Unwrapping the Threat: AI-Powered Phishing Attacks Take Center Stage in 2023 Holidays

Unwrapping Threat AI Powered PhishingAs the holiday season approaches, so does the annual surge in online shopping and holiday package tracking. Unfortunately, this joyous time has also become a prime hunting ground for cybercriminals.

In a concerning development, cybersecurity experts are sounding the alarm about a new weapon in the phishing attackers' arsenal: generative artificial intelligence (AI).

In this blog post, we explore the rising threat of AI-powered phishing attacks during the 2023 holiday season and the efforts taken by cybersecurity organizations to counteract these malicious activities.

The Growing Menace

Inbox defenders are raising red flags about the integration of generative AI into phishing attacks, providing attackers with a potent tool to exploit the hustle and bustle of holiday-related online activities. With consumers and companies set to spend a record $270 billion in online shopping, the stakes are higher than ever.

The Super Bowl of Cybercrime

Online holiday fraud has become a lucrative event for cybercriminals, akin to the Super Bowl. In 2022, scammers in the United States alone pocketed more than $73 million during the holiday season according to the FBI. This number is expected to rise, considering the 1,265% uptick in phishing email attacks observed in the past year, a surge researchers attribute to the involvement of AI.

ChatGPT and FraudGPT

Cybercriminals have leveraged AI tools like ChatGPT for years, and malicious spin-offs like FraudGPT are making phishing and spear phishing attacks more efficient. IBM X-Force researchers found that ChatGPT is nearly as effective as human experts in crafting convincing phishing emails, but it takes only a fraction of the time. This trend is particularly dangerous during the holidays, as spear phishing attacks spiked by over 150% the week before Christmas, according to Barracuda Networks.

AI's Dangerous Capabilities

Generative AI tools can smooth out spelling and grammar mistakes, historically dead giveaways for scam emails. Additionally, they can create more convincing mimics of legitimate websites, making it challenging for users to distinguish between real and fake sites. "12 Frauds of Christmas" for 2023 include classic tactics like fake delivery tracking links, charity scams and gift card scams, but with the added twist of generative AI, both volume and success rates are poised to increase.

As the 2023 holiday season approaches, the convergence of festivities and online activities creates a ripe environment for cybercriminals. The integration of generative AI into phishing attacks poses a new and potent threat. However, with the proactive efforts of implementing security measures such as new-school security awareness training for your organization, there is hope for a safer online holiday experience. Stay vigilant and teach your users best cybersecurity practices to ensure a secure and joyful holiday season!

KnowBe4 enables your workforce to make smarter security decisions every day. Over 65,000 organizations worldwide trust the KnowBe4 platform to strengthen their security culture and reduce human risk.

SC Media has the full story. 

Get Your Free 2023 Holiday Security Awareness Resource Kit

It's the busiest time of year for everyone, especially cybercriminals. They know surges in online shopping, holiday travel and time constraints can make it easier to catch users off their guard with relevant schemes. This makes one of the busiest times of year one of the most important times for your employees to stay vigilant against cybersecurity threats.

 That's why we put together this resource kit to help ensure no chunks of cyber-coal end up in your employees’ stockings this season! Use these resources to help your users make smarter security decisions every day.

Holiday-Resource-Kit-2023Here's what you'll get:

  • New! Holiday Cybersecurity World Passport interactive game
  • Two free holiday training modules, available in multiple languages
  • Resources to share with your users, including an educational video, plus security documents and digital signage to reinforce the free modules included in the kit
  • Newsletters about holiday shopping and travel safety for your users
  • Access to resources for you to help with security planning for the upcoming year

Get Your Free Resource Kit Now!

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Topics: Holiday Scams

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