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Cybercrime: what you should be on the lookout for this year | #cybercrime | #infosec

With AI-generated content on the rise in 2024, consumers will have to be extremely vigilant when it comes to scams. (File pic)

Antivirus software provider McAfee is warning consumers about major trends in cybercrime on the horizon for 2024. Between deepfakes and Olympic-related scams, users are advised to keep their eyes peeled and their wits about them as they go about their business on the web.

Here are some of the things you should look out for:

Deepfakes and elections

This year will see Europeans vote to elect their members of parliament and Americans head to the polls to choose their next president. These events could be impacted by the spread of fake news, as well as a proliferation of deepfakes: video montages that use artificial intelligence to generate realistic-looking images and audio that seem to come from celebrities and other popular figures.

In a short period of time, AI has made huge advances and can now be used to create audio- and photo-based scams from scratch. Voters will, therefore, need to be particularly vigilant of content that attempts to discredit certain politicians, and the media will need to be ultra careful with their sources to avoid being fooled.

Deepfakes and business

In the same vein, beware of fake images created by AI used to endorse scams or dubious marketplaces and online stores. These creations could multiply across social networks, deceiving many internet users – especially younger ones – by using images of celebrities, for example, without their knowledge.

Cyberbullying among young users

With deepfake-generating apps largely now available to the general public, this type of content is also at risk of becoming a tool of harassment, particularly for teenagers.

More than ever, young people should avoid sharing photos or videos of themselves, even with close friends, as these images could be manipulated and one day used against them.

Always be careful when you come across unknown QR codes, such as the one above. But this one’s safe – go ahead, give it a scan. (Envato Elements pic)

Charity fraud

Charity fraud is an underhanded way of getting money out of internet users by asking them to donate to worthy causes or well-known associations. Cybercriminals often send phishing campaigns with fake charity sites in their messages to trick would-be donors.

Alas, this type of scam is set to continue growing this year, according to McAfee.

The Olympics and con artists

With the Olympics set to make the news, hackers will be taking advantage of the event to create traps for their future victims. The event is likely to become a fertile ground for scams – through fake ads for buying tickets to events, or booking hotel nights at “bargain” prices, for example.

These will likely come with links to malware pages where personal and banking information of victims will be stolen.

Be careful with QR codes

The quishing phenomenon, which took hold last year, is set to grow in 2024, once again because of AI. The idea is that hackers generate QR codes, again linking to pages of malware; and once the user scans this code, they’re redirected to a page where personal data can be collected.

The reason cybercriminals are adopting this new technique is that a QR code is much harder to decipher than a suspicious internet address. So, as always, be vigilant and stay safe online in the New Year!

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National Cyber Security