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2013 predictions: Consumer privacy is in danger

AVG’s Predictions for 2013 –
Cybercriminals will target cloud and mobile

Consumer privacy is in danger from both legitimate and illegal activity.

AUCKLAND – 18 January 2013 –AVG predicts the biggest developments in the threat landscape in 2013 will be ‘traditional’ threats targeting businesses and consumers accompanied by attacks on virtualised cloud infrastructure and threats to privacy from both legitimate and criminal sources

Michael McKinnon, Security Advisor at AVG Technologies AU, said: “Our lives are becoming more closely intertwined with online services, so the potential rewards for cybercriminals in that area grows too. I expect to see more attacks on the cloud services that businesses and consumers rely on day-to-day, both to cause disruption and to steal personal and financial data.”

McKinnon warns that consumers must expect to also find their privacy under attack from legitimate businesses seeking to maximise profits by using personal data without users’ consent.
AVG’s top five digital threats facing businesses and consumers in 2013 are:
1. Privacy: Online advertising on PCs, tablets and smartphones will become even more aggressively personalised as businesses seek to increase capitalise on users’ privacy. Advertisers will use browser tracking, social media trawling and geo-location data to identify individual users, and then serve them a customised program of ads, all without the users’ consent.

2. Cloud security: Attacks against virtualised cloud infrastructure will expose the risks in public cloud services and the large additional investments needed to better secure them. Well-known cloud systems such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, Cloud Drive (Amazon) and Google Drive have reportedly been attacked by malware, and we will see an increase in attacks against such systems from Denial of Service (DoS) /Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, which prevent everyday users from accessing a service.

3. Mobile threats: As the world’s most popular mobile operating system, Google’s Android OS is now the prime target for smartphone and tablet malware. Due to security enhancements in Android 4.2, threats will become more sophisticated and use polymorphic code that is designed to mutate in order to avoid detection by traditional app store security.

4. PC threats: The steady increase in popularity of Windows 8 will inspire hackers to reveal new vulnerabilities, develop new-style malware and fraudware, and present new proof-of-concept exploits. The number of infected websites targeting PCs will also increase with the growing popularity of ‘commercial’ exploit kits such as Blackhole, while users’ problems will be compounded by an increased reliance on built-in security systems.

5. Mobile-to-PC threats: Increased connectivity between mobile devices and PCs, combined with the growing Bring Your Own Device trend will make it much easier for malware and viruses to spread across business and home networks. We also expect to register more MITMO (Man-In-The-Mobile) attacks that target PC and mobile internet banking apps. These multi-factor authentication attacks will be stealthier, more polished and more location-oriented.

Michael McKinnon said: “As cybercriminals and hackers use ever more sophisticated attack tools, so too should users of the latest technologies do everything they can to protect their personal information and finances. You may have data in the cloud but keep your feet on the ground! To have the best chance of beating the criminals, run always on, automatically updating antivirus on every one of your Internet-connected devices - be they house bound or mobile.”


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