McAfee: Apple Amongst Top Cybercrime Targets In 2011

by Gaurav Kheterpal on December 30, 2010

It’s that time of the year when predictions and forecasts start rolling in. With the iPad 2 rumors heating up, most Apple-oriented forecasts represent a rosy year ahead for the Cupertino-giant. iSuppli has revised its 2011 Apple iPad sales forecast to 43.7M while UBS believes that Apple could sell as many as 28 million iPads next year. With several NFC patents in the bag, the iPhone 5 already tops the list of most anticipated tech gadgets of year 2011.

However, there’s one prediction which Apple won’t necessarily be proud of – Security firm McAfee expects increased attacks on its devices in 2011, spurred in part on the company’s growing success with iPhones and iPad in the business market. McAfee’s report says that Apple hardware wasn’t targeted by hackers in the past, but that 2011 will change all that.

Apple critics have often claimed that Android offers much better application security than iOS and the latter is much more vulnerable to malicious applications. Despite the steadily growing popularity of Android, Apple still holds an edge in both the smartphone and tablet markets and a cyber attack is the last thing the company needs to fend off Google’s challenge.

McAfee’s prediction about Apple’s newfound prominence as a malware target gains all the more significance as the iPad gained significant traction as an enterprise tool this year. The security giant believes that Mac OS X and iOS have always been vulnerable to security loopholes but they have benefited from being too small of a target to be worth investing the time and effort to exploit. And that’s set to change in year 2011.

McAfee says that malicious coders and all-out cybercrooks will target other newer and hipper forms of digital communication in 2011 including instant messaging services, Facebook, Foursquare and URL shorteners. As technology evolves, so do the threats associated with it.  Operation Aurora was an eye opener for several technology heavyweights including Google, Yahoo, Adobe and others as it marked the beginning of an era of “ultra-sophisticated” never-seen-anything-like-that-before attacks. However, since it focused on large enterprise networks, end customers weren’t directly affected. An attack of such massive proportion targeting end-user devices such as tablets and smartphones can be catastrophic, even for a tech giant such as Apple.

A little-known phenomenon few years ago, Mac trojans gained massive traction this year and are a growing cause for concern in the Mac user community. And it’s not just malicious code or operating system vulnerabilities, a recent WSJ investigation revealed a severe privacy breach on several well-known Android and iPhone applications. In the past, privacy and security have always been considered as the biggest challenges for the smartphone industry and year 2011 is expected to be no different in that respect.

It’s often said that popularity comes at a cost and Apple is no exception to that rule. The crazy popularity of iPhones and iPads, fast-growing number of applications on the Apple App Store and lack of proper understanding of privacy and security may prove to be lethal for Apple and its customers. Is Apple geared up for this challenge? Only time will tell.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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