Expect an increase in bitcoin mining botnets this 2014 as well as heightened vulnerability to attacks among organisations that still use Windows XP.
Dell SonicWALl issued the warnings as it announced release of its latest annual threat report based on data gathered last year from one million sensors forming part of its Global Response Intelligence Defence (GRID) Network, its threat intelligence arm.
A press statement by the San Jose, California-based vendor of network security solutions warned that IT security threats had become more technologically robust and sophisticated.
Thus the possible danger of heightened financial and data thefts on enterprise network systems this 2014.
With regard to bitcoin, the press statement said that as its use continued to gain in popularity and value, so too would its attractiveness as a target for cybercriminals.
SonicWALL researchers had observed in 2013 an increase in bitcoin-mining botnets, according to the press statement.
The botnets had been designed to hijack bitcoins at zero hardware or energy expense to cybercriminal attackers.
It warned the trend would continue this 2014 and in succeeding years as long as bitcoin's value remained high.
At the same time, the threat report pointed out Windows XP as among the top 15 affected products in 2013.
The danger would continue this 2014 as Microsoft ends on April 8 its life support cycle for the operating system.
Thus, organisations that continued to use Windows XP, with Microsoft no longer providing support or patch ups, would become highly vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks.
Texas-based Dell now owns Dell SonicWall after having purchased the vendor firm in May 2012.
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