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McAfee Labs Predicts Wave of Crimeware and Threats for 2013

By Sharmine Ishak - on 7 Jan 2013, 12:23pm

McAfee Labs Predicts Wave of Crimeware and Threats for 2013

McAfee Labs has recently released its annual 2013 Threat Predictions report compiled by its proprietary Global Threat Intelligence (GTI), which analyzes malware data, vulnerabilities and online threats in 2012 to predict the trends for the following year. Based on their findings, threats to mobile devices will become even more of a focus for cybercriminals, while large-scale attacks on infrastructures will increase.

“Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organizations and homes,” said Vincent Weafer, Senior Vice President of McAfee Labs. “Our 2013 Threat Predictions provides the general public, governments and businesses not only with the top risks in the year to come to be aware of, but also the preventative measures that should be taken to avoid those risks from occurring. Only by understanding and preparing for threats, can we empower people to secure their information.”

One of these prominent trends for 2013 is the dramatic increase of mobile threats, due to the development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransomware technologies that will "lock" smart devices and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid. As attackers hijack the users' ability to access data, victims will be faced with either losing their data or paying a ransom in the hope of regaining access. Sadly, users will also have no way of knowing if their device is unlocked, despite meeting the perpetrator's demands.

There is also the prediction of a new mobile worm that will infect the Android marketplace; a Trojan horse program that buys apps without user permissions. By taking this malware's app-buying payload, cyber-crooks can add it to a mobile worm, so victims need not install a piece of malware. Simply by using their NFC-enabled phones at airports and malls, the worm is able to infect a users' phone and steal money from their digital wallets.

Big-scale attacks, where the only goal was to cause as much damage as possible, is also expected to grow exponentially in 2013. McAfee predicts that attackers will install destructive malware on a large number of machines to devastating results. As such, users will have to keep their production networks and SCADA industrial control systems completely separate from the normal network to prevent it from getting hit and thus ensure that the business continues to run.

Other notable trends indicated by McAfee Labs include cybercriminals offering crimeware and hacking as a service, as they enter the public forums to make business deals with other criminals. Citadel, one of the Trojans of choice for cybercriminals, is also said to be one of the major threats for 2013, as the Trojan can dynamically retrieve configuration files, enabling fraudsters to send targeted payloads to a single victim or a selection of victims.

Last but not least is the slowdown of the hacktivist movement, Anonymous. Due to the better understanding of their tactics and declining level of technical sophistication, the group's level of success will decline in 2013, although they will not end.

To read the entire copy of McAfee Labs, 2013 Threat Predictions report, please click here.

For other reports on McAfee Labs, please click here for more Tech News.