HomeSecurity ArchitectureEvolution of cybercrime tactics: integrating AI and online ads

Evolution of cybercrime tactics: integrating AI and online ads

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A new report from BlueVoyant looks at the new risks organizations face from outside the traditional IT perimeters.

In particular, cybercriminals are using AI to create more effective phishing campaigns, and employing online adverts to lure victims to malicious websites.

“The biggest cybersecurity risk from the increasing use of AI tools is an escalated volume of attacks,” says Ron Feler, BlueVoyant’s global head of threat intelligence. “While the essentials of the attacks don’t change, the increased number and diversity of attacks make defenders’ jobs more challenging.”

When setting up a malicious ad campaign, threat actors utilize the vast customization options available for advertisers as a sophisticated evasion mechanism, displaying the ads only to specific users meeting the criteria such as specific locations, devices, and times of day.

The report also highlights the need for better email security as many organizations are not enabling all the key components — such as DMARC — that secure the authenticity and integrity of the messages, which could leave them susceptible to email-based threats.

“Organizations’ attack surfaces are ever expanding, and cyber threat actors are adapting their strategies to exploit new avenues of vulnerabilities,” says Joel Molinoff, BlueVoyant’s global head of supply chain defense. “BlueVoyant undertook this research to shine a light on the attack vectors organizations need to be aware of and recommended actions to help prevent the latest threats.”

In the past year, the report finds that there’s been a continued upswing in unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities or emerging vulnerabilities. The time frame between the announcement of emerging and zero-day vulnerabilities and their subsequent exploitation has reduced too. This suggests that adversaries are increasingly prepared to immediately capitalize on newly discovered vulnerabilities, prompting a high-stakes race between threat actors and defenders following a disclosure.

According to the full report available from the BlueVoyant site, the risks posed to organizations from outside the traditional IT perimeters continue to evolve as cybercriminals employ more sophisticated tactics such as AI-assisted phishing campaigns and using online adverts to lure victims to malicious websites.

The report finds that cybercriminals are leveraging the advanced targeting options available for online ads to evade detection and only display malicious ads to specific users meeting certain criteria such as location, device, and time of day. This makes it more challenging for organizations to detect and defend against these malicious campaigns.

Furthermore, the report emphasizes the need for organizations to enhance their email security by enabling key components like DMARC to secure the authenticity and integrity of messages, which could otherwise leave them vulnerable to email-based threats.

Joel Molinoff, BlueVoyant’s global head of supply chain defense, states that organizations’ attack surfaces are expanding, and cyber threat actors are adapting their strategies to exploit new vulnerabilities. The report aims to raise awareness of these evolving attack vectors and provide recommendations to help prevent the latest threats.

Additionally, the report warns of the increasing prevalence of unpatched zero-day vulnerabilities and emerging vulnerabilities. The reduced time frame between the discovery of vulnerabilities and their exploitation suggests that threat actors are prepared to immediately capitalize on these vulnerabilities, creating a race between attackers and defenders.

Overall, the report underscores the need for organizations to remain vigilant and proactive in implementing robust cybersecurity measures to protect against evolving cyber threats.

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