By Neva Meyers
As with all things digital, cyber threats are evolving. With every year, cybercriminals are introducing more and more sophisticated means of stealing, deceiving or tricking you into doing what they want you to do. It is part of human nature in its current state to use things that were originally designed as a tool for doing good as instruments of evil.
That is why the battle between those devising new ways to protect and those who are coming up with new solutions aimed at evading defenses never ends. In this regard, nothing is expected to change in 2019. But some trends in cybercrimes are emerging or being on the rise, and it is them that are supposed to become the focus of teams trying to prevent digital hijackers from gaining access to someone else’s data.
Attacks aimed at cryptocurrency mining
With the advent of blockchain, cryptocurrency has become a new target for people eager to make money out of nothing. Hacking smart contracts executing digital asset exchange is the next big thing among cybercriminals. As the technology is still at an early stage of its development, its holes are often exploited. This field is expected to experience significant increases in attacks, because cryptocurrency remains lucrative business.
One more aspect of it is CryptoJacking. Hijacking someone else’s devices to mine cryptocurrency is called CryptoJacking, and this approach is becoming more popular.
Phishing emails generated by AI
The emergence of DeepFake algorithm led to more opportunities for cybercriminals to infect your devices with malware. In the past, text-only phishing emails were the primary, state-of-the-art means of mimicking a reliable link. Gone are the days when the majority people would buy into claims in such emails (even they are now generated by AI, and it still works, though). Today, a new way of getting users to download malware is utilized, namely deep fake videos, which are generated by AI. Several years ago, it would take a studio to make such a video, but now a good graphic card is the key piece of equipment required.
Deep fake videos are used not only in phishing emails, but also to spread false information that can potentially affect companies and even economies, so it is now considered one of the most serious problems related to cybersecurity.
Corrupting AI-based defense systems
AI is used not only to defend but also to attack. And when two AIs meet, the outcomes can be very different. One of the most important issues in cybersecurity in 2019 is that attacking AIs are capable of learning how the defending AI works and of altering some parts of the code to make suspicious actions seem harmless.
Use of quantum computers
Quantum computers are not that popular yet, but their capabilities are impressive. They are able to affect processing power inducing exponential leaps, which is a threat to currently used encryption techniques. Quantum computers are regarded as a real problem that can eventually result in all current encryption used in transactions and other fields being vulnerable.
Attacking data centers
In the past, it was desktops that were the primary target. Today, hackers’ attention is shifting towards something much bigger – data centers. They attack cloud companies that store their clients’ data on their servers, and cybercriminals can now access information “in bulk” by breaking into such systems. At the end of 2018, the US government accused Chinese hackers of stealing data of around 100,000 Navy personnel. The number of such cases is expected to increase, as clouds are often way more interesting targets.
These are the trends in cybercrimes that are growing now, and it is clearly becoming more and more difficult to keep up with the pace at which new technologies are being introduced – on the one hand, they can potentially be used to do good, but on the other hand, all of them are eventually converted into instruments of stealing, of which these trends are the evidence.