Identity theft and IT security threats are predicted to increase during 2011, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research for McAfee Labs. The rise in identity theft and IT security breaches is due to the increased use of technology and applications in the online environment. These findings will likely contribute to the rise in consumer use of identity theft protection services.
Some of the threat predictions that were recently mentioned include:
The increased use of mobile devices both for personal use and use in the workplace has influenced predictions that these devices will be targeted by hackers for identity theft and IT security breaches mostly due to the present weaknesses in the programming of mobile apps. Since mobile apps are a fairly new commodity they frequently contain vulnerabilities in the coding that hackers can exploit for use with a botnet, theft of confidential information and malware attacks.
The rise of the mobile workplace means an increased use of mobile devices by company employees. This opens up a new security concern for companies and businesses with regard to IT security threats, theft of critical company data, and personal identity theft.
Signed Malware That Appears Legitimate
Another prediction states, the programmers of malware will become more sophisticated and be capable of creating malicious software that imitates legitimate files on PCs and mobile devices. This will make it easier for cyber criminals to create fake keys from stolen ones and access critical data for the purpose of identity theft and theft of crucial data from companies and government agencies.
In the past and still in the present for that matter, botnets have been created by organized criminals for the purpose of data and identity theft among other criminal acts. The criminals target specific computers on a network which are then turned into “zombie” computers that take commands from the botnet creator or “bot herder.” Company PCs as well as personal PCs are taken over to perform criminal acts without the user’s knowledge. Predictions for 2011 point to the fact that botnets will become more sophisticated and engage in advanced gathering of data through social networks.
The increased use of social media as a tool for communication will replace email as the chief executor of malicious software and the main avenue for identity theft. Predictions also show that services that help you locate the mobile device users will contribute to the problem, as well as social media tools such as shortened URL services and other social media applications.
These are a few of the threats that you should be on the lookout for with regard to identity theft and IT security in 2011. Additionally, if you are an iPad or iPhone user you should be on guard for malicious codes which have not been a problem in the past with Apple, however the popularity of Apple mobile devices has significantly changed this climate.