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The growing usages of mobile communication devices and an 'overlap of work and personal data' poses an increased threat of data theft and other malware attacks in the coming year, warn the cyber security software companies.
According to these firms, the governments will look to enter the cyber warfare arena, while there could be surge in timed and targeted spear-phishing e-mail attacks, and malicious e-mail attachments.
Websense Security Labs forecasts the mobile devices will emerge the top target for cross-platform threats with a particular focus on Windows 8, Android and iOS. The company predicts a significant growth in Microsoft mobile devices.
The McAfee Threats Report for Q3 2012 says there's two-fold growth in mobile malware as compared to the previous quarter's total. There's also a surge in some categories of malware such as ransomware and signed binaries.
"As development barriers are removed, mobile threats will be able to leverage a huge library of shared code. Social engineering lures to capture user credentials on mobile devices will be used. Cybercriminals will use bypass methods to avoid traditional sandbox detection. More organizations are utilizing virtual machine defenses to test for malware and threats. As a result, attackers are taking new steps to avoid detection by recognizing virtual machine environments," the report said.
On the possibilities of the governments entering cyber warfare arena, the report said, "In the wake of several publicized cyber-warfare events, there are a number of contributing factors that will drive more countries toward these strategies and tactics," the report said, adding that countries and individual cybercriminals all have access to the blueprints for previous state-sponsored attacks like Stuxnet, Flame and Shamoon.
"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 organizations 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," says Charles Renert, vice president of Websense Security Labs.
"2013 will absolutely reinforce the fact that traditional security measures are no longer effective in thwarting advanced cyber attacks. Organizations and security providers need to evolve toward more pro-active real-time defenses that stop advanced threats and data theft," he concluded.