McAfee today released its annual 2013 Threat Predictions report, highlighting the top threats McAfee Labs foresees for 2013.
Using its proprietary Global Threat Intelligence (GTI), the McAfee Labs team analyzed data on malware, vulnerabilities and online threats in 2012 to predict which trends will increase in 2013.
In the coming year, McAfee Labs expects that threats to mobile devices will become even more of a focus of cybercriminals, the influence of the hacktivist group “Anonymous” will decline, and large-scale attacks that attempt to destroy infrastructure will increase.
“Cybercriminals and hacktivists will strengthen and evolve the techniques and tools they use to assault our privacy, bank accounts, mobile devices, businesses, organizations and homes,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.
In 2012 McAfee Labs saw the number of mobile threats increase dramatically as ransomware expanded into mobile devices. The development and deployment of increasingly sophisticated ransomware technologies that will “lock up” a phone or tablet, and threaten to keep it that way until a ransom is paid, will be a prominent trend in 2013.
According to McAfee, the harsh reality of these schemes is that users have no way of knowing if their device will be unlocked even if they do meet the perpetrator’s demands.
Since attackers hijack the users’ ability to access data, victims will be faced with either losing their data or paying a ransom in the hope of regaining access.
A new mobile worm will go on a major shopping spree in 2013. The Android/Marketpay.A Trojan horse program buys apps without user permission. In 2013 cyber-crooks will take this malware’s app-buying payload and add it to a mobile worm so attackers won’t need victims to install a piece of malware.
In addition, mobile phones with NFC-enabled “digital wallets” are an easy target for cyber-thieves. Attackers will create mobile worms with NFC capabilities to steal money via the “bump and infect” method, most commonly used in areas with dense populations like airports and malls.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), offers security solutions to businesses, the public sector, and home users.