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24 December 2012

Cyber crime will become the norm in 2013, Symantec warns

CYBER CRIME will become "the norm" in 2013 - with conflicts between nations, organisations and individuals playing a key role in the cyber world - security firm Symantec has declared.

Writing in a post in the firm's blog, Symantec director of Security Response Kevin Haley warned that nations or organised groups of individuals will continue to use cyber tactics in attempts to damage or destroy the secure information or funds of their targets.

"In 2013, we will see the cyber equivalent of 'saber rattling', where nation states, organisations, and even groups of individuals use cyber attacks to show their strength and 'send a message'," he said.

Haley added that the firm expects to see even more attacks on individuals and non-government organisations, such as supporters of political issues, by hacktivist groups.

The firm's prediction comes at the top of what it thinks will be the top five threats in the cyber security landscape next year.

Second on the list is 'ransomware'. Symantec said that using online payment methods, cyber criminals can now use "force instead of flimflam" to steal from their targets, with extortion methods getting harsher and more destructive.

"In 2013, attackers will use more professional ransom screens, up the emotional stakes to motivate their victims, and use methods that make it harder to recover once compromised," Haley said.

The firm listed 'madware' - that is, mobile adware that can potentially expose location details, contact information, and device identifiers to cybercriminals - as third on its list of top threat predictions for 2013. This is because the firm has seen the number of apps, including the most aggressive forms of madware, increase by 210 percent in just the past nine months.

The fourth prediction listed by the firm is threats against social networks as they start to find new ways to monetise their platforms.

"Symantec anticipates an increase in malware attacks that steal payment credentials in social networks and trick users into providing payment details, and other personal and potentially valuable information, to fake social networks," Haley said.

"This may include fake gift notifications and email messages requesting home addresses and other personal information."

According to the firm, cyber criminals will sell and trade this information with one another, combing with information they already have, and helping them create a profile of users so they can use to access other accounts.

Last on Symantec's top five security threats of 2013 is the gradual move onto mobile and the cloud. The firm said as users increasingly use these services, so will attackers. Ewallet services are a particular example, and will become an area that hackers will attempt to exploit.

"Mobile devices will become more valuable as mobile carriers and retail stores transition to mobile payments and continue defining new product frontiers," Haley said. "We will see criminals use malware to hijack payment information from people in retail environments."

Symantec's top five predictions for 2013 were derived by hundreds of the firm's security experts, and gathering their thoughts and ideas, and boiling it all down to a handful of predictions, Symantec said it "felt



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