With 2014 now in full swing, Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender, draws on his expertise to predict the key security threats on the horizon.
The advent of new technologies, the widespread implementation of mobile and wireless communication and the increase in mobile adoption will open up new opportunities for cyber-criminals. Here are our predictions for the year ahead:
* Digital trust is gone: Malware signed with stolen digital certificates has been around for a while, but last year's 'next big thing' was malware signed with digital certificates expressly purchased for this purpose. We expect this trend to continue throughout 2014, especially for grey-area software such as aggressive adware or spyware.
* 'The Internet of Things' to expand: By 2015, the number of interconnected devices in the world will reach 25 billion and that number will double by 2020. These devices include: livestock monitors; medical gear; automotive on-board computers and emergency signalling; buoys and household items, each with their own security implementations. 'The Internet of Things' is likely to become the main focus of cyber-criminals due to the sheer number of devices and poor security implementations.
* Cyber-criminals to target Android users: Android currently holds about 70 per cent of the mobile OS market share, which makes it incredibly relevant to cyber-criminals. Adding to that is the fact that mobile devices are a payment mechanism by themselves (via premium-rate SMS, as well as the newly introduced NFC payments), cyber-criminals will increase their focus on developing malware for Android. The emergence of BYOD will also allow cyber-criminals to target companies as well as home-users.
* E-mail spam is decreasing; long live social network targeted advertising: Spam has been around since the dawn of electronic communications and has gained serious traction during the botnet era. While spam volumes will continue to pump in 2014, cyber-criminals will put a greater focus on social networks, where they can target victims more effectively. With Facebook already surpassing one billion active users, social networks will also be used by cyber-criminals to harvest willingly-shared information for spear-phishing, and for the dissemination for new threats. Blind spam attacks will, of course, still be used by...