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Kaspersky warns anti-virus industry will be playing catch-up next year

Simon Quicke

The increasing sophistication of web attacks will make a portion of user's antivirus threats redundant until the security vendors can catch up and improve their defences.

That scenario is one painted by the crystal ball gazers looking at the year ahead at Kaspersky Labs with the warning that file sharing networks are going to be a primary route for cyber criminals in 2010.

The popularity of file sharing sites not only hands the attackers a large potential base of victims but it has also been used this year as a way to get through Mac OS X defences.

It also threatens to pose a challenge to an antivirus industry that has prided itself in the last few years of becoming proactive rather than reactive to security problems.

"Malware will become much more sophisticated in 2010 and many antivirus programmes will be slow to treat infected computers due to advanced file infection and rootkit technologies," said Alex Gostev, director of Kaspersky Lab's global research and analysis team.

"IT security companies will respond by developing even more complex protection tools. However, the malicious programs capable of bypassing these measures will remain more or less immune to antivirus programs for some time," he added.

Other potential areas for concern will include Google Wave, which will become a platform to spread malware, as well as increase in attacks on the iPhone and Android smart phones.

Already the smart phone market has been fingered as one likley to see a steady rise in threats as the cyber criminals target the wealth of personal information users store on their devices.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of Wick Hill, told MicroScope last week that it expected mobile phone security to be a major feature of next year and it had incorporated a push on that area into its plans for the months ahead.

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