Consumers are being bombarded with billions of threats every year

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Each year, consumers around the world are bombarded with billions of cyberattacks, most of which are scam attempts, new research from Norton has found. 

Its latest Consumer Cyber Safety Pulse Report has revealed that just in the first half of 2023, the company’s security product blocked more than 1.5 billion threats. 

Given that Norton is just one of many solutions protecting endpoints around the world, it’s safe to assume that the number of threats consumers are facing is in tens of billions, every year.

Abusing AI

The majority of the threats are scams, the paper further details. Phishing is by far the most popular scam tactic, with 117.8 million attempts recorded by Norton between January 1 and June 30 this year. Desktop threats make up 88.9 million of all attacks, while mobile threats accounted for 680,000 attacks. Furthermore, Norton’s AntiTrack feature claims to have blocked over 2.6 billion trackers and fingerprinting attempts.

Going forward, things are only going to get worse, it was said, as the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes phishing attacks easier to mount and scale up. Threat actors are most engaged in e-shop scams (creating fake online stores and similar), sextortion scams (threatening to release compromising information), and tech support scams (warning victims their endpoints are infected and in urgent need of assistance).

With the help of AI, these scams have gotten more realistic, and thus harder to detect, says Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist for Norton. “Leveraging AI, criminals are creating scams that are not only more credible but alarmingly real, making scams more convincing and harder to detect, which is why it’s so important that consumers know what to be aware of.”

But just as hackers can use AI, so can their targets, Norton says, calling upon the consumers to start leveraging AI-powered cybersecurity solutions to stay safe.

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.