Symantec forecasts top five cyber security vulnerability management threats of 2013

One of the most common vulnerability management mistakes made by organisations in Australia and abroad is falling into the trap of believing that cyber security is merely a one-time investment.

In truth, ensuring the digital security of your business requires more of an ongoing commitment, towards regular assessments such as security audit evaluations and penetration testing.

This is because cyber criminals are constantly adapting and evolving their techniques in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve, thus organisations and individuals alike must also evolve in order to mitigate the risk of being targeted online.

Earlier this week, the changing nature of cybercrime was highlighted by a new report from Symantec into the top five digital threat predictions for 2013.

In a blog post published November 11, Symantec security response director Kevin Haley noted that while forecasting the future "always involves a bit of speculation", he felt that the predictions would "provide real insight into where we believe the threat landscape is going".

Amongst the predictions was a suggestion that ransomware may grow in popularity as a tool with which cybercriminals might look to exploit unprepared businesses.

Ransomware is essentially a form of malware which places restrictions on an organisation's computers, blocking access to essential information unless a financial ransom is paid out.

In the past this technique has been limited in its effectiveness due to the fact that there was no way for criminals to collect the ransom money safely, much like a real kidnapping or blackmail incident.

However Mr Haley notes that cybercriminals are now utilising online payment methods in order to extract money from their targets, meaning that ransomware may grow as a threat in the future.

"As it is no longer necessary to con people into handing over their money, we can expect the extortion methods to get harsher and more destructive," writes Mr Haley.

Another emerging cyber security threat highlighted by Symantec is that which is being presented by the shift to mobile and cloud platforms.

According to Mr Haley, unmanaged mobile devices entering and exiting corporate networks will provide an appealing target for cybercriminals, and increase the likelihood of malware infection.

"In 2013 you can be sure mobile technology will continue to advance and thereby create new opportunities for cybercriminals," Mr Haley writes.

Other predictions made by Symantec include an increase in the amount of cyber conflicts occurring between nations, organisations, and individuals, as well as an increase in mobile adware – or 'madware'.

Mr Haley also writes that the increasing monetization of social networks will introduce new dangers, as cybercriminals look to exploit these platforms in order to gain access to the personal information of users.

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