Artificial Intelligence makes cyber attacks more dangerous

G DATA IT Security Trends 2022: To achieve their goals, attackers rely on multi-ransomware attacks and use artificial intelligence to create better malicious code. […]

The integration of Android apps in Windows 11 not only opens up new possibilities for users. (c) Unsplash

The trend of rising cybercrime will continue in 2022, according to a statement from G DATA. Attackers especially target companies in order to achieve maximum profit. In doing so, they proceed in a division of labor and refine their methods. A trend in the coming years: the attackers misuse legal tools for their purposes, such as malware programming via Codex. An artificial intelligence that converts language into various programming languages, such as Python, JavaScript or PHP. Codex makes programming easier and faster and reduces errors in the code. This now also benefits malware authors, who can write malware faster and better in this way. At the same time, the attackers use new languages for malware, such as Kotlin or Swift. New principles and features make the work of cybercriminals easier.

“Criminals have to adapt their strategies because it is no longer enough to hide malicious code from security software with packers,” says Karsten Hahn, malware analyst at G DATA CyberDefense. “Malicious code in new programming languages can sometimes be more difficult to analyze, because at the beginning there is no support for special analysis tools. But this is only a matter of time. So the well-known cat-and-mouse game between criminal hackers and defenders continues.“

Ransomware on Steroids

But not only new attack possibilities threaten the networks in companies, organizations and municipalities, but also the further development of existing and profitable attack vectors. Therefore, we can expect more multi-ransomware attacks. The criminals combine several attack vectors: they derive data from the company, encrypt the data on the network and carry out a DDoS attack on the company’s website. Subsequently, they blackmail not only the company, but also the customers and threaten with the publication of personal data in case of non-payment. In addition, attackers adjust their targets to increase the pressure on their victims. Therefore, in the future they will no longer only attack the infrastructure of a company, but also networked products – from vehicles to game consoles to kitchen appliances or networked industrial plants. Another trend: Operators of critical infrastructures in particular are increasingly being targeted, because they have a large and valuable treasure trove of data.

“The level of IT security in companies is directly related to the entire level of IT,” says Tim Berghoff, Security Evangelist at G DATA CyberDefense. “The more professional a company is, the higher the security here. Small and medium-sized enterprises have considerable catching up to do. To do this, you need to free up your budget and either hire specialized personnel or work with external service providers.“

Windows 11: access through the Android backdoor

With the possible integration of Android apps in Windows 11, Microsoft is not only opening up new possibilities for users to play games on a large monitor instead of the smartphone screen in the future. There are also new ways for cybercriminals to attack Windows computers and inject malicious code into systems. Companies or IT administrators are also required here if a bring-your-own-device policy allows the use of private Android devices for business purposes. Currently, mobile malware developers are still struggling with a number of practical problems, such as approval procedures in app stores. However, mobile malware can be disguised as an update for a popular software package and thus infects smartphones because many people are careless and do not pay attention to warnings.

Small and medium-sized enterprises in the crosshairs

2021 has already shown that cybercriminals are increasingly attacking supply chains in order to infiltrate companies. This trend will not only continue, but also intensify. In particular, small and medium-sized companies are coming into focus because they are still not paying the necessary attention to the topic of IT security. They are often the weakest link in the chain and offer attackers the gateway to infiltrate even larger organizations.

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