McAfee today released its annual 2013 Threat Predictions report, predicting that the threats to mobile devices will become even more of a focus of cybercriminals, the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and large-scale attacks which will lead to destroy infrastructure will increase. The McAfee Labs team analyzed data on malware, vulnerabilities and online threats in 2012 predicting on which trends will increase in the coming year.
“Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organizations and homes,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Our 2013 Threat Predictions provides the general public, governments and businesses not only with the top risks in the year to come to be aware of, but also the preventative measures that should be taken to avoid those risks from occurring.”
Here is what McAfee predicts (in its own words):
Rapid Evolution and Growth in Mobile Malware
A new mobile worm will go on a major shopping spree in 2013. The Android/Marketpay.A Trojan horse program buys apps without user permission. In 2013 cyber-crooks will take this malware’s app-buying payload and add it to a mobile worm so attackers won’t need victims to install a piece of malware. In addition, mobile phones with NFC-enabled “digital wallets” are an easy target for cyber-thieves. Attackers will create mobile worms with NFC capabilities to steal money via the “bump and infect” method, most commonly used in areas with dense populations like airports and malls.
Hacktivism – The decline of Anonymous
Due to many uncoordinated and unclear operations and false claims, the Anonymous hacktivist movement will slow down in 2013. Anonymous’ level of technical sophistication has stagnated and its tactics are better understood by its potential victims, and as such, the group’s level of success will decline. While hacktivist attacks won’t end in 2013, if ever, they are expected to decline in number and sophistication.
Crimeware and Hacking as a Service Expand
Citadel will become the Trojan of choice among cybercriminals- with the recent release of Citadel Rain, the Trojan can now dynamically retrieve configuration files, enabling a fraudster to send a targeted payload to a single victim or a selection of victims. Detection will become more difficult as the footprint on the endpoint is minimal until the attack actually occurs.
Big-Scale Attacks Increase
If attackers can install destructive malware on a large number of machines, the result can be devastating. To keep the business running, production networks and SCADA industrial control systems should remain completely separate from the normal network, to prevent it from getting hit in the first place.