McAfee Says Top Cyber Threats in 2012 Include Mobile Devices, Unified Cyber Warfare

Prior to the mid to late 1980’s, desktop computers in both the home and workplace were virtually non-existent; however, after the development of the World Wide Web in the early 1990’s, the virtual computing began to solidify as a staple in everyday life.

Today, computers have dramatically evolved from their distant relatives from the 80’s, 90’s and even early to mid 2000’s. We use them to access information, pay bills, conduct war and purchase just about anything you can imagine from around the world.

Unfortunately, despite a plethora of advantages, this expanding virtual network does have its downfalls.

On Dec. 28, McAfee Labs, a subsidiary of Intel Corporation, released its 2012 “Threats Predictions,” report, which outlines the top cyber threats the company foresees in the upcoming year.

The threats were broken down into individual categories,  some of which included:

Natural Resources: McAfee predicts computer systems controlling natural resources such as water, oil, gas and electricity because many of the systems protecting these utilities don’t have stringent security practices.

Mobile Hacking: As mobile devices have evolved into miniature personal computers, mobile hacking is one of McAfee’s top concerns for 2012. In 2011, reports of mobile malware reached a record all time high. In addition, the company believes mobile banking applications will be the number target in this area.

“Hactivism?!” McAfee predicts both hackers and activists may form to become one, targeting public figures such as politicians, various industry leaders and law enforcement.

Legal Spam: While McAfee reports actual spamming is decreasing, the company says internet advertisers are stepping up their game by using similar techniques to those of spammers. As advertising agencies continue to purchase robust email lists and customer databases from companies going out of business, don’t be alarmed if your computer screen looks like a digital billboard in the upcoming year.

Cyber Warfare: According to McAfee, today, many countries are vulnerable to cyber warfare attacks due to their massive dependence on computer systems. Take into account the critical infrastructure, military components and sensitive information that is controlled and hosted on these systems. McAfee believes countries will demonstrate their cyberwar capabilities throughout the upcoming year as a demonstration of power.

Read the full report, here.

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