McAfee Reveals 2024 Cybersecurity Predictions

McAfee has released its 2024 predictions, revealing the issues consumers are potentially likely to face in 2024, as cybercrooks continue to exploit rapidly advancing AI technology to carry out dangerous deepfakes, identity theft, and increasingly sophisticated cyber scams.

“As AI continues to lower the barrier to cybercrime and ushers in a new era of AI-powered cyberthreats, scams will become more sophisticated and more difficult to distinguish from legitimate messages and sites,” said Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer, McAfee. “From phishing emails so real that even the experts will have trouble telling fact from fiction to deepfakes that could impact everything including the future of our children, and beyond, it has never been more important for people to be educated about the threat landscape.”

McAfee’s 2024 predictions include:

Deepfakes to disrupt public and private figures lives and the rise of misinformation: The rise in Deefakes- AI generated voice, video, and photo scams make filtering through misinformation a challenging task. People have learned to be skeptical of what they see online however when claims are backed by visual or audio evidence it can be destructive to the reputations of public and private individuals even when these photos or videos are produced by AI. Deepfake technology has the ability to wreak havoc on the lives of its victims making it important to be vigilant against such malicious acts.

Move over memes – AI scams will be the new, sneaky stars of social media: Heading into 2024, AI will help cybercriminals manipulate social media and shape public opinion like never before. Powerful, AI-powered tools will help these bad actors fabricate photos, videos, and audio – and unfortunately, these well-crafted fakes are social media goldmines. People should brace for celebrity and influencer names and images being used by cybercrooks to endorse scams, and local online marketplaces that could become hotspots for AI-driven trickery.

Cyberbullying among kids will continue to soar: One of the most troubling trends on the horizon for 2024 is the dark turn cyberbullying will likely take with the help of deepfake technology. Young adults can now use this advanced – and easily accessible, even from home – tool not just to have fun, but to create disturbingly realistic fake content. Beyond spreading rumors, cyberbullies are now able to manipulate images available in the public domain and repost fabricated explicit versions of those images. The escalating intensity of these false images and words can pose significant, lasting harm to kids and their families, harming their privacy, identity, and well-being.

Donating dangers: caring consumers will see more charity fraud: Scammers exploit our deepest emotions, from excitement for a once in a lifetime opportunity to taking advantage of empathy, fear and grief. A particularly heartless method of doing this is through charity fraud. Whether this takes the form of a criminal setting up a fake charity site, or a falsified page to trick well-meaning contributors into thinking they are supporting legitimate causes, cybercrooks are pulling out all the stops to make these cruel fakes seem real. In 2024, the prevalence of these scams – particularly those related to highly visible conflicts and humanitarian crises – is likely to surge.

New strains of malware, voice and visual cloning scams will accelerate thanks to AI: While AI can do wonderful things like write love poems, help answer homework questions, and create art with a few prompts, it can also quickly code and that poses a growing threat. In the hands of cyber criminals, it is a powerful tool for creating advanced malware and malicious websites at an alarming pace.

It also makes the creation and dissemination of convincing phishing and smishing emails faster and easier. This extends to the creation of deepfake video, photo, and audio content aimed at deceiving unsuspecting targets and scamming them out of money. As the barrier to entry for these threats lowers, these scams will target people on all platforms, with an increased focus on mobile devices.

Olympic-sized scams will kick into high stride: Cybercrooks excel at understanding the moments that matter most to people – from hot movie premieres, to high-profile events, to key shopping seasons, they adapt their scam playbook to capitalise on the biggest moments in the zeitgeist. In 2024, the global excitement around the Olympic Games will become a breeding ground for scams. Cyber-scammers will exploit consumer enthusiasm around the event, targeting fans who are eager to buy tickets, book travel, access hot content, and participate in giveaways. This presents a golden opportunity to trick people into compromising their personal information and payment details.