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McAfee Predicts Mobile Is Prime Target In 2014, Cloud Next

By - Source: McAfee

McAfee's 2014 Predictions Report warns of a rise in ransomware across all platforms. McAfee also predicts an increase in attacks using advanced invasion techniques, and an increased use of social platforms to target trade secrets, intellectual property, financial information and personal information.

McAfee Labs' annual predictions report, released last week, reveals a forecast based on an analysis of 2013 trends through its proprietary McAfee Global Threat Intelligence service.

According to the security firm, mobile malware will drive growth in both technical innovation and the volume of attacks in the overall malware market. That prediction is based on the last two quarters of 2013, which saw new PC malware unchanged and Android samples growth of 33 percent. Because of this, ransomware is expected to blossom as more people and businesses shift over to mobile. Attacks will likely target vulnerabilities in NFC (near field communication), and in the form of compromised valid apps.

"Although largely a positive development, virtual currencies provide cybercriminals the unregulated and anonymous payment infrastructure they need to collect money from their victims. Currencies such as Bitcoin will enable and accelerate new generations of ransomware such as the Cryptolocker threat of 2013," the firm reports.

McAfee also reports that 2014 will bring increased exploits of application vulnerabilities in HTML5 on the PC platform. For mobile, attacks will breach the browser's sandbox and gain direct access to a device and its services. An increase in targeting vulnerabilities below the operating system, such as the storage stack and the BIOS, are also expected.

The security firm reports that the deployment of cloud-based corporate applications will create a new attack surface for cybercriminals. These crooks will seek out more ways to exploit the abundant number of hypervisors found in all data centers, the multitenant access and communications infrastructure, and the management infrastructure.

"Because they lack sufficient leverage to demand security measures in line with their organizational needs, small businesses that purchase cloud-based services will continue to grapple with security risks unaddressed by cloud providers' user agreements and operating procedures," McAfee reports.

On the social front, McAfee expects to see more social platform attacks to retrieve passwords or data about user contacts, location, and/or business activities. For businesses, social attacks could be problematic, especially when employees use the same passwords across personal and business applications.

The PDF of the full 2014 Predictions Report is available here.

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Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware, Tom's Games, Tom's Guide and Tom’s IT Pro. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.

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