The person is the weakest link as the techniques improve. Experts predict that social media account takeovers will lead to impersonation attacks against online friends in 2023.

Experts predict that ransomware attacks are likely to increase in frequency by 2023. They could threaten valuable data for individuals and companies if the ransom is not paid.

Also, they expect to improve the social engineering techniques that are used in scams that take advantage of fears over energy crises and financial problems. Experts predict that hostile behavior will increase as open-source software is more widely distributed and cybergangs recruit hacktivists to their campaigns.

According to Avast, successful ransomware attacks can escalate quickly to millions of dollars for businesses because they cause a stop in operations and the need to implement incident response plans. They also result in operational costs due to hospitals not being able to operate or factories stopping production.

Businesses that have been infected by ransomware could face problems if they comply to demands from organisations listed on sanction lists, like Russian ransomware groups. They risk being prosecuted. New international sanctions were enacted in this year.

More advanced

Avast’s researchers predict that cybercrime, which is already a professionalized business, will continue to become more sophisticated. Cybercrime groups Zloader Racoon Stealer and Ursnif have joined forces this year in order to maximize profits and take advantage of their specialisations. Avast researchers expect this type of collaboration between groups to continue.

Even ransomware attacks are a nightmare for individuals and businesses. Cybergangs threatened to publish the data of their targets if they weren’t paid a ransom. We expect this trend will only increase in 2023, said Michal Salat, Threat Intelligence director at Avast.

This puts the personal memories of people at risk, and presents a double-risk for businesses. Loss of sensitive data and a breach in security can be devastating to a business’s reputation and their business.

Businesses can easily incur millions of dollars of recovery costs from successful ransomware attacks. This is due to the pause in operations, reimaging of devices, incident response programs and operational costs. Hospitals are unable to perform surgeries and factories stop production. Businesses affected by ransomware could find themselves in a difficult situation if new global sanctions are introduced in the coming year. They may face prosecution if paying ransoms to ransomware groups that appear on sanction lists.

Salat said, “We have been in a scam epidemic for some time and there is no sign of it slowing down.” Cybergroups will go to great lengths to exploit people’s fears in order to trick them into sending money, or revealing personal information. It is much easier to manipulate people than to hack their devices. We expect attacks to play on people’s environmental and economic concerns next year. “Scams aren’t just flooding inboxes with phishing emails. They are also bombarding text messaging apps and keeping people’s phones ringing.”

The person is the weakest link as the techniques improve. In 2023, social media account takeovers will lead to impersonation attacks against online friends.

How to protect yourself from scams

  • Before purchasing, research companies and their websites. Do your research before you buy, no matter how urgent an offer seems or how much you desire the product or service. You should read the terms of service, privacy policy and corporate information on the website. Many scam sites will only have the basic versions. Check out customer reviews to see what others have said.
  • Pay with your credit card if you have one. Credit cards are much more secure than debit cards or bank transfers. When it comes to fraud, your credit card company will be on your side. Chargebacks can be your best friend when you’ve been scammed.
  • Do not download attachments from unknown contacts or click on links. Scammers may use websites and attachments to infect your PC with malware. Trojans are often disguised as attachments that appear harmless. These Trojans then infect your computer with rootkits and spyware. Some malware is just ads. Others can be much more harmful.
  • Do not share personal information. How many websites require you to answer security questions if you ever need to reset your password? Don’t forget which information is set up as a security measure. Scammers will be able to answer your security questions easily if you don’t. This also applies to login credentials and account number.
  • Protect yourself online. Use two-factor authentication if a site offers it. Although it is not foolproof, it is better than nothing. Use unique, strong passwords for the websites that you visit, and use a password manager to store them securely.

How to help prevent ransomware

  • Update your software. By updating your operating system and applications as soon as new versions are released, you can plug security gaps and prevent hackers using exploits to distribute ransomware.
  • Regularly back up your system. Ransomware gains power by blocking important files. You are less likely to lose files due to ransomware if you have them safely backed up elsewhere. Regularly backup your files and system. Cloud services and physical storage options are both viable and should be used if possible. Set up an automatic backup schedule if your device allows it.
  • Use an ad-blocker. Use an adblocker in your browser to protect yourself from malicious advertising and drive-by downloads, two ways that ransomware can enter your system via ads.
  • Be skeptical. Be cautious of links that are sent via email or other messaging platforms. The link could be hacked, even if it comes from someone that you know. Avoid visiting unsafe websites by learning the signs.
  • Install an antivirus. Only ransomware that can reach you can harm you. Use a cybersecurity app to block malware and viruses from reaching you. AvastOne blocks unsafe links, sketchy downloading, and unsecure sites.