Here’s What The Future of Cybercrime Looks Like According To An Expert

Here’s What The Future of Cybercrime Looks Like According To An Expert

Technology is ever-evolving and as quickly as tech is being developed, cybercriminals are hard at work trying to crack the next big exploit in these systems.

While we may feel like we have a solid grasp on what to look out for when browsing online, statistics show otherwise. The Australian Signals Directorate saw a 23% increase in reported cyber crimes in 2023. More concerning, experts are seeing that Gen Z is more susceptible due to newer online scams designed specifically to attack them.

To help us understand why cybercrime is increasing, and to outline where it may be heading, we asked Carinne Bird, a cybersecurity expert, about the future of cybercrime and what we can expect in the near future.

Gizmodo: Could you describe what kinds of cybercrime exist now?

Carinne: Cybercrime, featuring hacking, social engineering, malware attacks, identity theft, and online fraud, poses a pervasive threat to individuals, businesses, non-profits, and governments. Perpetrators aim to swipe sensitive data, disrupt operations, or cause financial harm.

From phishing scams to sophisticated ransomware attacks encrypting files for payment, and exploiting weaknesses in unpatched software systems, cybercriminals deploy various nefarious tactics for financial gain. With the increasing reliance on technology in our daily lives, cybercrime has become a significant threat that requires constant vigilance and proactive measures to protect against.

How likely is it for someone to be a victim of a cybercrime?

Carinne: The Australian Signals Directorate reported a staggering 96,000 cybercrimes in 2022-2023, translating to an incident every six minutes, costing Australians billions.

Abigail Bradshaw, Deputy Director General for the ASD, warns that these official figures are just a fraction of the true cyber threat, with many incidents likely unreported. The ASD received 33,000 calls last year, an average of 90 calls per day, underscoring the pervasive threat individuals face.

The Eastern Seaboard states were most impacted, with Queensland and Victoria reporting the highest number of cybercrimes, while New South Wales and the ACT reported the highest average financial loss per crime. Australia’s strategic position in the APAC region and widespread digital adoption make it an attractive target for cyber criminals.

What can happen if you are the victim of a cybercrime?

Carinne: Becoming a victim of cybercrime can have severe repercussions, with personal and financial data at risk of theft, leading to identity fraud and financial losses. Cybercriminals may disrupt online operations, compromise sensitive information, or deploy ransomware, encrypting files until a ransom is paid. Victimisation can result in emotional distress, damage to reputation, and legal implications.

The aftermath of cybercrime may be a very costly recovery effort to restore compromised systems and data. Individuals or organisations can suffer long-term consequences, such as compromised credit scores, financial instability, and prolonged legal battles to rectify the damage caused by the cyber incident.

How can someone protect themselves from cybercrime?

Carinne: Individuals should use unique, complex passwords for each login, log out of digital platforms when not in use, and implement multi-factor authentication. It is crucial to update software regularly, back up important data, and avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails or texts.

Checking email syntax, looking for irregularities, and being cautious of unusual requests can help prevent falling victim to scams. Individuals should change passwords frequently, use secure payment methods, and verify suspicious messages directly with the source.

Reporting unusual activity promptly and staying educated on cybersecurity practices are essential for safeguarding against cyber threats.

Is cybercrime increasing?

Carinne: The recorded 96,000 cybercrimes in 2022-2023 represented a 23% increase from the previous year, indicating a shift from one incident every seven minutes to one every six minutes. The average cost of cybercrime has risen by 14% annually over the last two years. Older Australians, especially those aged 65 and above, have experienced a notable 47.4% surge in targeting compared to 2021.

This data clearly underscores the escalating trend of cybercrime, which is projected to persist in the upcoming year. Maintaining vigilance, promptly reporting any suspicious activity, and enhancing awareness of cybersecurity practices are essential steps for individuals to protect themselves from cyber scams.

How can someone report suspected cybercrime activity?

Carinne: They can report cybercrime, security risks, incidents, or vulnerabilities through ReportCyber, the Australian Government’s online cybercrime reporting tool affiliated with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Additionally, individuals can report scams to Scamwatch, managed by the National Anti-Scam Centre.

If any unusual activity is noticed or if a scammer obtains money or information, individuals should contact their bank and other relevant organisations promptly. In the event of a personal data breach where personal and private information is compromised, reporting to the OAIC, Office of Australian Information Commission, the regulator for privacy and freedom of information is crucial for addressing the situation effectively.

Reporting cybercrime is crucial as it allows authorities like ASD / ACSC to gather crucial information quickly and prevent further attacks, ultimately protecting others from falling victim to cybercriminals. Additionally, reporting data breaches under the NDB scheme helps ensure affected individuals are notified, promoting transparency and accountability in handling sensitive information.

What will the future of cybercrime look like?

Carinne: The future of cybercrime is expected to evolve with advancements in technology, posing new challenges for cybersecurity.

With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and increased connectivity, cybercriminals may target these vulnerabilities to launch sophisticated attacks. AI and machine learning could be used to create more advanced cyber threats, such as deepfake scams and automated phishing attacks.

As more data is generated and stored online, ransomware attacks and data breaches are likely to become more prevalent. The rise of cryptocurrency and digital payments may also provide new avenues for cybercriminals to exploit. To combat these emerging threats, enhanced cybersecurity measures, global collaboration, and continuous innovation will be crucial in safeguarding against future cybercrime challenges.

Staying protected

If you’re looking to future-proof your devices from potential cyber attacks, it’s worth considering Avast One Gold. The package is an all-in-one suite designed with multiple layers of security to help keep your mobile and desktop devices virus-free and protect your data.

Not only do you get advanced security with Avast anti-virus, which will help safeguard your devices from existing and emerging malware threats, but the package also comes with a VPN with unlimited data to help keep your personal and financial information private when you go online.

The software also helps automatically block fake and malicious websites, protecting you against scammers who want to trick you into handing over sensitive information or downloading ransomware.

Because Email Phishing scams continue to be one of the more prominent kinds of cyber attacks, Avast One Gold comes with an Email Guardian. This feature keeps scams away from your inbox, flagging suspicious emails before they reach you. Additionally, the suite includes features to easily update software and drivers for Windows PCs to help patch security holes and make your PC run smoother.

If you’re looking to protect yourself against the rising tide of cybercrime, it’s worth considering software like Avast One Gold, which could make a serious difference between feeling secure online and avoiding having your personal information compromised.

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