Sextortion, fake digital loan apps and 5 other biggest online scams that netizens in India may face in 2024

Driven by the Asia Pacific’s (APAC) rapid digitalization movement and known geopolitical frictions, experts at Kaspersky predict the upcoming cybersecurity threat landscape in the region this year.
Global cybersecurity company reveals that, in particular, the dangers of phishing, scams, data breaches, and geopolitically-motivated cyberattacks are seen to continue targeting organisations and individuals from the region.
“Asia Pacific’s digital economy continues to grow exponentially and is expected to keep its momentum in the next five years. With digitalisation efforts including adoption of technologies like digital payments, Super Apps, IoT, smart cities, and now generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity will be key to ensuring the resilience of the region’s overall defenses against potentially damaging cyberattacks,” says Vitaly Kamluk, Head of Research Center for Asia Pacific, Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT) at Kaspersky.
“When it comes to sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), we have seen that cyber espionage remains to be the main objective of Asian groups. We expect this trend to continue in 2024 due to the existing geopolitical tensions in the region,” Kamluk adds.
Kaspersky’s GReAT researchers have also specified the key cyberthreat predictions in 2024 for the key countries and territories in APAC.
“The rise of technologies and digitalisation of the Indian economy, such as increased use of the sophisticated Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the software from the National Payments Corporation of India, will lead to a wave of related scams. Another opportunity for scammers is the ever-rising popularity of cryptocurrencies, which may lead to a new generation of scam apps,” explains Kamluk.
Also, a growing popularity of micro-loan apps has resulted in new schemes to target users in India through unexpected inflated premiums and personal threats. In addition, with India’s move towards smart cities, IoT vulnerabilities pose serious security challenges for the country.
According to a report by the UN, hundreds of thousands of people from Southeast Asia (SEA) were recruited to join online-scam operations such as romance-investment scams, crypto fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. Recruitment to these criminal operations are mostly done via advertised professional roles such as programmers, marketers or human resource specialists, through what appear to be legitimate and even elaborate procedures.
Increased usage and trust in digital payment methods, lack of regulations protecting the rights of users online and large numbers of people forced into joining online-scam operations add complexity to this major issue in SEA and in resolving it.
“Law Enforcement is working on many of those cases, involving scam and phishing attacks and we have seen successful operations in 2023, such as a joint operation of Australian Federal Police (AFP), and United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Malaysian Police which led to arrest of 8 individuals behind a syndicate running a phishing-as-a-service campaign online,” says Kamluk.
“Nevertheless, we think that the scale of online scam and phishing attacks in Southeast Asia will only continue growing in the coming years due to technical and legal illiteracy of many people involved in such attacks from operators to victims,” he adds.
* Illegal or fake digital loan apps
* Income tax refund services
* Real estate fraud
* Investment scam
* Ponzi schemes online
* Job fraud
* Sextortion

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