State-sanctioned cyberattacks on the rise – Kaspersky
Cyber-espionage or "hacktivism" and naton-state cyberattacks will shape the digital security landscape this coming year, according to Kaspersky Labs.
In its report entitled, "Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2012: Malware Evolution", the security provider said that other tech trends to look out for in the coming year are legal surveillance; cloud-based network attacks; cyber extortion of individuals and companies; and mobile malware.
Kaspersky also forecast the continuing evolution of Mac OS malware, fake security certificates, personal privacy, and software exploits.
Some of these predictions are extrapolations based on trends already seen in 2012.
However, a more urgent concern was the rise of nationally authorized cyberattacks that could usher in an era of cold "cyber-war", according to Kaspersky's Director of Global Research & Analysis, Costin Raiu.
“We expect more countries to develop cyber weapons - designed to steal information or sabotage systems - not least because the entry-level for developing such weapons is much lower than is the case with real-world weapons,” he cautioned.
Prime targets of such attacks include energy supply facilities, transportation controls, financial systems, telecommunications, and other critical infrastructure.
Government response to the increased threat of cyberattacks is likely to be heightened monitoring, a potential privacy breach that may put the role of law enforcement into question.
“Legal surveillance tools has wider implications for privacy and civil liberties. And as law enforcement agencies, and governments, try to get one step ahead of the criminals, it's likely that the use of such tools - and the debate surrounding their use - will continue,” Raiu pointed out.
The previous year has already seen a marked use of cyber-activism or "hacktivism" against private and public entities, but on a much wider and more damaging scale than in previous years.
“The powerful actors from 2011 remained the same: hacktivist groups, IT security companies, nation states fighting each other through cyber-espionage, major software and gaming developers such as Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle or Sony, law enforcement agencies and traditional cybercriminals, Google, via the Android operating system, and Apple, thanks to its Mac OS X platform,” Raiu said.
While the threat landscape continues to be dominated by isolated, random cyberattacks, targeted attacks have become increasingly common over the past two years.
Such attacks are specifically intended to infiltrate target organizations, often for the purpose of gathering sensitive information that can be sold on the 'dark market'.
However, profit is not the only motivation behind attacks: political and social causes are also major drivers. Moreover, societies' growing dependence on the Internet enables greater susceptibility to "hacktivist" attacks. — TJD, GMA News