McAfee Labs 2021 Threat Predictions

Threat trends to watch in 2021 include:

  • A proliferation of supply chain backdoor techniques – The revelations around the SolarWinds-SUNBURST espionage campaign will spark a proliferation in copycat supply chain attacks of this kind.
  • The growing attack surface in connected homes – Connected devices, apps, and web services used in our professional and private lives will grow the connected home’s attack surface to the point that it raises significant new risks for individuals and their employers.
  • Attacks on cloud platforms becoming highly mechanized and handcrafted – Attacks on cloud platforms will evolve into a highly polarized state. Cybercriminals will develop new, highly mechanized, widespread attacks for better efficacy against thousands of heterogenous home networks.
  • New mobile payment scams – As users become more and more reliant on mobile payments, cybercriminals will increasingly seek to exploit and defraud users with scam SMS phishing or smishing messages containing malicious payment URLs.
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McAfee Labs 2021 Threat Predictions

McAfee predicts schemes where fraudsters set up a fake call center using a product return and servicing scam, where the actors send a link via email or SMS, offering a refund via a mobile payment app, but the user is unaware that they are agreeing to pay versus receiving a refund.

Archived predictions

2020 Threats Predictions

Increased access to deepfake content creation, advances in artificial intelligence (AI), morphing ransomware, and DevSecOps campaigns are among the trends covered in our 2020 predictions.

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2019 Threats Predictions

Synergistic threats, extortion attempts, and data exfiltration are among the topics covered in our 2019 predictions.

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2018 Threats Predictions

Topics include how the adversarial machine learning arms race is heating up, how ransomware is pivoting to new targets, and more.

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McAfee Labs 2019 Threats Predictions

As our dependency on technology grows, breaches are no longer limited to a specific platform or device. Everything is connected and everything is a target for cybercriminals, who are increasingly collaborating to escalate their efforts. Learn how our McAfee Labs researchers think the threats landscape will evolve in 2019.

Key trends to watch in 2019 include:

  • Mobile phones and digital assistants will become the next vectors for home IoT attacks
  • Criminal underground will consolidate, creating more partnerships to fuel cybercrime
  • Artificial intelligence will aid cybercriminal evasion techniques
  • Misinformation campaigns will target wider audiences—such as individual companies—in a new hunting ground for malicious actors
  • Increased use of multifaceted or synergistic attacks will cause confusion and hide ultimate attack goals
  • The cloud and data-rich identity platforms will become the primary battlegrounds for data breaches
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