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Forewarned is Forearmed

01 Feb 2012

Corporate content security solution providers WatchGuard have polished up their crystsal ball and are taking a look at some of the security risks lurking on the horizon for this year.10. HTML5 offers five times the ways to hijack your website – New web technologies like HTML5 fuel the growth for next year’s web application attacksLike the web technologies that came before it, HTML5 is generally secure. In fact, it introduces some security benefits that could help developers avoid common web application pitfalls. However, its security is dependent on the skill and care with which the developers create them. HTML5 is new and complex. Developers are still getting comfortable with it, which means they are likely to make programming mistakes that could translate into web vulnerabilities and it is quite possible this increased usage of HTML5 will heavily contribute to web applications attacks next year.9. Location aware malware customises its attacks – Spyware knows where you liveMalware will increasingly leverage geolocation to customise attacks, thus increasing its money making potential. A simple technique already in use is to forward victims in specific locales targeted fraud sites that work best in that region.8. Attackers launch a digital attack that affects physical infrastructure or equipment – My power plant got a virus infectionExpect at least one digital attack in 2012 to cause a significant repercussion to a physical infrastructure system. Attacks on infrastructure, such as the Stuxnet attack actually infect equipment, and make changes that have real physical results. Since then, researchers and attackers alike have heavily targeted SCADA systems. Now that they have seen what highly advanced malware can accomplish against industrial control systems, they have gone all in.7. As the top vector for social engineering and malware, Facebook is forced to increase its security – If Facebook doesn’t "like” security they’ll surely get "poked”Two years ago, WatchGuard predicted social networks would be a dangerous playground for attackers. Last year, WatchGuard predicted that Facebook links would take over where malicious email attachments left off. Both predictions continue to prove true. In fact, in 2012 it is very likely Facebook-based attacks will increase and Facebook will be forced to sit up and take notice.6. Adoption of BYOD and IT self-service results in more data loss – Bring your own device means clean your own infectionsIn 2012, WatchGuard anticipates several data loss incidents and breaches as a result of the increased adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and self-serve IT. Proponents of BYOD say it can reduce IT costs, increase productivity, lessen helpdesk load, and just plain make employees happy. New cloud offerings make it possible for non-IT departments to easily contract and launch new technical services, without the help of their own IT department. While BYOD and IT self-service do offer some clear benefits, they also come with a potential loss of control.5. Smartphone app stores and marketplaces help proliferate mobile malware in the real world – Who planted digital weeds into my mobile app garden?In 2012, the mobile threat will continue to grow, but with a more specific source – app stores and marketplaces. To avoid mobile malware verify that the app vendor does a solid job validating apps. During 2011 attackers focused most of their malware delivery efforts on infecting various smartphone providers’ application delivery systems, like Google’s App Marketplace or Apple’s App Store. They have been more successful at infecting some app stores more than others, but have proven that all application repositories can be fallible.4. Increased reliance on virtualization reawakens need for virtual security– Unprotected virtual machines make bad neighboursExpect to see a considerable rise in interest for virtualisation security solutions among smaller and medium businesses next year, due to the increased reliance on this technology. As with other new technologies, as virtualization matures, its usage increases among smaller companies and organisations. Many SMB IT professionals still do not fully understand the potential security ramifications of poorly implemented virtual environments. Because of the lack of security know-how and increased reliance on virtualisation, risk of data loss dramatically increases.3. The barrage of noteworthy data breaches continues through 2012– Hacktivists and script-kiddies rage against the machineWhether due to APT attackers, criminal malware authors, or hacktivist groups like Anonymous and LulzSec, WatchGuard saw more headline-grabbing hacks than in any previous year.It is hard to say what caused the increase but expect this trend to continue in 2012. Now that criminals realise how much they can make by stealing data, and hacktivists realise that network attacks draw attention, WatchGuard suspects they will both continue to besiege networks for next year.2. Organised criminals will leverage Advanced Malware techniques in targeted attacks against businesses– Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) trickle down to SMBs and ConsumersExpect the APT trend to continue in 2012, but with a slightly new twist. APTs will trickle down to everyday people. Last year, WatchGuard predicted the growth of advanced persistent threats (APTs). This prediction seems to have proven true with big breaches like RSA’s SecureID incident and operation ShadyRat, as well as the discovery of Stuxnet’s successor, Duqu. As expected, these APTs of 2011 primarily affected very big organisations, such as governments, industrial control providers, and large enterprises. In 2012, less sophisticated criminals will start to leverage the advanced techniques they’ve learned about from APTs, to create more advanced malware targeting smaller businesses and even consumers.1. A major cloud provider will suffer a significant security breach – Cloud Computing brings chance of malware-stormsIn 2012, expect organised criminals to target cloud services, and significantly breach at least one well-known cloud provider. That said, also expect to see smarter, trustworthy cloud providers recognise that risk, and add premium security to their offerings."2012 stands to be a dynamic year for network security as criminals and hackers take threats to new levels,” WatchGuard vice president Asia Pacific, channels and alliances Technologies Scott Robertson says. "Given how new threats are constantly evolving, WatchGuard remains ever vigilant in staying one step ahead of these threats, which gives our customers unparalleled protection for their networks, applications and data.”