NEWS ANALYSIS: As 2012 gets going, it's time to accept that malware and cyber-attacks will increasingly target mobile users and Internet applications.
years, computer users' biggest security threats were attacks against their
desktop computers and applications. But cyber-criminals increasingly have been
turning their sights toward mobile devices and Web applications, as they are
fertile new ground for lucrative cyber-attacks.
won't happen overnight, of course, and there will still be more than enough
security flaws impacting Windows and other desktop platforms to keep companies
like Symantec and McAfee in business for years to come. But for mobile device
users, security applications are as much a requirement for them as they are for
desktop computer users.
have spent the past several years developing new attack strategies for mobile
applications and devices. And this year,
they're going to try to break in every chance they get
on to find out why security threats are increasingly going mobile this year.
1. Windows 8's security
to Microsoft and the security researchers who have tried out Windows 8, the
operating system will be the best yet at protecting users. In fact, some say
that all users will need is Microsoft's own security suite to safeguard their computers.
That's a major development in the Windows ecosystem. If Microsoft can actually
deliver on those lofty promises, cyber-criminals may shift their attention from
the desktop to online targets. But a really secure Windows 8 could go a long
way toward showing the industry at large how to build security into mobile and
Web applications as well as desktop applications.
2. Cloud services are a cash cow
services are a potential cash cow for cyber-criminals
enterprise-focused applications, they can include bank information and Social
Security numbers to just about anything else. What's worse, enterprises and
consumers accessing cloud applications are placing all their hope in the
service provider to protect their data when there is a serious risk that cloud
services can be penetrated by cyber-criminals, who could reap boatloads of cash
from stolen information.
3. Social networks are too
the Koobface worm has proved, there's an inordinate amount of money in
targeting social networking users. A new report from the New York Times claims
the people allegedly behind Koobface generated millions of dollars just by
taking aim at social network users. Security experts say the cyber-criminals
behind Koobface are still active and it's likely that they or copycat hackers
will launch new Koobface variants or Koobface-like attacks this year.
4. Android use is exploding
Android has quickly become an easy target for malicious hackers
world. The operating system is the most popular mobile OS for cyber-criminals,
and most security researchers believe that trend will only continue in 2012.
So, why is that happening? For one thing, the operating system doesn't have all
the safeguards found in, say, BlackBerry OS. What's more, a tremendous number
of people are adopting the software each day. That presents an ever larger and
highly lucrative target for cyber-criminals. Keep that in mind.