McAfee’s 2012 Threat Predictions: Opportunity Knocks

by Jordan Richardson on December 28, 2011

It doesn’t take methodical enquiry to conclude that 2011 saw the intensification of hacker attacks. From LulzSec’s “lulzy” spasms that uncovered the personal information of innocent individuals to larger attacks originating from latent state actors, cyberwarfare was definitely one of the major issues of the year.

With McAfee releasing its 2012 Threat Predictions (PDF), it looks like cyberattacks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and, what’s more, they’re going to increase in size and scope as attacks and attackers become more sophisticated.

“Many of the threats that will become prominent in 2012 have already been looming under the radar in 2011,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Over the past year, the general public has become more aware of some of these risks, such as threats to critical infrastructure or the impact of hacktivism as they gain international media attention. In the meantime, we continue to see cybercriminals improving their toolkits and malware and are ready to make a significant impact in 2012.”

Among the key threats for 2012 are industrial attacks, “legal” spam, more mobile attacks, virtual currency, and “rogue certificates.”

Industrial attacks could be especially damaging on large scales. Symantec Corp. reported back in October that Canadian operators of telecommunications networks, power grids, water systems, and other services are “growing less prepared for a potentially devastating cyber attack.”

Providers are complacent and are growing less concerned and prepared when it comes to threats, said Symantec, and that falls in line with McAfee’s report.

Other large scale attacks were big stories in 2011, like attacks on Canadian government departments or on Fortune 100 chemical companies. According to one report from the summer, 90 percent of all American companies suffered some form of cyberattack.

Mobile threats are also projected to be big business for hackers and hacker groups, especially those chiefly after money. While some celebrate the technology and expediency of digital wallets and other fiscal implements, these tools present heavenly prospects for hackers. Because cybercrooks are becoming more equipped and better prepared, digital wallets and mobile banking apps are especially in danger.

With as many as half of Canadian consumers set to embrace mobile banking within two years, this is a giant pool of opportunity for hackers.  Couple this with a glut of open source operating systems, like Android, and the threat crystallizes.

So the threats are coming and we are, as usual, running into the various danger zones with our arms open. Many companies are susceptible and many more are appallingly unworried, making your personal information, data and finances all the more at risk in 2012.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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