Top Malware Threats for 2011

Category: Security

The digital ecosphere is evolving at an ever-increasing pace, including the dangerous parts. The year 2011 will see new malware threats and security exploits attacking people in alarming new ways, according to security analysts. Here are some of the depressing statistics and trends to watch out for in 2011…

Viruses, Spyware and Spam... Oh My!

The ailing global economy makes cybercrime more attractive. Desperate to make a living, even a dishonest one, more people are launching malware (viruses, spyware and other nasties) designed to fleece both enterprises and individuals. The kingpins of hacking - organized crime syndicates - are recouping their investments in malware development by selling "malware for dummies" software kits for a few hundred bucks a pop. The cost of such kits plummets to zero when buyers share their malware kits on peer-to-peer networks. This "trickle-down" trend results in an explosion of malware in the wild.

One of the biggest changes in the malware landscape is that attacks no longer have to come from the dark and seedy corners of the Internet. As millions of ordinary home and office computers become ensnared in botnets, the cyber criminals who control them can launch spam, scams and other attacks from the compromised computers of unsuspecting users. (For more info, see What is a Botnet?)

Over 60,000 security attacks were launched per day in 2010, an increase of over 70 per cent versus the previous year! The frequency and variety of malware attacks completely overwhelms law enforcement. Despite a handful of high-profile arrests in the news, cybercrime is growing rapidly.
Malware Threats

Mobile devices such as smartphones were once considered safe from the attentions of hackers because there were too few of these devices to bother with. But that is changing now and hackers are expected to follow the growing herd of mobile prey. Security experts predict the appearance of new malware tailored to security flaws in the Apple iOS (iPhone and iPod Touch) and Google Android devices, the emerging leaders in mobile operating systems. Mobile devices need to be hardened against malware attacks, and mobile users need to stop being complacent about their illusory safety.

Although antivirus protection for iOS devices is not yet available, you can protect yourself by resisting the temptation to jailbreak your iPhone. Jailbreaking can leave you vulnerable to attack because it negates some of the protection built into iOS, and also enables users to download apps that have not been vetted by Apple. Android users must also be careful about the apps they download, because the Android Market has fewer restrictions on app developers. Follow this link to find antivirus software for Android devices. https://market.android.com/search?q=antivirus

Other Attack Vectors

Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are already plagued by social engineering exploits that dupe victims into giving up critical personal information. Banks that maintain social network presences risk being impersonated by identity thieves who lure customers to counterfeit Web sites and wheedle account passwords out of them. Individuals may find their social network identities stolen or imitated for the purpose of duping their friends into sending money "for my dying son's life-saving operation." Just clicking on a URL that you think is recommended by a trusted friend may take you to a site that covertly downloads a Trojan horse malware app to your computer. Recommendation: Verify that your "friends" on social sites are really people you know.

Money is not the only motive behind cybercrime. "Hacktivists" launched Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against major corporations such as Visa, Paypal, and Amazon.com to protest those firms' treatment of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks. With the cost and technical savvy required to launch such "protests" falling we can expect to see more disruptions of e-commerce affecting both enterprises and consumers.

Make sure to keep your guard up as computing and communication habits change. Keep your operating system and web browser up to date with the latest version and security patches. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware protection on all of your computers. (See my related article Microsoft Security Essentials) And be wary of "social engineering" attacks that no software can protect you from. Press delete when unsolicited emails or text messages urge you to visit a website, download an app, or cough up personal information.

Do you have something to say about emerging malware threats? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Top Malware Threats for 2011"

Posted by:

AVGFree
15 Feb 2011

Informative blog. Thanks for sharing. We are also sharing our website http://www.solvewin.com for more Free Virus Solutions and Download. If you have any experience in virus solution, important windows related tips or latest computer related news please e-mail and share with us.


Posted by:

Lori harper
18 Feb 2011

"SYSTEM TOOLS 2011"
This another Malware is trying to download on my computer. i have tried several things but I can't seem to get rid of it. I have looked in the regidit, and in the add/remove programs. i have tried downloading dr web and another program that claims to get rid of this virus but so far no luck, I have looked all over my computer and cannot find this system tools. please help


Posted by:

Alex Weego
18 Feb 2011

I have an Apple I-Mac running OS X 10.6.6 "Snow Leopard" and am sort of a novice with the inter-workings of computers. Guess I'm "software challenged". Seems I get uninitiated pop-ups quite often and perhaps other malware and don't know how to prevent, get rid of, check for, etc.

Seems like any online help or programs are all focused on PC's, Microsoft, Windows, etc. I have downloaded "Sophos Anti-virus" for Mac, but it keeps telling me that all my malware is "Windows" based and offer no fixes.

Help please and much thanks for your site and work.

Alex Weego


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