McAfee's 2006 Threat Forecast

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 21, 2005

McAfee, Inc., the leader in Intrusion Prevention and Risk Management solutions, celebrated the tenth anniversary of McAfee AVERT Labs and its decade of tracking and providing protection against Internet threats. In conjunction with the anniversary, McAfee AVERT Labs also unveiled its outlook for security threats in 2006.

McAfee AVERT Labs’ 2006 Threat Forecast:

* More Mobile Attacks: First detected in June 2004, McAfee AVERT Labs expects a significant rise in the number of global mobile threats in 2006. Also, as a result of the increased connectivity of smartphones, the threats will make a quick transition to converged devices.

The damage caused is likely to be more extensive than those caused by today’s PC threats because of the large volume of smartphones and the small percentage protected by mobile security installations, due to lesser perceived risk.

However, mobile malware creators can design sophisticated threats - invisible to the consumer, which can devastate networks and consumer data for financial gain.

* PUPS Expected to Grow: McAfeeAVERT Labs saw a 40% increase in commercial Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs) in 2004, with a rise in malicious Trojans - particularly keyloggers, password-stealers, bots and backdoors besides adware, keyloggers and remote control.

With efforts like the AntiSpyware Coalition, and with legal actions against anti-spyware vendors increasing, along with enforcement actions by the Federal Trade Commission and the New York State Attorney General, the new year will be interesting to watch.

* Phishing and Identity Theft: Phishing first emerged as a major concern in 2004, originating as a term used by hackers to describe stealing AOL accounts by acquiring usernames and passwords.

Flaws in email protocols, security weaknesses in browser software, and a lack of basic computer security education are some issues whose exploitation will continue to cause concern in 2006.

AVERT Labs predicts an increase in distributed phishing Trojans - Trojans that turn an infected computer into a phishing Web site and then spam others to go to that infected machine or site.

It also expects to see a greater number of password stealing Web sites, more attacks that attempt to capture a user’s ID and password by displaying a fake sign-in page, and increased targeting of popular online services

To protect against the above threats and malicious programs, McAfee AVERT Labs recommends diligence by regularly updating to the latest DATs, installing the latest patches, employing current spam filters, and implementing a multi-layered approach to detecting and blocking attacks.