13 PC Security Threats for 2010: Page 2

Posted November 20, 2009

Larry Barrett

(Page 2 of 2)

5) Windows 7 will come in the crosshairs of attackers

Microsoft has already released the first security patches for its new operating system. As long as humans are programming computer code, flaws will be introduced, no matter how thorough pre-release testing is. And the more complex the code is, the more likely that undiscovered vulnerabilities exist.

Microsoft’s new operating system is no exception, and as Windows 7 hits the pavement and gains traction in 2010, attackers will undoubtedly find ways to exploit its users.

6) Fast Flux botnets will increase

Fast flux is a technique used by some botnets, such as the Storm botnet, to hide phishing and malicious Web sites behind an ever-changing network of compromised hosts acting as proxies. Using a combination of peer-to-peer networking, distributed command-and-control, Web-based load balancing and proxy redirection, it makes it difficult to trace the botnets’ original geo-location.

As industry countermeasures continue to reduce the effectiveness of traditional botnets, expect to see more using this technique to carry out attacks.

7) URL-shortening services become the phisher's best friend

Because users often have no idea where a shortened URL -- particularly from Twitter -- is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on.

In an attempt to evade antispam filters through obfuscation, expect spammers to use shortened URLs to carry out their evil deeds.

8) Mac and Mobile Malware Will Increase

In 2009, Macs and smartphones will be targeted more by malware authors. As Mac and smartphones continue to increase in popularity in 2010, more attackers will devote time to creating malware to exploit these devices.

9) Spammers breaking more rules

As the economy continues to suffer and more people seek to take advantage of the loose restrictions of the Federal Trade Commission's Can-Spam Act, there will be more organizations selling unauthorized e-mail address lists and more less-than-legitimate marketers spamming those lists.

10) As spammers adapt, volume will continue to fluctuate

Since 2007, spam has increased on average by 15 percent a year. Spam volumes will continue to fluctuate in 2010 as spammers continue to adapt to the sophistication of security software and the intervention of responsible ISPs and government agencies across the globe.

11) Specialized malware on the rise

Highly specialized malware was uncovered in 2009 that was aimed at exploiting certain ATMs, indicating a degree of insider knowledge about their operation and how they could be exploited. Expect this trend to continue in 2010, including the possibility of malware targeting electronic voting systems, both those used in political elections and public telephone voting, such as that connected with reality television shows and competitions.

12) CAPTCHA technology will improve

This will prompt more businesses in emerging economies to offer real people employment to manually generate accounts on legitimate Web sites -- especially those supporting user-generated content -- for spamming purposes.

Symantec estimates that the individuals will be paid less than 10 percent of the cost to the spammers, with the account farmers charging $30-$40 per 1,000 accounts.

13) Instant messaging spam will surge

As hackers exploit new ways to bypass CAPTCHA (define) technologies, instant messaging attacks will grow in popularity. IM threats will largely be comprised of unsolicited spam messages containing malicious links, especially attacks aimed at compromising legitimate IM accounts.

By the end of 2010, Symantec predicts that one in 300 IM messages will contain a URL. Also, in 2010, Symantec predicts that one in 12 hyperlinks overall will be linked to a domain known to be used for hosting malware.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.

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Tags: operating system, Web site, Enterprise, FOCUS 09, ransom

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