A new look at the cyber security landscape from F-Secure, a global leader in simplifying cyber security, finds that wherever consumers go, cyber criminals will follow. That means users of massive online platforms such as Netflix, Facebook, and Steam should be prepared to face scams and infostealers, criminals’ current favourite threat.
F-Secured, the complete guide to online security in 2023, cuts through the complexity of the cyber crime landscape to offer a look at what were the biggest threats in 2022 and what risks consumers face now. It also includes simple steps users can take to make their favourite digital activities and connected homes safer, along with predictions about the threats our devices and families will face next.
“Cyber criminals benefit from the fact that we spend so much of our lives online. And they know they can reach us on the online services that we use,” said Laura Kankaala, F‑Secure Threat Intelligence Lead. “Because ultimately what they want is our attention. They want to trick us into acting against our own interests to click on malicious links or download malware. So, they spam our email inboxes, tag us in comments on social media, or send us direct messages in gaming or dating apps.”
F-Secure’s Threat Intelligence found that the most imitated social media platform used to spread phishing threats in 2022 was Facebook, the most popular social network on earth, at 62%. Steam, the largest distribution platform for PC games, was the most popular gaming platform to spoof at 37%.
Criminals have also increasingly used Netflix, the most popular video streaming service in most countries, as a phishing lure. Often criminals play upon consumers’ dependence on the service for entertainment. A common scam notifies a user that the service will be cut off because a recent payment was denied and leads to criminals taking over the account.
“Cyber attacks in general have become very personal,” Kankaala said. “And little is more personal than the credentials that secure our intimate digital moments.”
Infostealers rank as the most common Windows threat, making up 69% of the 30 most common attacks, according to F-Secure’s monitoring of prevalent threats. One of the most popular examples of this threat is the RedLine Stealer thanks to its irresistible business model. This customizable malware-as-service allows criminals to suck credentials stored in users’ browsers. Criminals buy this threat and then package the stolen data in the same place–dark web marketplaces.
The report also investigates how criminals profit off scams and malware in the wild. It includes a detailed look at phishing attacks related to Ukraine, the popular “Hi Mum” smishing scams, and attacks that specifically target gamers. In addition, Kankaala offers insights into the unsettling ways internet users can be targeted online by the people they know in real life.
“In the end, we all need cyber security in our lives,” she said. “Because it’s not just about avoiding the criminal hackers, it’s about taking control of our lives online — it’s about being digitally independent.”
Key topics in the F-Secured guide include:
- Malware and infostealers
A comprehensive look at the threats consumers are most likely to face.
- Security and the smart home
A review of challenges faced by consumers, hardware manufacturers and communication service providers due to the swelling numbers of connected devices in the home.
- Phishing for new victims
A look at the emerging phishing trends for 2023 with a focus on the growing risks in gaming and social media.
- Cyber security is getting personal
An examination cyber security issues that arise from adding a digital dimension to interpersonal relationships.
- Trends and predictions
F-Secure researchers, analysts, and threat hunters reveal what they’re seeing on leading edge of cyber security.
Read the whole F-Secured consumer threat guide here and keep up with cyber security news as it breaks each month through F-Alert, F-Secure’s monthly threat report, here.