2011 will see increased security threats on mobile devices, Apple products

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The Independent Tech

Security firm McAfee believes that Apple products, mobile devices and social media services will be at the top of the list of targets for cybercriminals in 2011.

"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs in a December 29 statement to the press.

Platforms and services that rose to popularity in 2010 will be at the forefront of the attacks, says McAfee.

Google's Android OS, Apple's iPhone, Foursquare, Google TV and the Mac OS X platform are on cybercriminals' radars says McAfee.  

"These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss," said Weafer.  

URL-shortening services are at the top of the security company's threat predictions for 2011 thanks to their use on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

"The use of abbreviated URLs on sites like Twitter makes it easy for cybercriminals to mask and direct users to malicious websites," explains McAfee. "With more than 3,000 shortened URLs per minute being generated, McAfee Labs expects to see a growing number used for spam, scamming and other malicious purposes."

Geolocation services are an easy target too. The services make it easy for strangers to search for lucrative (for cybercriminals) information such as users' location, interests, and operating systems.

McAfee believes that rise in popularity of both sophisticated mobile OS's and the Mac OS means these platforms will no longer fly under the radar.

"The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments, combined with the lack of user understanding of proper security for these devices, will increase the risk for data and identity exposure, and will make Apple botnets and Trojans a common occurrence."

McAfee Labs Threat Predictions for 2011:

  • Exploiting Social Media: URL-shortening services
  • Exploiting Social Media: Geolocation services
  • Mobile: Usage is rising in the workplace, and so will attacks
  • Apple: No longer flying under the radar
  • Applications: Privacy leaks-from your TV
  • Sophistication Mimics Legitimacy: Your next computer virus could be from a friend
  • Botnets: The new face of Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Hacktivism: Following the WikiLeaks path
  • Advanced Persistent Threats: A whole new category

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