Top cybercrook targets for 2008

Vista, web 2.0 and social networking in the crosshairs of more bots, smarter malware

A recent Internet Security Outlook Report issued by CA warns that social networks and Web 2.0 are among the top potential targets for online attacks in 2008. The study, based on data compiled by CA's Global Security Advisor researchers, features Internet security predictions for 2008 and also reports on trends from 2007.

"Cyber-criminals go where opportunity lies and take advantage of any and all vulnerabilities," said Brian Grayek, vice president of Product Management for CA's Internet Security Business Unit. "While security protection is becoming better at detecting malware, online thieves are getting smarter and stealthier in the way they attack our computers."

CA made the following online security predictions for 2008:

1. Bots will dominate 2008: The number of computers infected by botnets will increase sharply in 2008. In an effort to become harder to detect, bot-herders are changing their tactics and decentralizing via peer-to-peer architectures. They are increasingly using instant messaging as their main vehicle for spreading botnets.

2. Smarter malware: There are new levels of sophistication in malware. Malware will target virtualized computers and increasingly use obfuscation techniques to hide in plain sight.

3. Social networking sites in the crosshairs: Social networking sites will become increasingly popular and, as a result, more vulnerable. The large number of aggregated potential victims and relatively small concern for computer security make these sites a windfall for cyber thieves.

4. Web 2.0 services and sites will come under targeted attacks: While it is relatively easy to implement Web 2.0 services, it can be quite challenging to configure them to be totally secure. Therefore, many Internet sites using these services are easy targets with little outward indication that a site is compromised.

5. Windows Vista at risk: Twenty vulnerabilities were reported in the OS in 2007, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As more people use it, more attackers will target it.

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CIO Canada staff

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