Cybersecurity's 'Perfect Storm' Made Landfall

Monday, January 17, 2011

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The end of one year and the beginning of the next often brings an assortment of security articles aimed at predicting trends for the industry and a score of emerging threats - the 2010-2011 turn was no exception.

Looking back at last years soothsayer articles, one in particular from January of 2010 seemed to stand out among the rest.

In Perfect Storm Forming for Cyberattacks in the Next Decade, security expert Mandeep Khera of Cenzic, a provider of software and security services, had warned that the next decade would see a dramatic escalation in cybercrime and the use of state-sponsored cyberwarfare tactics.

In light of the rise of the Stuxnet, the Zeus Trojan and the shifting strategies employed by online criminal networks, Khera's predictions are worth a revisit:

"Over the next ten years, attacks will become much more sophisticated and organized, supported by criminal organizations capitalizing on the latest trends and Internet fads to trick unsuspecting users along with the escalation of cyber warfare as other nations infiltrate our infrastructure to bring about chaos and financial ruin. With an increased number of new applications using Web 2.0 technologies and a rise in application level vulnerabilities, we have all the conditions of a perfect storm for cyberattacks," said Khera.

Khera also noted five trends to watch for in 2010 and the decade beyond:

  •  "...cyber war will become much more common with more severe attacks exploiting the Web. Along with Cyber warfare, we'll also see more instances of cyberterror as hackers target the telecommunications and utility infrastructures of target nations..."
  • "Social network sites like Facebook and Twitter will continue to be targeted for attacks due to their popularity and usage. New and game changing social networking apps will emerge each with a unique set of security challenges..."
  • "The rise in smartphone use, particularly the popularity of specific phones such as the iPhone, begets an escalation in mobile app use. As these apps become ubiquitous for users seeking to enhance both their business and personal worlds, they will increasingly become a target for hackers..."
  • "Cloud computing will become more prevalent as organizations try to optimize their infrastructure to streamline costs, however the cloud comes with inherent security risks. Cloud providers will increasingly become a target especially for hackers using Web attacks..."
  • "Businesses large and small will adopt technologies to secure their Web sites, regulations will be developed and fines increased. Universities will make security, especially application security, a mandatory requirement for all development courses..."
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