Mac users to face increasing threats, predicts PandaLabs

As Mac market share continues to grow, so will the number of threats, predicted Luis Corrons of PandaLabs.

“Of most concern is the number of security holes affecting the Apple operating system. Let’s hope they get ‘patching’ as soon as possible, as hackers are well aware of the possibilities that such vulnerabilities offer for propagating malware”, Corrons wrote in a Panda Security blog.

But the Apple operating system is not the only one in the sites of malware developers. Corrons predicted that there will be a gradual increase in attacks against Windows 7 in 2011, as cybercriminals improve their malware targeting of that operating system.

At the same time, Corrons predicted that the growth rate of new malware will slow in 2011. He noted that, despite the proliferation of malware, the rate of growth year-on-year has been decreasing. The rate of growth peaked at 100% a few years ago and was only 50% this year, a trend that is expected to continue next year.

The PandaLabs researcher expected the continued use by cybercriminals of social engineering on social media sites. “Cyber-criminals have found social media sites to be their perfect working environment, as users are even more trusting than with other types of tools, such as email”, he said.

Contrary to the predictions of some other information security analysts, Corrons does not expect cell phones to be the targets of massive malware attacks in 2011. “Most of the existing threats target devices with Symbian, an operating system which is now on the wane. Of the emerging systems, PandaLabs’ crystal ball tells us that the number of threats for Android will increase considerably throughout the year, becoming the number one target for cyber-crooks”, he predicted.

“It is true that in 2010 we have seen several major arrests that have hit hard in the world of cybercrime. Yet this is sadly insufficient when we consider the scale of what we are fighting against. Profits from this black market amount to thousands of millions of dollars, and many criminals operate with impunity thanks to the anonymity of the Internet and numerous legal loopholes. The economic climate has contributed to the seriousness of the situation: as unemployment grows in numerous countries, many people see this as a low risk opportunity to earn money, though this does not detract from the fact that it is a crime”, Corrons concluded.

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