The days of big virus outbreaks are over, according to director of operations for McAfee's Avert Labs, Joe Telafici.
Telafici said at the recent AVAR (Association of Antivirus Asia Researchers) conference that today's cyber criminals don’t want to draw attention to themselves as the main motivation for cyber crime now is money, not fame, he said. They are "clearly getting more devious," he said, but law enforcement co-operation across borders is also getting more efficient.
Telafici’s team of around 100 security experts in 16 countries builds McAfee’s security content. But they also educate and co-operate with law enforcement.
Avert Labs has also made it ten security threat predictions for 2007:
- The use of bots, computer programs that perform automated tasks, will increase. Botnetworks will also increase, but there will be a move away from internet relay chat (IRC) towards less obtrusive instant messaging and peer-to-peer communication.
- The number of rootkits on 32-bit platforms will increase, but protection and remediation capabilities will increase too. Rootkits are becoming a de facto standard.
- Vulnerabilities will continue to cause concern, fuelled by the underground market for them. Avert Labs thinks the number of vulnerabilities will grow because of the increased use of fuzzers -automated tools and technologies that allow for large-scale testing of applications - and “bounty programs” that reward researchers for finding vulnerabilities.
- Identity theft and data loss will continue to be issues - computer theft, loss of backups and compromised information systems are at the result of these crimes.
- The number of password-stealing websites will increase, using fake sign-in pages for popular online services such as eBay.
- The volume of spam, particularly bandwidth-eating image spam, will continue to increase.
- The popularity of video-sharing on the Web makes it inevitable that hackers will target MPEG files as a way of distributing malicious code.
- Mobile-phone attacks will become more prevalent as mobile devices become "smarter" and more connected.
- Adware will go mainstream, following the increase in commercial Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs).
- Parasitic malware that modifies existing files on a disk will make a comeback.