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Vulnerabilities / Threats

Apple, Social Networks Top Cybercrime Targets In 2011

McAfee threat predictions for the coming year forecast that Apple's increasing influence in personal computing, smartphones, and tablets will make it a prime target for cybercriminals.

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All the hottest Internet technologies this year, including geolocation services, Web-enabled TVs, mobile devices running Google Android and Apple iOS, and online social networks, will be key targets of cybercriminals in 2011, a security firm predicts.

Consumer electronics and Internet companies have rushed to market this year with cutting-edge products and services that have already seen a significant increase in attacks and data loss, McAfee said in its list of threat predictions for next year. This trend will continue in 2011 with cybercriminals finding new ways to steal personal information from consumers flocking to these new technologies.

"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," Vincent Weafer, senior VP of McAfee Labs, said in a statement.

Apple products are expected to be among the top targets of cybercriminals in 2011. The company's Mac computers have long been spared the attention of hackers because of their small market share. That has changed with the company's rebirth as a major consumer electronics company.

McAfee expects the sophistication of Trojans and other malware for the Mac and Apple's iPhone and iPad to increase next year, escalating the risk of personal data and identity theft. Cybercriminals are also expected to target other mobile devices, such as Android-based phones and tablets. These devices are easy targets because many users are unknowledgeable about proper security and network operators are moving too slowly toward encrypting data.

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