Nude leaks are emerging as the top cyber risk of 2024.Discussions are heating up on dark web forums around nude images and videos leaked from platforms such as OnlyFans and Instagram.
Security researchers from NordVPN have compiled a list of the top five cybersecurity risks that will dominate next year, based on conversations among hackers.
After analyzing current topics on one of the largest hacker forums on the dark web, the researchers found that discussions about how nude images are shared and hacked are the most interesting.
According to NordVPN, monitoring cybercriminals’ conversations on dark web forums is a good way to predict the evolution of online threats.
“The more accurately we anticipate emerging risks, the better we can prepare for them,” the researchers say.
Here’s a full list of what to be wary of in 2024.
According to NordVPN, forum threads about leaked nude photos and videos were among the most commented on forums.
With more than 1,800 comments, threads discussing sharing and hacking nudes were among the top 20 forum threads in terms of number of interactions.
Content-sharing platforms such as OnlyFans, Instagram and others were at the center of the attention, researchers said.
“Leaks of nude images have increased over the past decade. As internet users and celebrities increasingly store private data in the cloud, hackers have more opportunities than ever before to steal sensitive images from their victims,” NordVPN said.
“Based on forum discussions, NordVPN researchers are confident that such crimes will only increase in 2024,” the report said.
Crimes driven by artificial intelligence
Another threat that researchers believe will skyrocket in 2024 is AI-driven cybercrime. Cybercriminals have already shown interest in using deepfakes for malicious purposes, including deepfakes of celebrities endorsing fraud or candid images of real people.
AI could also be used to improve the spelling and grammar of phishing emails, which could make it easier for hackers to convince their victims to click on risky links and attachments.
“2023 may have been the year that artificial intelligence embraced all areas of the internet, but in 2024 users will have to reckon with the darker implications of this rapidly evolving technology,” according to NordVPN.
Rise of amateur hackers
Based on “numerous” posts on dark web forums from people wanting to learn or teach others how to perform cyberattacks, NordVPN also predicts the rise of amateur hackers in 2024.
Among the most active topics viewed by researchers were topics such as: “How to make a dox,” “How to hack your friend’s WhatsApp by sending one link,” “How to instantly and easily hack TikTok accounts,” and “Wi-Fi hacking course.”
“With growing awareness of cybersecurity threats comes a new generation of would-be hackers hoping to capitalize on phishing, malware distribution, and data theft,” the researchers said.
Sales of stolen data are set to rise
NordVPN researchers noted that “approximately 55%” of the discussion topics focused on leaked customer data, suggesting that its value will increase even more in 2024.
Among the information stolen were social media credentials, driver’s licenses, home addresses and personal email addresses.
“Customer data can be sold on the dark web for big bucks, and this trend is likely to continue in 2024,” NordVPN said.
“We can expect data from corporate hacks to be sold in large quantities to cybercriminals who can use the information to launch scams, hijack accounts or steal people’s identities,” the report said.
New ways to circumvent biometrics
Another current threat that will grow in the next year is new ways for cybercriminals to bypass biometric authentication, such as facial or fingerprint recognition.
While biometrics certainly add an extra layer of security, hackers are quickly learning how to bypass those defenses, security experts warn.
And they’re getting answers on the dark web, where a forum reviewed by NordVPN researchers had a popular post with instructions on how to bypass selfie verification.
“Biometric authentication certainly has a role to play in digital security, but it is best thought of as one part of a broader security solution, rather than a silver bullet,” the researchers say.