Attacks on Cloud infrastructure, threats to privacy to continue in 2013: AVG

Security vendor expects cyber criminals targeting Cloud and mobile this year for further profit opportunities

Traditional security threats targeting businesses and consumers are not going away anytime soon, though attacks on virtualised Cloud infrastructure may come to the forefront in 2013.

That is the key prediction for the year by AVG Technologies Australia security advisor, Michael McKinnon, who expects risks in public Cloud services to be exposed via attacks against virtualised Cloud infrastructure.

“Well known Cloud systems such as Dropbox, SkyDrive, Cloud Drive (Amazon) and Google Drive have reportedly been attacked by malware,” he said.

“We will see an increase in attacks against such systems from DoS [Denial of Service] or DDoS [Distributed Denial of Service] attacks.”

As our lives become more closely intertwined with online services, McKinnon foresees threats to privacy increase as cyber criminals seek to profit from users’ personal data.

“I expect to see more attacks on the Cloud services that businesses and consumers rely on day-to-day, both to cause disruption and to steal personal and financial data,” he said.

In addition to cyber criminals looking to misappropriate user data, McKinnon warns that legitimate businesses are using personal data without users’ consent in order to maximise profits.

“Advertisers will use browser tracking, social media trawling and geo-location data to identify individual users, and then serve them a customised program of ads, all without the users’ consent,” he said.

Android attack

Windows 8 may be just out of the gates and on the market, but AVG expects hackers to be exploiting it soon enough.

“The steady increase in popularity of Windows 8 will inspire hackers to reveal new vulnerabilities, develop new-style malware and fraudware, and present new proof-of-concept exploits,” McKinnon said.

Also in the PC space, the growing popularity of accessible exploit kits such as Blackhole will likely increase the number of infected websites targeting PCs.

When it comes to mobility, AVG predicts threats to Android devices will become more sophisticated and use polymorphic code to overcome the security enhancements in Android 4.2 “Jelly Bean.”

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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