Infotech Lead India: McAfee has released its Threat Predictions report for 2013.
In 2013, McAfee Labs expects that threats to mobile devices will become the focus of cybercriminals, the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and large-scale attacks that attempt to destroy infrastructure will increase.
“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.
McAfee Labs foresees the following trends for 2013:
Rapid Evolution and Growth in Mobile Malware
In 2012 McAfee Labs saw the number of mobile threats increase as ransomware expanded into mobile devices. The development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransomware technologies that will lock up a phone or tablet, and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid, will be a prominent trend in 2013.
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, 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.
Nation states and armies will be more frequent actors and victims of cyberthreats. Patriot groups self-organized into cyberarmies have had little impact up until this point, but their actions will improve in sophistication and aggressiveness. In 2013, many more of the world’s military units will be on the front line of social networks communicating more frequently. State-related threats will increase and make the headlines while suspicions about government-sponsored attacks will grow.
Crimeware and Hacking as a Service Expand
As the number of invitation-only criminal forums requiring registration fees is increasing to make forums more secure and anonymous, these offers will be easier to find on the Internet in 2013.
Citadel will become the Trojan of choice among cybercriminals- with the recent release of Citadel Rain, the Trojan can now 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
Recently, McAfee Labs has seen several attacks in which the only goal was to cause as much damage as possible- a behavior that is expected to grow exponentially in 2013. 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.