Symantec Warns About Looming Threat of Cyber Crime in 2013

November 13, 2012, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

The impact of technology, especially computers and the internet, on our world is not small, and we know it. Nowadays almost everything we do is in some way or the other connected to the cyber world.

And that’s one reason why experts agree with the fact that cyber-crime will become an everyday affair in 2013. According to the security firm Symantec, scuffles between nations, organisations and individuals, all having a key role in the cyber world, will be the norm from next year.

Symantec director of Security Response, Kevin Haley, posted in his blog, which could also be taken as a warning, that everyone, from nations to organized group of individuals, will use cyber tactics to damage or control the secure information or funds of their targets. “In 2013, we will see the cyber equivalent of ‘saber rattling’, where nation states, organisations, and even groups of individuals use cyber-attacks to show their strength and ‘send a message’,” he said.

Hacktivist groups, according to Haley, would use the cyber world as a tool to attack individuals or non-government organizations. This, the firm thinks, would be the top of the main five threats in the cyber security landscape next year.

The second threat they foresee is ransomware. The firm feels that cyber criminals will use the online payment methods to steal from victims.

The other threat that was listed is madware. Madware is mobile adware that exposes location details, contact info and device identifiers. The reason for madware is the increase in aggressive forms of madware (as in many number of apps) by 210 percent within the past nine months.

The next threat the firm predicts is against social networks. As there are quite a number of social networks, and as they each find ways to monetise their platforms, the threats of cyber-attacks against them increases each day.

“Symantec anticipates an increase in malware attacks that steal payment credentials in social networks and trick users into providing payment details, and other personal and potentially valuable information, to fake social networks,” Haley explained. “This may include fake gift notifications and email messages requesting home addresses and other personal information.”

The final prediction of Symantec is the gradual shift to mobile and cloud. With more and more users gaining access to cloud services, the firm says so will attackers.

“Mobile devices will become more valuable as mobile carriers and retail stores transition to mobile payments and continue defining new product frontiers. We will see criminals use malware to hijack payment information from people in retail environments,” Haley said.

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