leaked documents, DDoS attacks and spam and database breaches, it's hardly surprising that security experts are predicting a rise in cybercrime in 2011. According to McAfee Labs, the top targets in the coming year will be some of the most popular technologies, services and platforms, including mobile devices, Internet TV and geolocation services.As 2010 wraps up with a month full of
"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," says Vincent Weafer, senior VP of McAfee Labs. "These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss."
Exploiting social media tops the McAfee list of threat predictions, and of the sites that will be "most riddled with cybercriminal activity," McAfee points to those with URL-shortening services at the forefront. According to McAfee, there are more than 3,000 shortened URLs generated per minute, and these are easy for cybercriminals to utilize for spamming and scamming and to direct users to malicious websites. McAfee also warns of geolocation services, with real-time tracking of where people are and what they're doing, as providing new opportunities for criminals.
Personal Data, Corporate Data
It's not just personal data that will be threatened by these sorts of attacks. As mobile devices become more ubiquitous in the workplace, attacks will follow, says McAfee, noting that the "historically fragile cellular infrastructure and slow strides toward encryption" will make mobile devices a target, putting both personal and corporate data at risk.
McAfee also points to Internet TV as a new target, criticizing a "'rush to market' thinking by developers." McAfee says that "suspicious and malicious apps" will expose privacy and identity data. Furthermore, the move to connect more physical devices will also raise the effectiveness of botnets.
Apple users, long blasé about viruses and malware, would be wise to pay attention to security, says McAfee. As with all the areas that the security company has identified here, the increasing popularity of the Mac OS platform - along with a "lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices" in McAfee's words - make Apple a clear target for future attacks.
While most of the predictions focus on "cybercrime," McAfee Labs also suggests that "hacktivism" will become the "new way to demonstrate political positions in 2011 and beyond." Look for more WikiLeaks-like events, with increasing sophistication.