Predicted trends include nuclear ransomware 3.0, a major power station/utility provider will be crippled, disinformation powered by deep fakes, the rise of dark economy M&A and more
KnowBe4, the provider of the world’s largest security awareness training and simulated phishing platform, today announced its 2022 cybersecurity predictions from its team of industry experts.
The predicted cybersecurity trends for 2022 include:
- Nuclear Ransomware 3.0 – A trend that is currently building for the future on the side of the bad actor is that ransomware gangs are morphing into “everything gangs”. Instead of just doing ransomware and data exfiltration, they are doing crypto mining, botnet creation, DDoS attacks, etc. The attack gangs of the future will look at every new victim as a pot of gold and try to figure out what to do and in which order to maximise financial value extraction.
- New Malware Family: Not the Kind You Would Welcome Into Your Home – A new dangerous and persistent metamorphic malware family called “Tardigrade” is a new strain of Windows malware. It can constantly adapt to avoid detection and was first found targeting the biotech industry, including the infrastructure behind vaccine manufacturing, according to security researchers. This “metamorphic” ability prevents the malware from leaving a consistent signature behind, making it very hard for antivirus programs to spot. It contains the sneaky ability to spread both via phishing emails and USB devices.
- Virtually Pwned – Meta, the brand formerly known as Facebook, will entice masses to join the Metaverse. This will spawn a rush to establish dominance in the virtual world. As a result, hackers will also be drawn into this world, and we will see virtual attacks against both individuals and organisations. We will see an explosion of bad things happen to people and resources in the virtual world…virtual looting, virtual theft, account takeovers and more creative criminal exploits.
- Disinformation Powered by Deep Fakes Will Cause a Political/Financial Circus – We will see a coordinated disinformation campaign that will rely heavily on deep fakes and manipulated footage to cause a political/financial circus. A deep fake could be used to manipulate a certain political party’s views by stating false opinions, promises or beliefs of a particular candidate. This could cause a chain reaction of certain organisations pulling funds from a political campaign based on statements made by the deep fake.
- An Attack Against Cryptocurrency Will Hit Real World Economies – A major cryptocurrency will be attacked, causing billions of dollars in lost value either through direct theft or in value loss. Many individuals and organisations will be severely impacted and it will be referred to as the Black Crypto Day.
- A Major EU Power Station/Utility Provider Will Be Crippled in a Novel Way Other Than Ransomware – Most likely somewhere in Eastern Europe, we will see some bad actors cut off your power, your gas and your water. Then as you watch in horror as your phone, tablets and laptop batteries die, they will hand out an olive branch that many will be ready to accept, but at what cost?
- Someone Will Hack Back the Wrong Bad Actor and Trigger an International Incident – An overly-eager security researcher will think they have identified the culprit behind a major attack. In an act of retaliation, they will hack back only to discover they did not attribute the attack correctly. This will cause a major international incident and the organisation responsible will be placed under extreme scrutiny.
- The Rise of Dark Economy M&A – A lot of criminal gangs have become extremely wealthy. In fact, some shady organisations are large enough to be listed on a stock exchange. So, we will see a more formalised dark economy emerge with some M&A activity taking place as some gangs will look to cash-in by selling their organisation while others look to grow in capability and reach.
- When AI Goes Wrong In 2022 – We’ll see the first wave of intelligent attack bots. The future is good threat hunting bots versus bad bots and the best algorithm wins.
“In many ways, it seems as if things are getting worse for cybersecurity professionals who are trying their best to protect their organisations,” said Stu Sjouwerman, CEO, KnowBe4. “But I think we are starting to see more of a focus on the human element, including human behaviour, of cybersecurity protection measures. This is a positive shift in direction because people can implement all of the technical tools and controls in the world, but if they do not focus their efforts on the human layer of security, they are going to run into challenges. At the end of the day, a strong security culture is what truly matters and what we will see organisations focused on as we move into 2022.”
The predicted trends were collected from KnowBe4’s global team of security awareness advocates who are experts with decades of experience in the cybersecurity field