Digital threats to look out for in 2013

When the New Year rolls in, cybercriminals are likely to train their sights on mobile devices running Google's Android; the increasingly- ubiquitous cloud; and so-called "digital-lifestyle" devices.

This was the gist of security vendor Trend Micro's security predictions for 2013 and beyond, as people increasingly use mobile devices and cloud-based services.

“2013 will be a year when it will be more difficult to protect your data and manage the security of your devices,” said Myla Pilao, director for core technology marketing at Trend Micro.

Pilao said the threats will zero in on new operating systems, a growing trend of "bring your own device (BYOD)" in the Philippines, and shifting from physical to virtual environments.

Worse, Trend Micro said anti-cybercrime efforts may need two more years to reach full implementation.

In its report “Security Threats to Business, the Digital Lifestyle, and the Cloud,” Trend Micro also outlined the top 10 threats facing business and consumers in 2013.

The report's 10 forecasts on cyberthreats in 2013 are:

1. The most serious threat during 2013 may be malicious and high-risk Android apps, which may reach one million in 2013, up from 350,000 at the end of 2012.

2. Windows 8 offers improved security but only to consumers.

3. Cybercriminals will heavily abuse legitimate cloud services.

4. The emergence of more digital lifestyle devices means more threats could appear in "new and unexpected places," such as so-called "smart" and Internet-connected TV sets and home appliances.

5. Consumers will increasingly use multiple computing platforms and devices, making securing them a difficult challenge.

6. Politically motivated electronic-based attacks will become more destructive.

7. Data breaches, regardless of whether they are cloud-based or not, will remain a threat in 2013.

8. Efforts to address global cybercrime will take two or more years to reach full implementation.

9. Conventional malware threats will gradually evolve, while attackswill become more sophisticated in terms of deployment.

10. Africa will become a new safe harbor for cybercriminals.

Abuse of the cloud

Trend Micro said cybercriminals will target legitimate cloud services and data breaches will remain a serious threat in 2013.

It said this is partly because existing security tools do not protect cloud data as well as traditional storage.

Cybercriminals are also likely to abuse legitimate cloud services, it added. It noted blogs, Facebook and Twitter have already been used to transmit commands from command-and-control centers, while Google Docs, Dropbox and Pastebin became drop zones for exfiltrated data.

Politically motivated attacks

Trend Micro also warned politically motivated attacks will become more destructive in 2013.

On the other hand, while efforts to address global cybercrime are gaining traction, it may take at least two more years to reach full implementation.

Also, Trend Micro noted the slow adoption of Microsoft's Windows 8 by businesses means consumers will be the leading beneficiaries of its security enhancements in 2013.

Perfect timing for security providers

But Trend Micro said that amid the gloom, the timing could be perfect for security providers.

“The good news is that the timing is perfect for security providers to set new standards and deliver new solutions that will address sophisticated security threats and requirements,” said Pilao.

If that happens, 2013 may be remembered as a decisive turning point in the war on cybercrime, Trend Micro said. — TJD, GMA News

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