Will 2013 Be Like 2012?

The new year is right around the corner and that means everyone is taking time to assess the year that has been and make resolutions for the year that will be.  And the same is true for those in the cyber-security profession.  Here is a look back at some of the toppredictions of the security issues for 2012 and what they may portend for the year to come.

  • Perhaps the biggest predictions that came true in 2012 were those involving non-Windows based hacks.  For years, security experts had predicted that the almost virus free nature of MAC’s operating system was due to fall and this was the year that the Flashfake Trojan infected almost 700,000 Macs worldwide.  In addition, the widespread proliferation of smart phones, which have more computer technology than some people’s home set-ups, led many to think that hackers would soon target smart phones more than computers.  As several high-profile celebrities can attest, this was the case when their cellphones were hacked and private photographs quickly disseminated across the internet.  Because Apple keeps such a tight leash on the manufacturer of their apps, Android is a much more exploitable market with 35,000 malware programs coming out in 2012 targeting the Android platform alone.
  • Another prediction that many experts have been making for years is the proliferation of cyberwarfare.  Since the Stuxnet attack on Iran in 2010 others have followed such as Flame.  This year, another coordinated attack on Iranian oil facilities upped the ante escalating hostilities in that already volatile part of the world.
  • The third big prediction which didn’t really need a crystal ball to foresee is the growing trend of data breaches.  The problem is, many people couldn’t see just how many breaches there would be.  Barnes and Nobles debit card machines were hacked and PINs were compromised.  Personal data was stolen from sources such as eHarmony, Yahoo, and LinkedIn.  Perhaps the scariest breach came when the tax records for South Carolina were compromised leaving everything including social security numbers open to data thieves.

And what will 2013 have to offer?

  • Definitely expect to see more of the same, especially when it comes to these three areas.  Experts are predicting more attempts to hack MACs OS X operating system and more malware targeting Android based devices.  Additionally, cyberwarfare will continue to heat up with Iran retaliating with cyberattacks of their own against Israel.  And finally, expect hackers to continue to mine information from a variety of groups which will have to up their security constantly to stay one step ahead of the criminals.
  • Another potential “growth industry” in cyber attacks is ransomware.  These are viruses that shut down a computer or encrypt data keeping a user from accessing his or her own files until a ransom is paid to the hackers.  Expect more and more sophisticated forms of this type of software to hit computers in 2013.
  • A final type of cyber attack that will expand in 2013 are web based attacks.  These include Cross site scripting, DNS poisoning, phishing, and fake login screens. This attacks are typically performed to gain access passwords and credit card information.

2013 will bring a continuation of more of the same from hackers.  That is why it is so important for cyber security experts and users to stay one step ahead of them.  By knowing what is coming, you can properly prepare so that you won’t be the victim of a cyber attack making your new year a not so happy one.

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