McAfee Predicts New Year Security Threats

During 2006, there has been an increase in online attacks on organizations. But as per indications of a recent survey, IT professionals predict even more threats next year. The earlier virus outbreaks like MyDoom, SQL Slammer and Melissa are not going to repeat at least significantly, says Joe Telafici, McAfee Avert Lab's operations director. Telafici has a team of nearly 100 security experts spanning 16 countries who build security content for McAfee. They also spread awareness and work in cooperation with law enforcement.

McAfee Avert Labs has made some predictions on security threats for 2007. Attacks that try to seize a user's ID & password by showing a bogus sign-in page will increase. There will also increase, targeted attacks on popular Internet services like eBay.

Image spam, in November 2006, were estimated to be 40 percent of total spam sent and received in comparison to less than 10 percent the previous year. Typically, a spam message with image is threefold the size of text-based spam. Therefore, such spam uses a significant amount of bandwidth.

Computer programs that fulfill automated tasks known as 'bots' are expanding. But they are likely to divert from Internet Relay Chat (IRC)-based communications towards less damaging ones. Virus writers in the past few years have been concentrating on IRC threats, because of the power that IRC scripting language possess. It was also an easy technique to coordinate infected PCs from a chat room.

Attacks on mobile phones will become more pervasive with the growth of connectivity in mobile devices. As potentially unwanted commercial programs rise, adware will appear in the mainstream. There will be a return of parasitic malware that alters existing files on a disk.

The quantity of rootkits on 32-bit platforms will increase. However, protective and remedial measures will also take place. According to Telafici, rootkits are becoming a reality in malicious programs and they are expected to increase over the next two years.

McAfee Avert Labs has noted that since Microsoft issues its cycle of security bulletin once per month, exploit writers send out zero-day exploits just after Patch Tuesday. This trend of zero-day attacks will continue.

Related article: McAfee Alerts Windows about Accessibility Hole in Vista

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