat levels increase but successful attacks will become more commonplace.

What will these threats look like? The following cyber threats are likely to dominate the landscape:

 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Art of Disinformation

Rapid development of AI technologies has already had a significant impact on the digital world – from AI assistants, data aggregation and information collation to the generation of images, videos, articles, voices and more, AI is becoming both more commonplace and pervasive. Whilst its impact is predominantly positive, there is an exploitative aspect which cyber criminals have begun to make use of, including creating content that deliberately spreads false information, creates new trends or audiences that have been duped into believing something false and opens opportunities to exploit these corporations or individuals as a result.  

 

What does this mean in real terms?

Examples include a cryptocurrency scam that used a fake Elon Musk video to lure people into investing money into a non-existent scheme – 2023 will see these types of scams ramp up significantly both in terms of the quality of the deep fake content, and the frequency of the scam. Similarly, more traditional investment scams, fake loan scams, betting and gambling scams and others that aim to steal money from unsuspecting online browsers will become more sophisticated and prevalent.  

 

The Anonymity of the Metaverse

As social metaverses like Facebook Horizon, Altspace, BlueJeans, Nvidia Omniverse and gaming metaverses such as Roblox, Fortnight and so forth gain traction and grow user bases in exponential numbers, so too does the cyber threat within these environments grow. The key issue is anonymity – malicious users are easily able to create fake accounts, develop relationships with online users and exploit these for financial gain over time, whether through coercion, trickery or outright theft.  

 

The Chromebook and ChromeOS vulnerabilities

Chromebook and ChromeOS have developed a well-earned reputation for high levels of security and protection against threats, but there is a challenge in keeping these devices and operating system ahead of the curve… The exponential uptake of Chromebooks, particularly by students (who don’t hold onto them forever), as well as the need to download multiple Android Apps significantly increases the risk of inadvertently downloading and installing malware – a recent study found that more than 300 000 Android devices were infected by banking trojans installed via native App downloads. 2023 is expected to deliver an even greater threat to coincide with the rapid increase and uptake of Chromebook devices and the consequent increase in App downloads. Similarly, ChromeOS extensions – which in many instances have already been shown to present a security threat – will grow as a security threat as 2023 progresses and more extensions become available.  

 

Web3 – the rise of a new series of exploitative opportunities

Web3 simply refers to the advent of internet-based, decentralized and largely anonymised platforms and functions including cryptocurrencies, crypto exchanges, Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs), alternative information portals and others that eschew more formal and recognised ‘real-world’ platforms. Once again, anonymity, general ignorance and the ability to create false platforms gives scammers ample opportunities to lure unsuspecting browsers into parting with their money.  

 

What can you do to protect yourself and your employees?

As always, education and communication are key as a starting point – the more you and your employees know about the possible threats, the better prepared you’ll be to identify and manage them. Additionally, having robust, up-to-date and comprehensive cyber security in place across your devices, networks, applications, access controls and Cloud is an absolute essential, not a ‘nice-to-have’. If you need guidance or assistance regarding your current systems, needs or future planning, please contact the iTEXS team today. We’re specialists in cyber security, and look forward to helping you have a safe and secure 2023. Fighting cyber-threats is a daily, ongoing challenge for businesses. If you need help with any aspect of your business’s cyber security please get in touch today. iTEXS is Cyber Essentials Certified and provides secure IT systems for numerous businesses across many industries and sectors. For IT Support Cambridge, call us today on 01223 834844