Vulnerabilities / Threats

1/3/2011
01:29 PM
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Top 10 Security Predictions For 2011

More malware, botnets, and mayhem, including online protests and political attacks, are in store for this year, according to security experts.

Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010

How didn't the information security landscape change in 2010?

The year began with Google's assertions that the Chinese government had attacked its servers. By the end of the year, the WikiLeaks release of U.S. State Department cables appeared to confirm that was true, thus redefining many people's notions of the extent to which state-sponsored attacks and reconnaissance occur online and provoking furious debates over the freedom of information as well as the Internet.

In 2010, Stuxnet emerged from mysterious origins, proving that malware could have a physical, real-world impact. The volume of malware also continued to rise, as a seemingly nonstop wave of targeted attacks, spam, and botnets continued to target people's personal financial details. In short, little was quiet.

With all that in mind, what's in store for 2011? Here are 10 predictions from security experts:

1) Smaller Botnets Muscle Up

In 2011, malware and botnets will get better, because they're not going to get worse. While security researchers will keep finding innovative ways to combat botnets, "malware authors are finding new ways to evade detection and keep the money flowing," according to a recent report from M86 Security.

Botnets remain too lucrative and pose too little risk to their operators to disappear. Indeed, botnet operators seem relatively immune to prosecution, especially if they're based in Russia (and don't attack Russians). Furthermore, despite some high-profile arrests and takedowns, for example of Lethic, Pushdo, and Bredolab, knocking botnets offline permanently seems difficult.

In fact if anything, the increased tempo of arrests will likely cause botnet creators to better hide their tracks, according to the M86 report."We expect to see the command and control architectures become more and more layered and complex, making it difficult for security researchers and authorities to bring down the entire bot networks."

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