As technology keeps evolving, so do the cybercriminals and how they can abuse computer networks. While the governments globally have a lot to deal with the pandemic, cyber-heist operators are also busy planning a new way to explore human vulnerabilities. As 2021 heads to an end, one thing seems pretty clear: threat actors are making efficient use of every security loophole to disrupt the industry that is still busy trying to navigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, what are the 2022 cybercrimes we need to watch out for?
The Current State of Cybercrimes and the 2022 Landscape
According to cybercrime magazine, cybercrimes cost more than $6 Trillion in 2021, which, if considered as a country, could be the world’s third-largest economy after the US and China. Moreover, cybercriminals evolve at the pace of technological development, from advanced and technologically efficient cyberattacks to the oldest book-based tricks; you can expect anything from a cybercrook.
Here’s what cybercriminals do: most of the time, they pull the same old-school tricks and make some minor modifications and updates to bypass the security measures that cybersecurity leaders expect to be 100% secure. According to the State of Cybersecurity 2021 PII, more than 20% of organizations have reported active security disruption. In addition, the same report identified the following as the top five cyber threats experienced in 2021:
- Social Engineering Attacks (14%)
- Ransomware Attacks (9%)
- Advanced Persistent Threats (10%)
- Distributed Denial Of Service Attacks (8%)
- And Unpatched Systems (8%)
Although the consequences of these attacks can be destructive, it doesn’t mean that people will stop using the internet. Therefore, it is far more essential to keep a close eye on the active cybercrime trends, stay aware and ensure that your employees are also familiar.
So hey, it’s not all doom and gloom … ?
Always remember, as a cybersecurity awareness officer, staying updated and using preventative measures is always better than bearing the total cost of any cyber offense. So, without further ado, let us dig into the cybercrimes that we need to stay aware of in 2022:
Top Ten 2022 Cybercrimes Watchlist
Many organizations have considered 2021 a perfect opportunity to mark their stocks on the state of cybersecurity lessons they’ve gathered throughout the pandemic. Therefore, they’ve started investing heavily in cybersecurity awareness and training programs to combat and proactively manage and mitigate cybercrimes and data breaches from happening. Nevertheless, it’s still essential to analyze the threat landscape and what makes the cybercrime 2022 list:
For cybercrime in 2022, phishing threats will reach new heights. Google’s Threat Analysis Group blocks 18 million Covid-19 themed emails containing phishing links and malware downloads per day. Despite a staggering number of intercepted emails, many still slip past cybersecurity nets. To avoid falling victim to phishing scams, users must be more cautious about the links they click and the files they download.
The new smash-and-grab hit of cybercrime in 2022 is a ransomware attack. Ransomware is like low-hanging fruit for cybercriminals. It is a type of crimeware that usually infects a victim’s computer through phishing and similar exploit kit campaigns. The ransomware usually encrypts the victim’s data after being successfully infected. In exchange for returning their data, it demands a ransom payment. However, that isn’t a foregone conclusion. There’s no guarantee that the victims can ever recover the lost data.
Social Engineering Attacks
Social engineering will continue to be the most common and highly impacting attack vector for cybercrime in 2022 until companies invest in cybersecurity awareness training. Only through training and awareness, an organization can build an authentic cybersecurity culture and adequately trained workforce; thus, enhancing individual cyber-behavior and hygiene.
Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDoS)
DDoS attacks always target a high-profile organization’s web servers, such as the government or trade businesses. These are cyberattacks aimed at shutting down services or networks and rendering them unreachable to their intended users. These attacks flood the target with information and overwhelm visitors, causing the website to crash.
While the good old-school brute force attacks will always be in style, advanced brute force and dictionary attacks also make their marks. These attacks involve directly logging into the user’s account using several passwords and username combinations until they find the right one. Nevertheless, password-based attacks mostly happen because of exported/ externally stored credentials.
Potentially Unwanted Programs
PUP stands for Potentially Unwanted Programs. These are less dangerous varieties of malware than other sorts of cybercrime. This form of assault removes the necessary search engine and pre-installed apps from your system. As a result, installing antivirus software to prevent harmful downloads is a good idea.
A whale phishing attack or whaling attack is a form of phishing attack that targets people of high status, such as CFOs or CEOs. Its primary goal is to steal information because they often have unrestricted access to sensitive data. Therefore, instead of targeting a junior-level employee, cybercriminals target executive-level employees. In the 2022 cybercrime landscape, whaling ranks high in the threat list.
Drive-by Download Attacks
Drive-by download attacks primarily spread through phishing emails that distribute malware via vulnerable websites links. Hackers initially hunt for websites with lax protection and then insert dangerous scripts into PHP or HTTP code on one of the pages. The software can then directly install malware onto any computer that accesses the site. It is one of the most sophisticated 2022 cybercrime tactics.
Malvertising is how fraudsters introduce malicious code into legitimate online advertising networks and web pages. Typically, this code links people to dangerous websites or installs malware on their computers or mobile devices. Even if users do not click on anything to initiate the download, their devices may become infected.
Advanced Persistent Threat (APT)
A targeted cyberattack in which an unauthorized intruder accesses a network and remains undiscovered for an extended period is known as an advanced persistent threat. Cybercriminals generally use APT attacks to steal data from high-value targets such as large organizations and nation-states over a long period. An APT attack’s purpose, rather than causing damage to a system or network, is to observe network activities and acquire information to get access.
Cybercriminals have always been the most successful with cyberattacks involving human error, as they are aware that a human error causes more than 90% of successful cyberattacks. So yes, if you receive an email posing as CDC (or perhaps an email stating WFH policy update), do not forget to double-check.
With WFH and hybrid work environments, the primary target of cybercrime in 2022 will be humans. Thus, CISOs must devise a data recovery strategy for the systems. If a malware infection occurs, such a program will assist victims in recovering their data for free.
Finally, security officers must ensure that users maintain cyber hygiene as a part of their day-to-day work – and if they can take that home, that’s a cherry on top! Schedule a demo with us today and use AI-powered, gamified cybersecurity awareness and training tools to get one step closer to a cyber-ready workforce.