Esports could be a target of cyberattacks in 2022, according to Fortinet

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There is no doubt that cybercriminals are becoming smarter and more sophisticated in carrying out cyberattacks. From merely sending out phishing links, these muggers have drastically ramped up their efforts to be able to hack even the mobile banking app of the Philippines’ largest bank.

And, according to cybersecurity solutions provider Fortinet, ensuring one’s digital safety will not get any easier in 2022. In fact, the company predicts that cybercriminals will continue to expand their monstrosities to the most unlikely platforms, specifically esports.

The prediction was developed by Fortinet’s global threat intelligence team FortiGuard Labs and discussed by Fortinet during its online event titled “Predictions for 2022: Tomorrow’s Threats Will Target the Expanding Attack Surface” that Speed and other members of the press attended last December 16.

According to the company, esports is a booming industry that is on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue this year. It is an inviting target for cybercriminals because they require constant connectivity and are often hosted by inconsistently secured home networks or in places with large amounts of open Wi-Fi access.

These attacks can be carried out in many forms, including distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), ransomware, financial theft, and social engineering lures.

To give a clear view of how these attacks could be implemented by cybercriminals, FortiGuard Security Strategist Jonas Walker gave a typical esports tournament as an example.

Imagine taking part in this tournament and as the battle reaches peak intensity, the internet connection gets disrupted.

The reason? Cybercriminals have hacked the system of the event organizers. Now, the hackers are demanding them to pay a huge amount of money, or else the tournament ends right there and there.

Given its rate of growth and increasing interest, esports and online gaming are likely to be large attack targets in 2022.

It can happen not only in the esports industry but more so, to everyday digital customers. That’s why it pays to keep yourself informed of what’s to come and take the necessary steps to protect your devices and online accounts against it.

Read on to know the other cybersecurity threats you should be watching out for this 2022, according to Fortinet and FortiGuard Labs.

1. Guard your digital pockets

Hijacking wire transfers has become increasingly difficult for cybercriminals as financial institutions encrypt transactions and require multi-factor authentication (MFA). Digital wallets, on the other hand, can sometimes be less secure.

While individual wallets may not have as big of a payoff, this could change as businesses begin to increasingly use digital wallets as currency for online transactions. As this happens, it is likely that more malware will be designed specifically to target stored credentials and to drain digital wallets.

2. Ransomware will get more destructive

Ransomware will remain the focus of crimeware expansion. Adding a “ticking time bomb” type of software to the malware will add urgency to companies being asked by attackers to pay up quickly. Wiper malware has already made a visible comeback, targeting the Olympic Games in Tokyo, for example.

Given the level of convergence seen between cybercriminal attack methods and advanced persistent threats (APTs), it is just a matter of time before destructive capabilities, like those of wiper malware, are added to ransomware toolkits.

3. Cybercriminals to use AI to master deep fakes

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already used defensively in many ways, such as detecting unusual behavior that may indicate an attack, usually by botnets. Cybercriminals are also leveraging AI to thwart the complicated algorithms used to detect their abnormal activity.

This is expected to evolve, as deep fakes have become a growing concern because they leverage AI to mimic human activities and can be used to enhance social engineering attacks. In addition, the bar to creating deep fakes will be lowered through the continued commercialization of advanced applications.

These could eventually lead to real-time impersonations and pose challenges for secure forms of authentication such as voiceprints or facial recognition. 

4. Cybercrime targets space

FortiGuard Labs expects to see new proof-of-concept (POC) threats targeting satellite networks over the next year, as satellite-based internet access continues to grow. The biggest targets will be organizations that rely on satellite-based connectivity to support low-latency activities, like online gaming or delivering critical services to remote locations, pipelines, cruises, and airlines.

This will also expand the potential attack surface as organizations add satellite networks to connect previously off-grid systems, such as remote OT devices, to their interconnected networks. As this happens, attack types such as ransomware are likely to follow.

To prevent any of these threats from happening, organizations should adopt an integrated security platform that secures all assets on-premises, in the data center, and in the cloud, or at the edge. Defenders will need to plan ahead with the use of AI and machine learning (ML) to speed threat prevention, detection, and response.

In addition, segmentation will remain a foundational strategy to restrict the movement of cybercriminals inside a network and to keep breaches restricted to a smaller portion of the network. Shared data and partnership can also enable more effective responses and better predict future techniques to deter adversary efforts.

Read next: 3 things to know before getting your first online shopping card

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