Hacking courses for amateurs, leaked nudes and AI-supported scams are popular cyber threats identified in dark web forums, a cybersecurity firm has warned.
NordVPN is a global virtual private network (VPN) service provider founded in 2012. It establishes secure digital connections between computers and remote servers, allowing encryption of personal data, masking of IP addresses, and sidestepping of blocks and firewalls on the internet.
To predict potential cybersecurity issues in 2024, NordVPN took a different approach this year. It accessed the dark web, a part of the internet accessible only by means of special software, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous or untraceable.
What NordVPN found poked a hole in the myth that the most dangerous cybercriminals are experienced, seasoned professionals.
“Every year we try to predict sophisticated attacks from experienced hackers, who mostly target businesses or influential people,” says Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer at NordVPN. “Taking this year’s approach helped us realize that regular internet users, however, are often attacked by amateur hackers who are still developing their craft. They can also cause a lot of harm to their unsuspecting victims and users need to be informed about their plans.”
Amateur hackers are sharing their knowledge on the dark web, and picking up useful tools of the trade. Among the most commented threads were:
- ‘How to dox’ [i.e. publicly exposing sensitive personal data about a target with the intent to harm or embarrass them]
- ‘List of useful resources for pentesters [people who identify security flaws in a network] and hackers’
- ‘How to hack WhatsApp of your friend by sending a single https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/hacker-u-leaked-nudes-and-ai-predicting-2024-cyber-threats-1004240893/’
- ‘How to instantly crack TikTok accounts easily’
- ‘WiFi hacking course’
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NordVPN found every 10th post on the dark web forum was about learning how to execute some kind of attack, therefore, insurers can expect the number of amateur hackers and cyberattacks to increase in 2024. This means your clients need to respond with more, updated cybersecurity education, the cybersecurity firm warns.
Speaking of doxing, NordVPN found the most popular threads on the forum included discussions about leaking nudes from OnlyFans, Instagram, and other content-sharing platforms. Threads about leaked nudes received almost 1,850 comments and were among the Top 20 most popular threads on the forum.
“This means next year we will see even more attacks, where pictures of naked people will be leaked,” Briedis predicts. “Another route criminals can take is using AI or deepfake technology to create fake nudes to trick their buyers.”
And hackers aren’t restricting their use of AI to create fake nude pictures.
Hacked ChatGPT accounts and tutorials on using AI for attacks are very popular amongst hackers, NordVPN observes. Not only are AI users targets, but hackers are learning how to use AI themselves to make their cyberattacks easier, quicker and more effective.
Using “AI tools will facilitate the automation of a significant portion of phishing attacks, and it is anticipated the frequency of such attacks will escalate in the future, posing significant cybersecurity threats,” says Briedis.
NordVPN recommends that if your clients are unsure about identifying phishing emails, they should use browser extensions created to serve that purpose.
Feature image courtesy of iStock.com/Laurence Dutton