Cybercrime to consolidate in 2011

Wednesday, 29 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Kolkata: Viruses in 2011 will increasingly be like those shown in sci-fi movies. Plus, analysts expect consolidation in the cybercrime world during the year – exactly as it happens among corporates. And viruses will not just target individuals but increasingly attack corporates and installations. Anti- virus companies will not be spared too.

“Year 2010 was the year of the vulnerability. And 2011 only promises the worse,” says Alexander Gostev, Head of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research and Analysis Team, told ET.  “During 2011, critical infrastructure and industrial establishments will increasingly come under attack and service providers will respond, but governments will be slow to react,” says Shantanu Ghosh, Vice-President, India Operations at Symantec, which sells Norton’s anti-virus products.

Cyber-espionage will see mid-sized companies being targeted. The growth of targeted and localised attacks will continue both against big name brands as well as critical infrastructure.

What’s interesting is the consolidation in the cybercrime world. Amit Nath, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Trend Micro, said: “There will be consolidation in the cybercrime underground. Existing groups will merge or join forces to emerge stronger and deadly in the next year.”

A whole new generation of more organised and more malevolent malware writers will emerge next year, predicts Kaspersky.

What more? “The majority of victims are unlikely to ever know they have been targeted. These types of attacks, which are outside the realm of PC and attacks installations, may only begin in 2011. However, it is already clear that the arrival of this new generation of cybercriminals means that those tasked with counteracting such cyberthreats will need to raise their game considerably,” Kaspersky Lab’s Gostev said.

“With social media becoming popular by the day, more corporate data breaches will occur over social media channels too. Search poisoning – that pulls users to malicious sites by unfair means, won’t be limited to Google in 2011. It will migrate to Facebook.

Hackers will trick users into visiting fake brand and celebrity pages and increase exposure to malware. Social media users will also be vulnerable to spam and malicious data-stealing content,” Surendra Singh, Regional Director, SAARC and India, Websense said.

Symantec thinks Stuxnet – the virus that can affect real word equipment — is possibly just the first highly visible indication of attempts at what some might call cyber warfare. In 2011, more indications of the ongoing pursuit to control the digital arms race will come to light.

A Trend Micro official feels that in 2011, it is very likely that cyber criminals will increasingly target security vendors’ brands – the anti-virus companies — to cause confusion and insecurity among users.

With growing diversity of operating systems among companies, as well as the growing use of mobile devices cybercriminals should have a very profitable 2011, feels Trend Micro’s Nath.