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Monday, December 27, 2010

Expert predicts rise in data breach on social media, smartphones

Information Security expert and chief executive officer of CyberSecure Africa, Mr. Peter Ejiofor has warned that the coming year 2011 would see an increase in data breach on social channels, just as smartphones would be prime targets for cybercriminals.

Ejiofor who made his views known at the weekend in Lagos, said that more corporate data breaches will occur over social media channels.

“If you thought 2010 was challenging, just wait for 2011,” he declared, stressing that top five 2011 security predictions for the coming year from Websense, include state-sponsored malware attacks, Blended threats among others.

According to him, the Stuxnet sequels are coming by targeting some critical industrial infrastructure, but it would be only a preview.

“Based on how long it takes to develop complicated attacks like Stuxnet, we predict similar exploits will be carried out once or twice in 2011,” he said.

These state-sponsored offenses, he noted, would test national infrastructure systems to determine what is effective for future attacks.

“Only the strong survive blended threats. Companies will struggle to stay secure while covering more ground,” he said.

Ejiofor also pointed out that Blended threats like Zeus and SpyEye would continue to evolve and use a variety of delivery methods.

For him, today’s threats are no longer binary files delivered in attachments, but script-based or are embedded within rich media, many of which would spread rapidly through social media.

He cautioned that strained Information Technology (IT) departments would need to defend more territory and allow more access, despite these increasingly sophisticated threats.

He further said that more corporate data breaches would occur over social media channels, noting that search poisoning would not be limited to Google, but would migrate to Facebook.

“Hackers will manipulate Facebook search algorithms to trick users into visiting fake brand and celebrity pages and increase exposure to malware,” he said.

While employees, he said, would post confidential corporate data to public pages, even as social media users will also be vulnerable to spam and malicious data-stealing content.

Malware exploit kits, Ejiofor said, would add zero-day vulnerabilities faster, increasing their use in drive-by download attacks.

“As more targeted attacks are researched, more zero-day vulnerabilities will be discovered, he said, emphasising that data loss prevention and up-to-the-minute threat protection would become increasingly more important as organizations work to keep malicious content out and corporate information in.

The iPad, iPhone and other Smartphones, Ejiofor predicted, would be prime targets for cybercriminals.

“Mobile devices are a gold mine of personal and confidential data. Cybercriminals will successfully use mobile drive-by download attacks to steal confidential data and expose users to malicious content,” he cautioned.

Maintaining that many of next year’s mobile attacks would exploit the mobile Web browsers in the iPhone, iPad and Android-based devices, just as rogue applications are anticipated to also increase in number and sophistication.

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