What Security Challenges to Focus on in the New Year

Friday, February 15, 2013

Robert Siciliano

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In 2012, security challenges we faced were often the ribbon cuttings and business plans that startup criminal organizations launched. In 2013, those criminal enterprise business plans will come together—and we need to be ready.

Social media is high on criminal hackers radar. Criminals scan social media looking for people who they can scam. One such scam seeks out entire families and usually targets a grandparent. Criminals will pose as the grandchild and call granny asking for money to be wired. They are also looking at your page to crack password resets. Only friend those you know like and trust and lock down your privacy settings.

With Windows 8 out, criminals have set their sights on this new operating system and are seeking out its vulnerabilities. Old Win XP machines will be as vulnerable as ever. Macs are higher on hackers’ radars, too. Protecting your devices with essential security such as antivirus protection and keeping the OS updated are critical.

Mobile also is high on the hackers’ radar. McAfee predicts that as mobile malware grows, we can expect to see malicious apps that can buy additional apps from an app store without your permission. Buying apps developed by malware authors puts money into their pockets. We also expect to see attacks that can happen without you having to install an app, so no interaction on your part is needed to spread the malicious app.

Mobile ransomware quickly is moving from the PC to mobile devices. Criminals hijack your ability to access data on your phone or even use your phone, so you are faced with losing your contacts, calls, photos, etc. or paying a ransom—and even when you pay the ransom, you don’t always get your data back.

Protect yourself by refraining from clicking links in text messages, emails or unfamiliar web pages displayed on your phone’s browser. Set your mobile phone to lock automatically, and unlock it only when you enter a PIN. Consider investing a service that locates a lost phone, locks it and wipes the data if necessary, as well as restoring that data on a new phone. Keep your phone’s operating system updated with the latest patches, and invest in antivirus protection for your phone.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

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