IT departments better be battening down the hatches this year.
At least, that’s according to a blog post written by Jeff Hindenach for the Huffington Post. Hindenach warned that “cybercriminals will be stepping up their game in 2013 to capitalize on the newest technology.”
The post was based on an annual predictions report by the Internet security software giant McAfee, who collected vast amounts of data about malware, software vulnerabilities, and security threats to networks for 2012. Using this information, researchers detected the top security threats that companies and consumers alike may face in the coming year.
Here is what they came up with:
Prediction #1: Mobile threats will increase.
“With online technology rapidly moving from computers to the palms of our hands, cybercriminals and hackers are evolving their methods to fit the times,” said Hindenach.
There are a handful of threats that mobile users need to look out for this year. One tool hackers and thieves are beginning to utilize more frequently and with more proficiency are mobile worms, which allow an attacker to bypass victims and install malicious apps and malware directly on a mobile device, completely unbeknownst to the user.
There are also worms that enable hackers to steal bank account information—a danger that continues to grow as easy (but risky) “tap and pay” purchases becomes more common on mobile devices.
Prediction #2: Malware and ransomware risks will spike.
Particularly, the Android, OS X, and Windows PCs are predicted to become targets of ransomware kits, which infect a device by restricting access to a system and then demands a “ransom” to be granted access again. Ransomware has tripled in the past year, and although most business is still transacted on desktop PCs, rather than tablets or smartphones, this trend is expected to change soon as the convenience of portable browsers improves.
Researchers are concerned for when this happens, saying, “Attackers have already developed ransomware for mobile devices. What if the ransom demand included threats to distribute recorded calls and pictures taken with the phone?”
Prediction #3: Windows 8 is the next big target.
Although the Windows 8 update is considerably more secure than OS systems, cybercriminals are focusing their efforts on engineering phishing techniques that circumvent the new software. In most cases, hackers are targeting the user directly, tricking them into revealing information or downloading malware. Some simple ways to protect yourself and your network if you have Windows 8 is to keep your security software up to date and remain watchful for phishing scams.
A few other predictions made by McAfee researchers included:
- “Snowshoe” spam and Citadel Trojan infections will continue to increase
- HTML5 will be an obstacle to hackers
- “Big scale” attacks on companies will become more common
- Hacking will become a more structured and confidential business
Click here to read the full report by McAfee.
While these predictions are helpful in preparing your network for cyber-attacks, it is not all-encompassing. Hackers will inevitably employ some strategies that even the researchers at McAfee did not see coming.
If cybercriminals are stepping up their game this year, so should your company. Contact the IT security consultants at Innovative Architects to learn how to defend your network against these threats.