Malware trends 2010
An annual forecast report by the GeorgiaTech Information Security Center, or GTISC, states that emergent threats to the security of the electronic domain will manifest in more virulent attacks by malware and other terrors.
The accumulation of information will still be the driving force of cyber-crime, as it attempts to infiltrate all possible sectors, the range of which includes newer mobile applications down to more conventional computing. Security professionals also bolster this claim, and anticipate the continuation of cyberspace aggression into the future. The ‘data’ motive is the purpose behind Botnets, Cyber Warfare, Social Network Malware, and VoIP Attacks.
Experts say that botnets are evolving in a drastically shorter duration as compared to spam and viruses. The previous year’s GTISC report approximated that botnets comprised ten percent of all computers logged onto the Internet. This ten percent are tainted with malware and ‘controlled’ by various cyber-criminals. This year, the estimated percentage of botnet-associated computers may shoot up to fifteen percent.
The factors that augment botnet growth are:
- potential spread of infection even by reputable or legit websites;
- continuously evolving bot attacks and malware methods;
- and simply viewing a Web page can facilitate botnet exploits.
Bot delivery to a machine can occur in various ways; through emails, Trojans, dubious IM clients, or infected sites. Bots also have a ‘camouflage’ ability, which is used to keep a low profile and avoid anti-malware technologies. Upon installation, single bots coalesce into groups which perform the following:
- information theft;
- disabling services;
- delivery of spam;
- and mimicking DNS servers.
Many professionals foresee that conventional military will be increasingly compounded by cyber-warfare in the coming years. They also state that more covert attempts at subversion by unfriendly nations will take the form of electronic-war techniques. Some even proclaim that China has a hand in this, as most bot controllers and malware threats have been tracked down to the country.
Social Networks Malware
Malware objects, the report says, will increase multiple times by this year. Phishing scams, as well as other forms of distribution, are making room for attacks via sites for social networking. Facebook, MySpace, and other sites may be turned into a means for delivering malware.
VoIP technology is another vehicle for disseminating malware. Much like the issues connected with emails in the past, criminals will use VoIP to perpetrate information theft, voice fraud, and numerous scams.
VoIP networks may also play host to botnet attacks, disabling of services, and remote execution of code. The information that people impart over the phone makes it ideal for criminals to take advantage of, for purposes such as identity theft and phishing.
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