The Top 13 Internet Security Threats for 2013

  • December 27, 2012

Cybercriminals continue to strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, and organizations. McAfee Labs researchers track these Internet security threats that impact network and data security, endpoints, mobile devices, and Internet-connected systems supporting critical infrastructure. What's on the horizon for 2013? In their annual outlook, McAfee Labs researchers foresee an increase in or the introduction of these threats that target consumers, businesses, and even governments:

  • Mobile worms that infect devices with near-field communications (NFC) capabilities (which enable tap-and-pay purchases via kiosks), allowing criminals to access to the victims' wallet accounts
  • Malware that blocks security updates to mobile phones, making it increasingly difficult to remove a virus or prevent another malware infection
  • PC and mobile phone ransomware “kits” that allow criminals without programming skills to hold a system or smartphone hostage and extort payments from victims
  • Covert and persistent attacks deep within and beneath Windows
  • Rapid development of ways to attack Windows 8 and HTML5
  • Large-scale attacks like Stuxnet that attempt to destroy infrastructure, rather than make money
  • A further narrowing of attacks using the Citadel Trojan, enabling more targeted attacks with potentially bigger financial gain
  • Malware that renews a connection even after a botnet has been taken down, allowing infections to grow again
  • The "snowshoe" spamming of legitimate products from many IP addresses, spreading out the sources and keeping the unwelcome messages flowing
  • SMS spam sent from infected phones, increasing the possibility that a victim may have their account closed by their wireless provider
  • "Hacking as a Service," where anonymous sellers and buyers in underground forums exchange malware kits and development services for money
  • The decline of the online hacktivist group, Anonymous, to be replaced by more politically committed or extremist groups
  • Nation-states and armies will be more frequent sources and victims of cyberthreats

The Top 13 Internet Security Threats for 2013