At the end of every year, McAfee, the internet security giant, releases a report containing what if feels will be the biggest threats to Internet users the following year. Viruses, Trojans, malware, adware, spyware, and all sorts of other fun little beasts pop up every day in new forms, but some devices and systems are more vulnerable than others. To determine the biggest threats for the coming year, McAfee looks at an enormous amount of data involving threats over the previous year and compiles that data into a prediction of what lies ahead.
Biggest threats to Internet Security in 2013
- More threats to mobile devices. As more internet users migrate to mobile devices, more hackers will too. One significant threat to watch out for is a Trojan that allows hackers to buy unwanted malware apps from the app store. This benefits the hacker in two ways: first, they get the money from their nefarious app, and second, they install malware on your mobile device, which in turn leads to infiltrating your personal data.
- Ransomware. This relatively new threat became popular during the second half of 2012, and McAfee expects it to continue increasing in popularity among hackers. The malware typically holds your computer hostage, informing you that you’ve committed some sort of crime and need to pay a “fine” to restore your computer. If you do receive such a warning on your computer, don’t believe it. If you have committed a crime, law enforcement agents will do you the courtesy of arresting you in person, not warning your through your unreliable computer.
- Big-scale attacks with wider range of damage. While the days of attacking single computers are far from a thing of the past, 2013 could bring far more grand-scale attacks like those that crippled Saudi Arabia’s financial infrastructure briefly last year. While your average hacker doesn’t really have any intention of taking down an entire country, terrorist organizations are quickly learning that it is easier to mount an attack on infrastructure through computers than through suicide bombers.
- Hactivism. While Anonymous’ notoriety is expected to dwindle over 2013, other hactivists are expected to take the organizations place, especially in smaller nation-states. Expect more “twitter uprisings” as oppressed internet users band together with sympathizing hackers to take back their freedom. While this isn’t necessarily a threat to the average user, in some cases, these attacks are erroneously aimed at those who have little to nothing to do with the problem. Basically, everyone has the potential to become collateral damage when attacks are launched in the cybersphere.
Essentially, McAfee seems to be saying to expect more of the same…a lot more of the same. Bugger, badder bugs and more widespread damage seems to be the theme for 2013. Hey, we averted the Mayan apocalypse, we can handle anything at this point!