Cisco outlines up-and-coming security threats


Cisco outlines up-and-coming security threats

Microscope contributor

In the best tradition of the Christmas ghost story, Cisco has released its 2009 Annual Security Report and talked of some of the horrors that await in 2010.

Cisco has made much of the inexorable rise of social media applications in the workplace, and as a result says that the increasing mobility and availability of information is forcing high-level change within the security industry, but said this change cannot come fast enough.

“The high levels of trust that users place in social networks– that is, [a] user’s willingness to respond to information appearing within these networks – has provided ample opportunity for new and more effective scams,” the report said.

“It is easier, and often more lucrative, to fool a social media user in order to launch an attack or exploit or steal personal information,” it continued.

Cisco’s number-crunchers are predicting no let-up in 2010,with levels of cyber crime remaining high. The online crook’s old stalwarts,such as spam and phishing attacks, will continue to be nice little earners, but analysts also identified some up-and-coming threats.

Malicious manipulation of search engine results by criminals will grow next year as more and more end-users turn to online services for news and information.

According to Cisco, many of the highest-ranking search engine results following the death of singer Michael Jackson in June were malicious websites, and the vendor claims it identified eight different botnets using his death as a lure.

Echoing fears raised last week by security experts at Fortinet, Cisco also predicted a rise in attacks that target vulnerabilities in the growing smartphone estate.

“As handheld mobile devices act more and more like traditional computing platforms it is likely that individuals will need to update thesecurity of their mobile devices regularly, just as they do on their computers,”said Cisco.

The full report is currently available on Cisco’s website.

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