Cyber criminals are set to change their ways of working, according to security company Kaspersky Lab. . Secure content management solutions developer Kaspersky Lab has outlined the threats it expects to see in 2010 as a result of cyber criminal activity.

Kaspersky Lab was expecting a rise in the number of global epidemics in 2009 but this year was marked by sophisticated malicious programs with rootkit functionality. Corporates and individuals struggled with the Kido worm (Conficker), web attacks and botnets. An increase in the cases of SMS fraud and attacks on social networks was also experienced.

Cyber criminals have changed their strategy and in 2010 they will no longer attack via websites and applications. They are now more focused on attacking computers through file sharing networks.

This concept is not entirely new according to Kaspersky Lab, which points out that this year saw a series of mass malware epidemics supported by malicious files that were spread via torrent portals. This 'approach' helped cyber criminals spread threats such as TDSS and Virut. There will be a significant increase in these types of incidents on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks next year.

Being a criminal doesn't mean there will be no competition similar to the real business world. Kaspersky Lab said next year, cyber criminals will continue competing for traffic and they are trying to make their businesses legal. Apparently, they want to legalise the way they earn money online using the huge amount of traffic that can be generated by botnets.

Partner programs will be popular in the future as botnet owners will try to make profits from activities such as sending spam, performing denial-of-service (DoS) attacks or distributing malware without committing an explicit crime.

Google Wave has reasons to be worried next year as it will be a target for cyber attacks. Both iPhone and Android should be careful because the first malicious programs for these mobile platforms already appeared in 2009.

Kaspersky Lab noted that the major cause of epidemics will be the detection of new vulnerabilities in both software developed by third parties and in Windows 7, the newly launched operating system. Next year will be one of the quietest years for some time if no serious vulnerabilities are detected.