Kaspersky Lab outlines key security trends in 2012, and predicts core threats for 2013
2012 has been the year of the explosive growth of mobile malware, with cybercriminals' primary focus being the Android platform, according to a new study.
Anti virus and spyware security software firm, Kaspersky Lab, claimed Android was the cybercriminals' favourite mobile platform as it was the most popular and widely used over the past year.
Additionally, Kaspersky warned that in 2013 we are likely to see a new alarming trend on mobile; the use of vulnerabilities to extend 'drive-by download' attacks on mobile devices. This means that personal and corporate data stored on smartphones and tablets will be targeted as frequently as it is targeted on traditional computers.
For the same reason of rising popularity, new sophisticated attacks will be performed against owners of Apple devices as well, the security firm predicted.
As vulnerabilities in mobile devices become an increasing threat for users, computer application and programme vulnerabilities will continue to be exploited on PCs, Kaspersky stated.
Kaspersky Lab named 2012 the year of Java vulnerabilities, and in 2013 Java will continue to be exploited by cybercriminals on a massive scale. However, although Java will continue to be a target for exploits, the importance of Adobe Flash and Adobe Reader as malware gateways will decrease as the latest versions include automated update systems for patching security vulnerabilities.
In 2012 an on-going debate also took place on whether or not governments should develop and use specific surveillance software to monitor suspects in criminal investigations. Kaspersky Lab predicts that 2013 will build on this issue as governments create or purchase additional monitoring tools to enhance the surveillance of individuals, which will extend beyond wiretapping phones to enabling secret access to targeted mobile devices.
Government-backed surveillance tools in the cyber environment will most likely continue to evolve, as law enforcement agencies try to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. At the same time, controversial issues about civil liberties and consumer privacy associated with the tools will also continue to be raised.
In Kaspersky's key security trends of 2012 and views on the core threats of 2013, the company also noted that key predictions for the next year include the continued rise of targeted attacks, cyber-espionage and nation-state cyber attacks, the evolving role of hacktivism, the development of controversial 'legal' surveillance tools and the increase in cybercriminal attacks targeting cloud-based services.