Malicious mobile apps, govt sponsored attacks and sandbox avoidance expected to increase next year
The threat lanscape for 2013 seems to be much more active. From mass compromises of Wordpress to a spear-phishing attack on the White House, there is no doubt cybercriminals gained confidence and momentum in 2012.
“The past year illustrated how quickly the threat landscape continues to evolve, with attacks and exploits redefining the concepts of crime, business espionage and warfare. The risk to organisations continues to be amplified by the frailty of human curiosity. It’s now expanding across diverse mobile platforms, evolving content management systems and an ever-increasing population of online users,” said Charles Renert, vice president of Websense Security Labs, Websense.
According to Websense, 2013 will absolutely reinforce the fact that traditional security measures are no longer effective in thwarting advanced cyberattacks. Organizations and security providers need to evolve toward more proactive real-time defenses that stop advanced threats and data theft.
According Websense Security labs the seven major security threats for 2013 are as follows:
Mobile devices will be the new target for cross-platform threats.
The top three mobile platforms cybercriminals will target are Windows 8, Android and iOS. In 2013, threats to Microsoft mobile devices will see the highest rate of growth. Cybercriminals are similar to legitimate application developers in that they focus on the most profitable platforms. As development barriers are removed, mobile threats will be able to leverage a huge library of shared code. Attacks will also continue to increasingly use social engineering lures to capture user credentials on mobile devices.
Cybercriminals will use bypass methods to avoid traditional sandbox detection.
More organisations are utilising virtual machine defenses to test for malware and threats. As a result, attackers are taking new steps to avoid detection by recognising virtual machine environments. Some potential methods will attempt to identify a security sandbox, just as past attacks targeted specific AV engines and turned them off. These advanced attacks will remain hidden until they are sure they aren’t in a virtual security environment.
Legitimate mobile app stores will host more malware in 2013.
Malicious apps will increasingly slip through validation processes. They will continue to pose risks to organisations enabling bring your own device (BYOD) policies. In addition, jail-broken/rooted devices and non-sanctioned app stores will pose significant risk to enterprises as more allow BYOD.
Government-sponsored attacks will increase as new players enter.
Expect more governments to enter the cyber-warfare arena. In the wake of several publicised cyber-warfare events, there are a number of contributing factors that will drive more countries toward these strategies and tactics. While the effort to become another nuclear superpower may be insurmountable, almost any country can draft the talent and resources to craft cyber-weapons. Countries and individual cybercriminals all have access to the blueprints for previous state-sponsored attacks like Stuxnet, Flame and Shamoon.
Expect hacktivists to move to the next level as simplistic opportunities dwindle.
Driven by highly publicized hacktivist events in recent years, organizations have deployed increasingly better detection and prevention policies, solutions and strategies. Hacktivists will move to the next level by increasing their sophistication.
Malicious emails are making a comeback.
Timed and targeted spear-phishing email attacks, along with an increase in malicious email attachments, are providing new opportunities for cybercrime. Malicious email will make a comeback. Domain generation algorithms will also bypass current security to increase the effectiveness of targeted attacks.
Cybercriminals will follow the crowds to legitimate content management systems and web platforms.
Vulnerabilities in Wordpress have frequently been exploited with mass compromises. As other content management systems (CMS) and service platforms increase in popularity, the bad guys will routinely test the integrity of these systems. Attacks will continue to exploit legitimate web platforms, requiring CMS administrators to pay greater attention to updates, patches, and other security measures. Cybercriminals compromise these platforms to host their malware, infect users and invade organizations to steal data.
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