Seven Cybersecurity Predictions for 2013

Malicious mobile apps, government-sponsored attacks and sandbox avoidance are expected.

by / November 15, 2012
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From mass compromises of Wordpress to a spear-phishing attack on the White House, there is no doubt cybercriminals gained confidence and momentum in 2012.

To help organizations prepare for next year, Websense Security Labs announced seven predictions for the 2013 threat landscape.

The full report includes in-depth articles on mobile security, email security and Java exploits.

"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," said Charles Renert, vice president of Websense Security Labs. "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."

2013, will absolutely reinforce the fact that traditional security measures are no longer effective in thwarting advanced cyberattacks. "Organizations and security providers need to evolve toward more proactive real-time defenses that stop advanced threats and data theft."

The seven cybersecurity predictions for 2013 are:

1.    Mobile devices will be the new target for cross-platform threats. 

The top three mobile platforms cybercriminals will target are Windows 8, Android and iOS, and Web-based cross-platform exploits will make it easier. In 2013, threats to Microsoft mobile devices will see the highest rate of growth. Cybercriminals are similar to legitimate application developers in that they focus on the most profitable platforms.

2.    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.

3.    Legitimate mobile app stores will host more malware in 2013. 

Malicious apps will increasingly slip through validation processes. They will continue to pose risks to organizations enabling bring your own device (BYOD) policies. In addition, jail-broken/rooted devices and non-sanctioned app stores will pose significant risk to enterprises as more allow BYOD.

4.    Government-sponsored attacks will increase as new players enter. 

Expect more governments to enter the cyber-warfare arena. 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. 

5.    Expect hacktivists to move to the next level as simplistic opportunities dwindle. 

Driven by highly publicized hacktivist events in recent years, organizations have deployed increasingly better detection and prevention policies, solutions and strategies. Hacktivists will move to the next level by increasing their sophistication.

6.    Malicious emails are making a comeback. 

Timed and targeted spear-phishing email attacks, along with an increase in malicious email attachments, are providing new opportunities for cybercrime. Malicious email will make a comeback. Domain generation algorithms will also bypass current security to increase the effectiveness of targeted attacks.

7.    Cybercriminals will follow the crowds to legitimate content management systems and web platforms. 

Vulnerabilities in Wordpress have frequently been exploited with mass compromises. As other content management systems (CMS) and service platforms increase in popularity, the bad guys will routinely test the integrity of these systems. Attacks will continue to exploit legitimate web platforms, requiring CMS administrators to pay greater attention to updates, patches, and other security measures. Cybercriminals compromise these platforms to host their malware, infect users and invade organizations to steal data.

View the full report here:

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