Dark web forums are abuzz with discussions centering around nude images and videos leaked from platforms like OnlyFans and Instagram.
Security researchers at NordVPN have compiled a list of top five cybersecurity risks set to dominate next year – based on the conversations between hackers.
After analyzing trending topics on one of the dark web’s largest hacker forums, researchers found that discussions about ways to share and hack nude images were generating the most interest.
Monitoring the conversation taking place between cybercriminals on the dark web forums is a good way to predict the evolving online threat landscape, according to NordVPN.
“The more accuracy with which we anticipate emerging risks, the better we can prepare for them,” researchers said.
Here’s a full list of what you should be looking out for in 2024.
According to NordVPN, forum threads about leaked nude photographs and videos were among the most commented on.
With more than 1,800 comments, threads discussing the sharing and hacking of nudes were among top 20 forum threads, based on interactions.
The conversation centered on content-sharing platforms such as OnlyFans, Instagram, and others, according to researchers.
“Leaks of nude images have been on the rise over the last decade. As internet users and celebrities increasingly store private data on the cloud, hackers have more opportunity than ever before to steal sensitive imagery from their victims,” NordVPN said.
“Based on these forum discussions, NordVPN researchers are confident that such crimes will only increase in 2024,” it said.
Another threat that is expected to explode in 2024 is AI-assisted cybercrime, researchers found. Cybercriminals have already shown interest in using deepfakes for malicious purposes, including deepfakes of celebrities endorsing scams or explicit imagery or real people.
AI can also be used to improve the spelling and grammar of phishing emails, which could make it easier for hackers to convince their victims to engage with risky links and attachments.
“2023 might have been the year that AI took off across all areas of the internet, but in 2024 users will have to reckon with the darker consequences of this rapidly evolving technology,” NordVPN said.
Rise of amateur hackers
Based on “numerous” dark web forum posts from people wanting to learn or teach others how to perform cyberattacks, NordVPN also predicts the rise of amateur hackers in 2024.
Some of the most active forum threads reviewed by researchers included: “How to dox,” “How to hack WhatsApp of your friend by sending a single link,” “How to instantly crack TikTok accounts easily,” and “Wi-Fi hacking course.”
“With a growing awareness of cybersecurity threats comes a new generation of would-be hackers hoping to make money from phishing, spreading malware, and stealing data,” researchers said.
Sales of stolen data to increase
NordVPN researchers said that “approximately 55%” of discussion threads focused on leaked customer data, indicating that it will grow even more valuable in 2024.
The stolen information in question included social media credentials, driver’s licenses, home addresses, and personal email addresses.
“Customer data can end up being sold on the dark web for large sums of money, and this trend will probably continue into 2024,” NordVPN said.
“We can expect to see data from corporate breaches being sold in large bundles to cybercriminals, who can use this information to launch scams, hijack accounts, or steal peoples’ identities,” it said.
New ways to bypass biometrics
Another pressing threat set to grow next year is new ways cybercriminals will find to bypass biometric authentication, such as facial recognition or fingerprint.
While biometrics certainly added an extra layer of security, hackers were quickly learning to get around these defences, security experts warned.
And they get answers on the dark web, where a forum viewed by NordVPN researchers included a popular post giving instructions on how to bypass selfie verification.
“Biometric authentication certainly has a role to play in digital security, but it is better understood as one part of a larger security solution rather than a silver bullet,” researchers said.
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