Cybercriminals are always developing new methods. Here’s what one group of experts predicts they’ll be turning to next year.
These are the 10 trends security firm Panda Labs is expecting to see in 2011:
- Malware creation — Panda Labs discovered more than 20 million new malware strains in 2010. Even if 2011’s activity doesn’t reach quite that high, expect antivirus programs to continue struggling to keep up with new malware.
- Cyber war — A few attacks from this past year have shown hacking is increasingly being used as a tool in international conflict, and increased sophistication in these attacks could have a big impact for businesses, especially when it comes to e-commerce.
- “Hacktivism” — The use of web attacks as a form of protest made the news recently when supporters of the Wikileaks hacked the networks of some large companies that had taken actions against the site. Panda expects these types of attacks to grow in popularity.
- Social engineering — As security tools have become stronger, hackers have turned more to a different way of getting information they want – tricking people into turning it over. Especially as more folks use Facebook and other social networking sites that seem tailor-made for fraud, social engineering attacks will more frequently be used as a way around security controls.
- Malware targeting Windows 7 — When Windows 7 was released, Panda estimated it would take about two years before we would see a lot of viruses designed for the new OS. That means Win7 malware should start gaining steam in 2011.
- Smartphone hacks — As more people use smartphones, it becomes more economical for hackers to find ways to attack them. That means it’s only a matter of time before smartphone malware becomes commonplace.
- Tablet attacks — As competitors to the iPad enter the market, we could start to see attacks specifically directed at tablet computers. They won’t reach a large scale, however, Panda says.
- Mac attacks — Malware for Macs has always existed. And as Apple’s market share continues to grow, attacks on their computers will become more common, and that trend won’t stop in 2011.
- HTML5 — Designed to replace Flash, HTML5 can be run by browsers without any plug-ins. That will make it possible to design attacks that work no matter what browser a user is running. Expect hackers to be working on it.
- Highly encrypted attacks — Sophisticated malware is nothing new, but Panda has warned that it has come across more and more encrypted and stealth attacks, and attacks designed for specific organizations.