PandaLabs Forecast: 2010 Computer Threat Trends

December 16, 2009

GLENDALE, Calif., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire/ — PandaLabs, Panda Security‘s malware analysis and detection laboratory, has released its forecast of computer threat trends for 2010. PandaLabs predicts that in 2010, the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow exponentially as it has in 2009. As anti-malware technologies are able to respond closer to real-time through cloud-based innovations such as Panda’s Collective Intelligence, malware creators will respond by generating even more diverse threats to evade detection and elimination. Once again malware will be designed almost exclusively for financial gain, and we can expect to see many new fake antivirus strains (rogueware), bots and banker Trojans.

Social Engineering Continues to Rise

Cyber-criminals will again be focusing on social engineering techniques to infect computers, particularly those targeting search engines (BlackHat SEO) and social networks, along with ‘drive-by-download’ infections from Web pages.

As the football World Cup takes place in South Africa, we can also expect to see significant amounts of malware related to this event: false ticket offers, junk mail, etc. It is always a good idea to be suspicious of any messages related with current affairs and large events such as this.

In the case of social networks, there have already been many examples of worms and Trojans targeting Twitter and Facebook. Malware creators will continue to be drawn to these types of platforms that are used by millions of people.

Watch Out Windows 7

Windows 7 will have a major impact on malware development: where Windows Vista hardly caused a ripple, Windows 7 will make waves. One of the main reasons is the widespread market acceptance of this new operating system, and since practically every new computer comes loaded with Windows 7 64-bit, criminals will be busy adapting malware to the new environment. It may take time, but we expect to see a major shift towards this platform over the next two years.

Mobile Phone Attacks – Not Yet!

Several security companies have been warning for some time that malware is soon to affect cell phones in much the same way as it affects PCs. Well, we hate to rain on their parade, but 2010 will not be the year of malware for cell phones.

The PC is a homogenous platform, with 90 percent of the world’s computers running Windows on Intel, meaning that any new Trojan, or worm has a potential victim pool of 90 percent of the world’s computers. The mobile phone environment is much more heterogeneous, with numerous vendors using different hardware and different operating systems.

Applications continue to be incompatible from one operating system to another. Therefore it is unlikely that 2010 will see widespread targeting of cell phones by malware. In any event, this year will witness many changes in the world of mobile telephony with more smartphones offering practically the same features as a PC; the emergence of Google Phone — the first phone sold directly by Google without tying users to specific operators; the increasing popularity of Android; and of course the iPhone. If in the next couple of years there are only two or three popular platforms, and if people make significantly more financial transactions from their phones, then the potential breeding ground for cyber-crime will be significant enough to be concerned.

Mac Becoming Increasingly Attractive to Cyber-Criminals

Mac’s market share has increased in recent years. Although the number of users has yet to reach the critical mass required to make it as profitable as PCs for cyber-criminals, it is nevertheless becoming more attractive. Mac is used just as PCs are to access social networks, email, and the Internet: the main malware distribution systems used by cyber-criminals. Consequently, Mac is no longer a safe haven against malware. These criminals can easily distinguish whether a system is Mac, and they are creating malware designed especially to target this OS. In 2009, we have already seen some attacks, and predict there are more to come in 2010.

Cyber war

Throughout 2009, governments around the world including the United States, the UK and Spain, have expressed concern about the potential for cyber-attacks to affect economies or critical infrastructure. We also saw this year how several Web pages in the United States and South Korea were the subject of attacks, with suspicion — as yet unapproved — pointing at North Korea. In 2010, we can expect to see similar politically-motivated attacks.

Securing the Cloud

Cloud-based services will continue to grow in popularity among consumers and business users alike. As this happens, the security industry must be acutely aware of cybercriminals’ moves to take advantage of this new platform.

Cloud Antivirus Technology on the Rise

2010 will be the year in which all anti-malware companies will innovate to remain competitive as cloud-based security becomes the most effective way to fight today’s malware. In 2007, Panda Security launched its first product which took advantage of the cloud. Now in 2009, all the company’s products use it and we have launched the first 100 percent cloud-based free antivirus: Panda Cloud Antivirus (www.cloudantivirus.com), and Panda has noticed that the rest of the marketplace is beginning to follow suit.

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security’s new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 94% of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

SOURCE Panda Security

Source: newswire

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