Trend Micro released its annual threat report today. This year, our annual report focuses on the future of the threat landscape.
Virtualization, cloud computing, and a shifting Internet infrastructure will widen the scope of cybercrime.
With the growing popularity of cloud computing and virtualization among companies, we fully expect cybercriminals to find new methods by which to increase their profit margins.
Earlier in 2009, the industry witnessed the unfortunate Danger/Sidekick cloud-based server incident, which highlighted cloud computing risks that cybercriminals will likely attempt to abuse. Trend Micro experts believe that cybercriminals will either try and manipulate the connection to the cloud or attack the data center and cloud itself.
The Internet infrastructure is changing, opening more opportunities for cybercrime.
The “next-generation” protocol designed by the Internet Engineering Task Force, Internet Protocol v. 6 (IPv6), is still in the experimentation stages of replacing the current IPv4, now 20 years old. As users start to explore IPv6, so too will cybercriminals and we can expect to see proof-of-concept elements in IPv6 start to materialize in the upcoming year.
Domain names are becoming more internationalized and the introduction of regional top- level domains (Russian, Chinese, and Arabic characters) will create new opportunities to launch age-old attacks through look-alike domains for phishing—using Cyrillic characters in place of similar-looking Latin characters. Trend Micro predicts this will lead to reputation problems and abuse that will challenge security companies.
Social media and social networks will be used by cybercriminals to enter the users’ “circle of trust.”
Social networks are also ripe venues for stealing personally identifiable information. The quality and quantity of data posted openly by many trusting users on their profile pages, combined with interaction clues, are more than enough for cybercriminals to stage identity thefts and targeted social engineering attacks. The situation will worsen in 2010, with high-profile personalities suffering from online impersonators or stolen bank accounts.
Global outbreaks will become extinct and localized, targeted attacks will grow.
The threat landscape has shifted and we are no longer seeing global outbreaks like Slammer or CodeRed. Even the much-covered Conficker incident of 2008 and early 2009 was not a global outbreak by its true definition; rather it was a carefully orchestrated and architected attack. Moving forward, localized and targeted attacks are expected to grow in number and sophistication.
Key forecasts for 2010 and beyond:
- No global outbreaks, but localized and targeted attacks
- It’s all about money so cybercrime will not go away
- Windows 7 will have an impact since it is less secure than Vista in the default configuration
- Risk mitigation is not as viable an option anymore—even with alternative browsers/operating systems
- Malware is changing its shape—every few hours
- Drive-by infections are the norm—one Web visit is enough to get infected
- New attack vectors will arise for virtualized/cloud environments
- Bots can’t be stopped anymore and will be around forever
- Company/Social networks will continue to be shaken by data breaches
For the full threat report, please visit: http://us.trendmicro.com/us/trendwatch/research-and-analysis/threat-reports/index.html.
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