McAfee Labs forecasts growth in ‘Mobile Ransomware’

Comments Off January 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

McAfee Labs this week released its annual 2014 Predictions Report, analyzing 2013 trends through its McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) service to forecast the threat landscape for the coming year. In 2014, McAfee Labs expects to see the rapidly growing mobile platform draw the lion’s share of threat innovation.

Ransomware is expected to proliferate on mobile devices, as virtual currencies such as Bitcoin fuel the growth of ransomware across all platforms. Attacks using advanced evasion techniques will come of age, with enhanced capabilities to identify and bypass some sandboxing and other local security measures. Social platforms will be used more aggressively to target the finances and personal information of consumers, and the intellectual property and trade secrets of business leaders. 

“With target audiences so large, financing mechanisms so convenient, and cyber-talent so accessible, robust innovation in criminal technology and tactics will continue its surge forward in 2014,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.

“The activity in mobile and social is representative of an increasing ‘black hat’ focus on the fastest growing and most digitally active consumer audiences, in which personal information is almost as attractive as banking passwords. The emergence and evolution of advanced evasion techniques represents a new enterprise security battlefront, where the hacker’s deep knowledge of architectures and common security tactics enable attacks that are very hard to uncover.”

McAfee Labs foresees the following trends in 2014:

1. Mobile malware will be the driver of growth in both technical innovation and the volume of attacks in the overall malware “market” in 2014.

2. Virtual currencies will fuel malicious ransomware attacks around the world. Although largely a positive development, virtual currencies provide cybercriminals the unregulated and anonymous payment infrastructure they need to collect money from their victims.

3. In the spy vs. spy world of cybercrime and cyber warfare, criminal gangs and state actors will deploy new stealth attacks that will be harder than ever to identify and stop.

4. “Social attacks” will be ubiquitous by the end of 2014. Expect to see more attacks that leverage social platform features to capture passwords or data about user contacts, location or business activities.

5. New PC and server attacks will target vulnerabilities above and below the operating system. In 2014, new PC attacks will exploit application vulnerabilities in HTML5, which allows websites to come alive with interaction, personalization and rich capabilities for programmers.

6. The evolving threat landscape will dictate adoption of big data security analytics to meet detection and performance requirements. In 2014, security vendors will continue to add new threat-reputation services and analytics tools that will enable them and their users to identify stealth and advanced persistent threats faster and more accurately than can be done today with basic “blacklisting” and “whitelisting” technologies.

7. Deployment of cloud-based corporate applications will create new attack surfaces that will be exploited by cybercriminals. Cybercriminals will look for more ways to exploit the ubiquitous hypervisors found in all data centres, the multi-tenant access and communications infrastructure implicit in cloud services, and management infrastructure used to provision and monitor large-scale cloud services.

A full copy of the 2014 Predictions Report is available at  http://mcaf.ee/utjz4.