File-sharing - the big cyberthreat in 2010?

The internet threat management vendor said the coming year will see a shift in the types of cyberattacks on users from cyberattacks via websites and applications towards cyberattacks originating from file-sharing networks.

Kaspersky has already seen a series of mass malware epidemics ‘supported’ by malicious files spread via torrent portals. This method has been used to spread cyberthreats such as TDSS and Virut as well as the first backdoor for Mac OS X. In 2010, Kaspersky Lab expects to see a significant increase in these types of incidents on P2P networks, it said.

“Malware will become much more sophisticated in 2010 and many anti-virus programmes will be slow to treat infected computers due to advanced file infection methods and rootkit technologies”, said Alex Gostev, director of Kaspersky Lab’s Global Research & Analysis Team.

“IT security companies will respond by developing even more complex protection tools. However, the malicious programmes capable of bypassing these measures will remain more or less immune to anti-virus programmes for some time.”

Grey botnet market

Modern cybercriminals are trying to legalise their activities to earn money by using the large amounts of web traffic that can be generated by botnets. At the moment, it is mostly black-market services that compete to make use of botnet traffic, but Kaspersky said it expects a more ‘grey’ area to emerge in the botnet services market.

“So-called ‘partner programmes’ enable botnet owners to make a profit from activities such as sending spam, performing DoS attacks or distributing malware without committing an explicit crime”, Kaspersky explained.

Fake anti-virus to decline

The surge of fake anti-virus programmes seen in 2009 is likely to decline in 2010, just like the gaming trojan threats declined in 2009.

According to Kaspersky, the fake anti-virus market has now been saturated and the profits for cybercriminals have fallen. Moreover, this kind of activity is closely monitored by both IT security companies and law enforcement agencies making it increasingly difficult to create and distribute fake anti-virus.

Google Wave to hit headlines

When it comes to attacks on web services, Google Wave looks like it will be making all the headlines in 2010, Kaspersky predicted.

Attacks on the new Google service will probably follow the usual pattern of starting with spam, then followed by phishing attacks, before the exploiting of vulnerabilities and the spreading of malware.

Smartphone threats

2010 also promises to be a difficult time for iPhone and Android, Kaspersky predicted.

The only iPhone users at risk are those with compromised devices, but the same is not true for Android users who are all vulnerable to attack. The increasing popularity of smartphones running the Android OS in China combined with a lack of effective checks to ensure third-party software applications are secure will lead to a number of high profile malware outbreaks, Kaspersky warned.

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