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McAfee Reveals Its 2012 Threat Predictions

Predictions include an increase of attacks on oil, gas, and water utility organizations
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Dec. 28, 2012 — McAfee today unveiled its 2012 Threat Predictions report, outlining the top threats that McAfee foresees for the coming year. The list indicates that emerging threats from 2011 are on track to become the major players for cyberactivity in 2012, including mobile banking, “legal” spam and virtual currency. McAfee Labs also predicts that attacks involving political motivation or notoriety will also make headlines, including high-profile industrial attacks, cyberwarfare demonstrations and hacktivist attacks targeting public figures.

“Many of the threats that will become prominent in 2012 have already been looming under the radar in 2011,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Over the past year, the general public has become more aware of some of these risks, such as threats to critical infrastructure or the impact of hacktivism as they gain international media attention. In the meantime, we continue to see cybercriminals improving their toolkits and malware and are ready to make a significant impact in 2012.”

McAfee Labs Threat Predictions for 2012:

Industrial Attacks: Cybercriminals Target Utilities

Water, electricity, oil and gas are essential to people’s everyday lives, yet many industrial systems are not prepared for cyberattacks. Many of the environments where SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems are deployed don’t have stringent security practices. As with recent incidents directed at water utilities in the United States, attackers will continue to leverage this lack of preparedness, if only for blackmail or extortion in 2012.

Advertisers Will “Legalize” Spam

McAfee Labs has seen a drop in global spam volumes in the past two years. However, legitimate advertisers are picking up where the spammers left off, using the same spamming techniques, such as purchasing email lists of users who have “consented” to receive advertising or purchasing customer databases from companies going out of business. McAfee Labs expects to see this “legal” spam and the technique known as “snowshoe spamming” to continue to grow at a faster rate than illegal phishing and confidence scams.

Mobile Threats: Attackers will bypass PCs

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