In 2008, the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) documented 548 breaches, exposing 30,430,988 records. The significance of this data is truly spotlighted after realizing that it only took nine months in 2008 to reach the 2007 total. What is most interesting about data breaches is that most are not malicious in nature. In many cases, inadvertent employee mishandling of sensitive information and insecure business processes are the most common ways that data is exposed. This can be attributed to the increase of mergers, acquisitions and layoffs resulting from the thundering economic climate changes in 2008.
What to Watch for in 2009
Looking at attack trends and techniques malware creators favored in 2008 help us predict what to expect in 2009. Some of these new attacks are already starting to show up and users need to be aware so that they can stay safe online in 2009.
As we have learned, current events are utilized as headliners to bait victims. In 2009, it is easily predicted that the economic crisis will be the basis of new attacks. We expect to see an increase in emails promising easy-to-get mortgages or work opportunities. Unfortunately, the people already being hit hard by the economy who have lost jobs and who have had homes foreclosed will also become the primary prey of scams.
Advanced Web Threats
The number of available Web services is increasing and browsers are continuing to converge on a uniform interpretation standard for scripting languages. Consequently, we expect the number of new Web-based threats to increase. User-created content can host a number of online threats from browser exploits, distribution of malware/spyware and links to malicious websites. The widespread use of mobile phones with access to the Web will make Web-based threats more lucrative. We have already seen attacks disguised as free application downloads and games targeting Smartphones. We expect to see more truly malicious mobile attacks in 2009.
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