Kicking off the traditional year-end series of technology and risk predictions for the next 12 months is this at-a-glance forecast.

Based on its internal research, user ecosystem data and other reliable sources of intelligence, Fortinet predicts that four new or evolving cyber trends will take the spotlight next year.

    1. More cybercrimes-as-a-service to see explosive growth
      Given cybercriminals’ success with Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS), a growing number of additional attack vectors will be made available “as a service” through the Dark Web. In addition to the sale of ransomware and other Malware-as-a-Service offerings, criminal solutions will be available on an a la carte basis to boost reach and accessibility to threat actors of every creed.
    2. Money laundering meets machine learning
      Fortinet also expects that money laundering operations will get a boost from automation. Setting up money mule recruitment campaigns has historically been a time-consuming process. Cybercriminals are expected to start using machine learning for recruitment targeting to identify potential mules more efficiently. Over the longer term, this trend could grow into a Money Laundering-as-a-Service and quickly become part of the growing Cybercrime-as-a-Service portfolio.
    3. Rise in deep web destinations open doors to meta cybercrimes
      While newer online destinations like virtual cities take advantage of augmented, virtual and mixed reality technologies to open a world of possibilities for users, they are expected to also open the door to an unprecedented increase in cybercrime. From virtual goods and assets that can be stolen easily to potential biometric hacking, this attack surface will result in a new wave of cybercriminal activities.
    4. Malware wipers will become rampant
      With wiper malware growing in numbers due to cyber wars, attackers and state-sponsored threat actors are expected to combine a computer worm with wiper malware and even ransomware for maximum impact. This impending commoditization of wiper malware make speed up the development and entrenchment of such malware globally and even cause them to be re-used by criminal groups throughout the cybercrime-as-a-service model. Given its broader availability combined with the right exploit, organized criminals and threat actors can use wiper malware to cause massive destruction in a short period of time.