McAfee Reveals 2024 Cybersecurity Predictions: Advancement of AI Shapes the Future of Online Scams

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–McAfee Corp., a global leader in online protection, today released its 2024 predictions. The predictions reveal issues consumers might face in 2024, as cybercrooks continue to exploit rapidly advancing AI technology to create dangerous deepfakes and carry out identity theft and increasingly sophisticated cyber scams.

“As AI continues to lower the barrier to entry for cybercriminals and ushers in a new era of AI-powered cyberthreats, scams will become more sophisticated and difficult to distinguish from legitimate messages and sites. From realistic phishing emails that even experts have trouble identifying to deepfakes that could impact everything from election results to the future of our children and beyond, it has never been more important for people to be educated about the threat landscape,” said Steve Grobman, Chief Technology Officer, McAfee. “McAfee is committed to continuous innovation to better protect privacy, identity and personal information while bringing truth, trust, and transparency to the forefront of your online experience.”

McAfee’s 2024 predictions include:

Scammers vote ‘yes’, consumers vote ‘no’ to deepfakes that disrupt 2024 elections

“Fake news” will take on a new meaning in 2024, as the U.S. Presidential Election, Indian general election, and European Union parliamentary elections, task voters with filtering through misinformation amidst a rise in deepfakes, such as AI-generated voice, video, and photo scams. Voters have learned to be skeptical of politicians when discrediting their opponents, however, claims backed by visual or audio evidence can be destructive to a politician’s reputation – even when these photos or videos are produced by AI.

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 tools will help bad actors fabricate photos, videos, and audio, generating social media goldmines. Consumers should brace for celebrity and influencer names and images to be used by cybercrooks to endorse scams, and local online marketplaces.

Cyberbullying among kids will continue to soar

One of the most troubling trends on the horizon for 2024 is that cyberbullying will pick up with the help of deepfake technology. Young adults can now use this advanced and remotely accessible tool to create exceptionally realistic fake content. Beyond spreading rumors, cyberbullies are now able to manipulate images available in the public domain and repost fabricated and explicit versions of those images. The escalating intensity of these false images and words can pose significant and lasting harm to kids and their families, impacting their privacy, identity, and well-being.

Donating dangers: caring consumers will see more charity fraud

Scammers exploit our deepest emotions, from excitement to 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 fake funding pages seem real. In 2024, the prevalence of these scams – particularly those related to highly visible conflicts and humanitarian crises – is likely to increase.

New strains of malware, voice, visual cloning and QR code 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, posing a significant 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 emails and QR code scams, 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. The rise of QR code scams, also known as quishing, is an additional concern. Scammers use AI to generate malicious QR codes that, when scanned, lead to phishing websites or trigger malware downloads. As the barrier to entry for these threats lowers, these scams will spread to 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 key shopping seasons, they adapt their scam playbook to capitalize on the biggest moments of the year. In 2024, the global excitement around the Olympic Games will become a breeding ground for scams. Scammers will exploit consumer enthusiasm around the event, targeting fans who are eager to buy tickets, book travel, and participate in giveaways. This presents a golden opportunity to trick people into compromising their personal information and payment details.

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