While ransomware will be much “deadlier” than before, cybercriminals have found new attack surfaces to target in 2022. This is just one of FortiGuard Labs, Fortinet’s global threat intelligence and research team, predictions for the coming year.
The phenomenal rise of cryptocurrencies makes it an attractive target. Threat actors will prey on crypto wallets stored on web browsers and spread malware.
“Especially in a time where many individuals are trying to invest in these cryptocurrencies, we see a lot of attacks already either in Q4 (fourth quarter) this year, targeting individuals, and cryptocurrencies accounts,” said Jonas Walker security strategist at FortiGuard Labs in a virtual briefing. “So this is not really something which is only affecting companies but pretty much everyone who has his own computers.”
Walker explained that threat actors employ different strategies to mess with crypto wallets. Aside from stealing the contents of the wallets, attackers can also manipulate their recipients by switching contacts to different people.
Walker also highlighted that esports, as a multibillion-dollar industry, is an inviting target for cybercriminals, whether by using DDoS attacks, ransomware, financial and transactional theft, or social engineering attacks since they require constant connectivity. Actors will target the networks (mostly home networks where gamers usually have their stations). Large gaming events wherein many are tuned in are also enticing prey given the sheer number of people connected to a network.
“It’s a very lucrative field for threat actors to be more and more interested in because again, there’s a lot of money to be made mainly financial intersections in these environments,” Walker said.
Edge computing is another target security researchers are looking at the increasing number of Internet-of-Things (IoT) and OT devices with 5G technology now on the mainstream. Cybercriminals will work to maximize any potential security gaps created by intelligent edges and advances in computing power to create advanced and more destructive threats at an unprecedented scale. And as edge devices become more powerful with more native capabilities, new attacks will be designed to “live off the edge.” An increase in attacks targeting OT, at the edge, in particular, is likely as the convergence of IT and OT networks continue.
Fortiguard Labs also emphasized that ransomware will get more destructive with the expansion of crimeware.
“Ransomware attackers already add to the noise by combining ransomware with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), hoping to overwhelm IT teams so they cannot take last-second actions to mitigate an attack’s damage,” according to Fortiguard Labs.
Threat actors will add wiper malware, which could not only wreck data but destroy systems and hardware, creating additional urgency for companies to pay up quickly.
Given the level of convergence seen between cybercriminal attack methods and advanced persistent threats (APTs), it is just a matter of time before destructive capabilities like wiper malware are added to ransomware toolkits. This could be a concern for emerging edge environments, critical infrastructure, and supply chains.