Cybercriminals to target Android, Geolocation devices, Apple in 2011: McAfee


by CBR Staff Writer| 29 December 2010

Social media sites with URL-shortening services will be most riddled with cybercriminal activity compare to other social media sites

Google's Android, Apple's iPhone, Foursquare, Google TV and the Mac OS X platform are all expected to become major targets for cybercriminals, according to the 2011 Threat Predictions report by McAfee.

McAfee Labs also predicts that politically motivated attacks will be on the rise, as more groups are expected to repeat the WikiLeaks paradigm.

McAfee Labs senior vice president Vincent Weafer said they've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most.

"These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss," Weafer said.

McAfee Labs expects that of the social media sites that will be most riddled with cybercriminal activity, those with URL-shortening services will be at the forefront of these attackers.

Citing the vulnerability for these abbreviated URLs on sites like Twitter, the IT security firm expects to see a growing number used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes, with more than 3,000 shortened URLs per minute being generated.

Locative services such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places can easily search, track and plot the whereabouts of friends and strangers, and this personal information on individuals enables cybercriminals to craft a targeted attack.

McAfee Labs predicts that cybercriminals will increasingly use these tactics across the most popular social networking sites in 2011.

McAfee Labs predicts that 2011 will bring a rapid escalation of attacks and threats to mobile devices, putting user and corporate data at very high risk, due to the widespread adoption of mobile devices in businesses, combined with fragile cellular infrastructure and slow strides toward encryption.

The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices, will increase the risk for data and identity exposure, and will make Apple botnets and Trojans a common occurrence, the report said.

The other major threats that will be on rise in 2011 include threats related to Internet TV platforms, malicious content disguised as personal or legitimate emails and files, mergers & acquisitions of botnet controllers, hacktivism that follows the WikiLeaks' path, and threats that are advanced and persistent.

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