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10 Security Predictions For 2009

From malware mania to scammers taking advantage of the current economic crisis and infiltrating social networking sites, 2009 will be a busy year for those looking to do harm and those trying to prevent it. Get ready for the ride.

malware networking

1. Malware Grows Up

The explosion of malware in 2007 and 2008 is not about to slow any time soon. It's no secret that malware targeting Web 2.0 applications is getting more diverse and harder to track. But expect it to be even more complicated as malicious code is written with more variants--all geared around password and identity theft.

2. Bad Economy Spurs More Scams

Criminals are taking advantage of the economic crisis and finding new ways to scam users. Expect to see more legitimate-looking phishing attacks impersonating mortgage lenders and banks offering to give users great deals on loans or offering credit cards for cash-strapped users. Other attacks might request users' passwords and account information.

3. Let's Socialize

The popularity of social networking sites has not gone unnoticed by malware writers. Experts say attackers will be leveraging that trend with attacks that impersonate sites or spoofing contacts from users' friends list, banking on the fact that users will be more likely to click on a message they think is coming from someone they know.

4. This Time It's Premeditated

Criminals are consistently going for the biggest bang for the buck, launching premeditated attacks with specific objectives, Fortinet reports. And as competition increases, hackers will continue to do their homework in an effort to reach the largest possible number of victims.

5. Unified Security Is The Way To Go

Efficiency and affordability will be the name of the game in 2009. As more businesses find ways to cut costs and reduce IT staff resources in the down economy, they will also be looking at ways to adopt technologies with multiple functionalities.

6. Rise Of The Underworld

In the past few years, large groups of loosely organized hackers have coalesced into well-managed, highly organized and financially driven networks. And they're looking to extend that network by delegating responsibilities. Experts expect to see more "hacking services" being offered, such as botnet rentals and harvested accounts sold to the highest bidder. And more incentives will be offered to "script kiddies," who will provide hacking services on a contract basis.

7. You Left That Door Open

As the economy worsens, companies will be forced to further reduce staff and resources. Consequently, more disgruntled workers will find ways to seek retribution, which could come in the form of taking valuable data, trading company secrets with competitors or pilfering money from the company (remember "Office Space"?)

8. Data Breach Bonanzas

The economy may be in shambles, but Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards aren't going away. In fact, in light of a rash of high-profile data breaches that graced the front pages last year, credit-card companies are imposing more stringent regulations on businesses as the economy slows and credit becomes scarce. Attackers are headed straight for that data.

9. Got Game?

With the online gaming explosion comes explosive opportunities for cybercriminals. Those who live, eat and socialize in the virtual world can also get robbed there. Online games are a particularly attractive target, due to the fact that many gamers will do almost anything to preserve their winnings. Hackers that break into online games will often hijack a user's game and threaten to eliminate their hard-won prizes or set their account to zero unless the user pays up.

10. Weather Forecast: Cloud Computing

As companies try to do more with less, they will gravitate to a managed services model for their security needs. From a business perspective, outsourcing security tasks is affordable, reliable and efficient. Companies will increasingly rely on managed services for their basic security requirements, freeing up IT staff to work on other mission-critical projects.

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