Stepping into 2024 with a look at emerging cybersecurity risks

Luis Corrons 12 Dec 2023

Avast's 2024 guide: AI risks, loan app dangers, chat scams. Stay ahead of evolving cyber threats and secure your digital world.

As we head into 2024, the digital world continues to evolve, bringing with it a host of sophisticated new cyber threats. Our threat researchers have been hard at work analyzing data from the previous year to predict what might be coming down the line in the upcoming year.  

Since Avast is a part of Gen™—a global company with a family of trusted consumer brands—don't miss the full list of cybersecurity predictions on their website. But, in the meantime, here’s the list that we thought was particularly relevant for Avast. 

1. AI will take a massive leap forward in 2024, with both good and bad results

As we look ahead to 2024, the AI landscape is poised for some pretty big changes. Think of AI not just as a tech trend, but as a daily companion, evolving right in our pockets and on our desks. This shift to more compact, device-based AI, particularly in Large Language Models (LLMs), is a leap forward in both convenience and privacy. But, as with any leap, there's a need to watch where we land – and that's where cybersecurity comes in.   

As AI becomes more woven into the fabric of our daily lives, from creating content to streamlining our work, it's important to remember that with great power comes great responsibility – especially in keeping our digital lives secure. The rise of personal AI tools in professional spaces could accidentally open doors to data breaches, and social media is gearing up to be a playground for AI-driven scams. These are not just plot twists in a sci-fi movie; they're real challenges that need smart, proactive solutions.   

In 2024, we're not just facing the usual suspects in cybersecurity. We're looking at AI-assisted threats that are more sophisticated and harder to spot. Think deepfakes that could fool even the keenest eye, or scams so well-crafted they blend right into our daily scrolls. It's a bit like a digital game of cat and mouse, and staying one step ahead means being both alert and informed. So, as we embrace AI's new frontiers, let's do it with both enthusiasm and a keen eye for safety. After all, the future is here, and we've got the smarts to make it a secure one. 

 2. Instant loan apps on mobile will open up new avenues for blackmail and extortion

Get ready to see a whole new type of digital extortion in 2024: Instant loan apps acting like old school loan sharks.  

The rise of instant loan apps has been a double-edged sword. While they offer quick cash to people who need it, some of them are traps leading to data theft, blackmail, and extortion. Shady lenders exploit borrowers' desperation by charging exorbitant upfront fees and using stolen personal data to enforce repayments. Not unlike dealing with an old school loan shark, this leaves the borrower paying much more than the original loan amount, trapped in a cycle of debt and privacy invasion.  

As these apps gain in popularity, we expect to see this type of scam more often as well. 

3. Fake chat apps will try to steal your info

Mobile chat applications, which most of us interact with daily, will become even more popular in 2024—for regular consumers and for thieves. Cybercriminals are creating fake chat apps that appear legit but are laced with spyware and stealers targeting cryptocurrency and personal data.  

These trojanized apps hide their true purpose, persuading users to grant broad permissions under the guise of offering enhanced chat functionalities. This can lead to unauthorized access to sensitive information, including cryptocurrency keys, personal messages, and contact lists.    

4. Mobile threats will more focus on web-based attacks

In 2024, expect to see a move away from direct app-based attacks on mobile to web-based threats. Phishing attacks—delivered through social media, messaging platforms, or emails—are now more prevalent on mobile devices, accounting for a majority of cyber-attacks. This shift is partly because it’s harder to embed malware in apps compared to the relative ease of executing web-based attacks.  

5. Crypto wallets will become increasingly targeted

As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream cybercriminals will be going hard for crypto wallets. These attackers use sophisticated methods to steal digital wallets, putting both individual and institutional cryptocurrency holders’ coin at risk. The fact that you can’t reverse a crypto transaction makes these types of attacks especially appealing to criminals—and especially devastating to crypto investors. 

6. “Malware as a Service” will lead to a whole new generation of cybercriminals

In 2024, we expect that “Malware as a Service” (MaaS) will become increasingly sophisticated. Platforms like Lumma already offer malware subscriptions with advanced features, allowing even newbie cybercriminals to launch complex attacks. This lowers the barrier to entry for cybercrime, letting more attackers participate in malicious activities. The profits from these activities are then reinvested into making the malware better, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of stronger and stronger cyber attacks. 

7. Cryptocurrency exchanges will become major attack targets

Attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, especially those handling multiple currencies, are about to jump in 2024. These platforms are often targeted by sophisticated cybercriminals who take advantage of vulnerabilities in order to steal funds. And, unfortunately, the complexity and novelty of these attacks make them particularly challenging to detect and prevent. 


As we navigate through 2024, staying informed and proactive is key to protecting yourself and your business from these new, sophisticated cyber threats. Whether it’s through practicing caution and common sense online, using secure platforms, or staying updated with the latest cybersecurity trends, your digital safety is in your hands. Remember: You absolutely can stay one step ahead of the crooks. 

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