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Cybersecurity challenges in 2013

Dmitriy Ayrapetov, director of product management of Dell SonicWALL | March 11, 2013
The security issues affecting businesses are similar around the world.

The security issues affecting businesses are similar around the world. Most involve employees innocently bringing an infected personal mobile device into the corporate network, or clicking on a social media link that looks harmless but hides a Trojan or worm that will secretly steal data and money and, potentially, remain undetected with severe impact on security of the infected device.

And while this this year will see more of that, we will also see major cybersecurity challenges to businesses coming from an increase in exploit kits, an increase in mobile device cybersecurity threats, and more sophisticated threats in general. Let's dive deeper:

- Increase in exploit kits: Exploit kits represent the dark but massively profitable side of cybersecurity attacks. Exploit kits comprise malicious programs. They quickly identify and then attack cyber vulnerabilities and spread malware.

Exploit kits are created, sold and rented on the black market. We predict they will be increasingly used because of their ease of deployment (rental model) and ease and speed of infection they deliver. The impact of these attacks will be felt in loss of data, IP, identify theft, financial fraud and theft, as well as in diminished business productivity and continuity.

We expect to see exploit kits targeting Windows 8, Mac OS X and mobile devices, particularly Android-based, in 2013 as these three targets represent fast-growing segments used by corporates and consumers alike to transact communications, business and commerce.

The growth of malware will continue at an explosive pace. In 2012, Dell SonicWALL identified nearly 16 million unique malware samples through its GRID (Global Response Intelligent Defense system) compared to 13.5 million in year 2011. Already, there are around 44,000 new malware samples every day.

- Increase in mobile cybersecurity vulnerability: The adoption of near field communication technology for mobile payment systems makes mobile platforms an attractive target for financially motivated cybercrimes. And the increased use of personal devices in businesses -- thanks to trends like BYOD (bring your own device) -- creates entirely new cybersecurity issues, from loss of company data and IP, to financial threat and non-compliance issues, to name a few.

As social media continues to be adopted universally for personal and business purposes alike, malware will increase dramatically across Facebook, Twitter and Skype in 2013. This triple threat threatens targeted mobile devices at the point of commerce, through their access to corporate networks and through their access to social media channels. It will be particularly dangerous and become more advanced and prevalent. [Also see: "Who owns that Twitter account?"]

- Increase in sophistication of cyberattacks: Last year we saw cybercriminals abandon older scareware methods such as fake antivirus scams and move over to ransomware scams. We expect to see this continue and become more global and multilingual, which also represents a growing threat to Latin Ameria. Ransomware attacks lock down a computer, device or service and holds the data hostage, or even threatens court action if the user does not pay. These are very devious attacks that are embedded deep into the computer or device and it is nearly impossible for an average user to regain control over his own system and data.


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