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Vulnerabilities / Threats

2010 Security Outlook: Reply Hazy, Try Again

Security researchers, experts don't show much agreement on the coming year's threats

Every year, Dark Reading editors are subjected to a hail of email from vendors, researchers, and analysts offering "predictions" for the coming year. While some of these predictions are based on actual data gathered by researchers who analyze security trends, the vast majority of these predictions often seem a bit random, if not completely arbitrary.

We suspect the widespread use of Ouija boards, crystal balls, tea leaves, and chicken entrails.

Seriously, folks, is this the best the security industry can do? Some of these predictions include shocking new insights, such as "the malware threat will continue to increase" and "use of botnets will grow." Duh. Tonight's forecast: dark.

As a service to you, our readers, we combed through the many lists of predictions in an effort to find a few that are actually forward-thinking. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it's pretty darn subjective -- but, hey, so are most of the predictions.

By the way, we already know which of these are going to come true -- but we're just so sick of predictions, we don't feel like telling you. Nyah. The winners, in no particular order:

1. Network-attached peripheral security threats will continue to increase. With more network-attached devices than ever before, disgruntled employees and other insiders will find ways to use unsecured printers and other network-connected devices to steal data while covering their tracks. (ICSA Labs)

2. Malicious software will target specific devices. Like the malware that attacked ATM cash machines and routers in 2009, attackers will take aim at next-gen or lower-level devices that may not be on the radar of corporations and vendors yet. (Norman ASA)

3. Mobile devices will remain a relatively low priority target for the bad guys. We like this one because it runs contrary to the other 114 predictions that we received, which all state that handheld devices and smartphones will be among the top threats in 2010. This prediction points out that although many vulnerabilities undoubtedly will be found in next-gen handhelds, the computer criminals will probably not target them because most of the really valuable data is still on corporate PCs and servers. (Accuvant Labs)

4. Attacks on virtualization technologies will increase. The growing deployment of Microsoft's Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V and VMWare's vSphere will make it easier for small and midsize businesses to take advantage of virtualized servers -- which will make these environments a much more interesting target for attackers. (BitDefender)

5. There will be a rise in attacks from file-sharing networks. The bad guys will shift from exploits via Websites and applications toward those that originate from file-sharing networks. In particular there will be an increase in mass malware epidemics via P2P networks. (Kaspersky Lab) Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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