Mobile devices, social media targets for crime
Complacency of Apple users puts them at risk, McAfee says
The allure of new technologies will be tarnished as cybercriminals use them to pick the pockets of unsuspecting consumers, warns security software firm McAfee.
Geolocation systems that allow friends to know where you are, what you're doing and what you're saying will be a boon to crooks who will have better means to steal identities and break into homes when no one is around, notes the 2011 Threat Predictions Report.
The ease and convenience of shortened URLs also make it easy and convenient for spammers and scammers to direct unsuspecting surfers to spoof websites or sites that download malware or Trojans.
"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bull's-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice-president at McAfee Labs.
Some of those bull's-eyes are on Apple's most popular products, the iPad and iPhone. The report notes that Apple users have felt confident with the platforms because the Mac operating system has historically emerged unscathed from malicious attackers.
The popularity of the products and users' lack of security concern, however, has hackers working overtime to develop tools to break into Apple systems, steal data and make Apple botnets and Trojans a common occurrence, the report says.
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Mobile platforms of all sorts will be targets for hackers in 2011. The recent introduction of the Geinimi Trojan in the Android mobile platform appears to be a sign of the times. The Trojan is hidden in games and allows someone at a remote server to access a user's mobile phone and even add or remove applications. McAfee predicts a rapid escalation of such threats putting user data at high risk.
The merger of so many technologies and social networking tools will create an entirely new security paradigm in 2011 warns McAfee.
"These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss," Weafer said.