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AVG – Top Five Digital Threats In 2013

Start-ups warned of top five digital threats set to strike in 2013

By Michelle Hammond
Thursday, 17 January 2013

Internet security company AVG has identified five digital threats facing businesses and consumers in 2013, prompting an expert to highlight how start-ups can respond to the trends.


AVG predicts the “traditional threats” targeting businesses and consumers will be accompanied by more recent developments such as attacks on virtualised cloud infrastructure.


“Our lives are becoming more closely intertwined with online services and so the potential rewards for cybercriminals in that area grow too,” says Michael McKinnon, security advisor at AVG Technologies Australia.


“I expect to see more attacks on the cloud services that businesses and consumers rely on day-to-day, both to cause disruption and to steal personal and financial data.”


Here are AVG’s top digital threats facing businesses and consumers in 2013:


1. Privacy


Online advertising on PCs, tablets and smartphones will become even more aggressively personalised as businesses seek to capitalise on users’ privacy.


Advertisers will use browser tracking, social media trawling and geo-location data to identify individual users and serve them a customised program of advertisements without their consent.


2. Cloud security


Attacks against virtualised cloud infrastructure will expose the risks in public cloud services and the large additional investments needed to better secure them.


3. Mobile threats


Google’s Android OS is now the prime target for smartphone and tablet malware. Due to security enhancements in Android 4.2 Jellybean, threats will become more sophisticated.


4. PC threats


The increase in popularity of Windows 8 will inspire hackers to reveal new vulnerabilities, develop new-style malware and fraudware, and present new proof-of-concept exploits.


The number of infected websites targeting PCs will also increase with the growing popularity of “commercial” exploit kits, while users’ problems will be multiplied by an increased reliance on built-in security systems.


5. Mobile-to-PC threats


Increased connectivity between mobile devices and PCs, combined with the growing bring-your-own-device trend, will make it much easier for malware and viruses to spread across business and home networks.


AVG also expects to register more MITMO (man-in-the-mobile) attacks that target PC and mobile internet banking apps.


McKinnon says start-ups can’t afford to ignore these threats, particularly cloud security.


“I think the biggest opportunity continues to be cloud and what the cloud offers for business… There are so many that don’t even know about the cloud yet,” he says.


“There are emerging opportunities there… [This includes] opportunities to develop apps that focus on security.


“Dropbox kind of set the trend for cloud file storage and then Google Drive caught on and all these other services popped up. There are now more than 50 cloud file storage providers.”


McKinnon says while some start-ups will be daunted by this, others will embrace it.


“There is a market there. It is massive, even if start-ups are… put off by how many are operating in that space,” he says.


“The true mentality is to say, ‘Yes, this is validation of the market so let’s go and get it’.”


McKinnon’s comments on the back of a warning from Acronis, which predicts cloud storage will play an integral role in IT strategies in 2013.


“Businesses will not be able to compete without hybrid cloud storage strategies,” Andy Purvis, Acronis general manager for Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.


“The need to create, store and access more data, from mobile and traditional computing devices, makes old storage and data protection solutions obsolete, inflexible and expensive.”

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