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Mobile malware and geo-location security issues predicted for 2012

According to the predictions list mobile malware will increase still further. Citing the fact that in 2010 there were around 2,500 mobile malware samples, and this year that figure had risen to 7,500, M86 Security says that the malware strain is still very much in its infancy cybercriminals will continue to target these devices as 2012 progresses.

Android, note the vendor’s analysis, is the most targeted mobile platform owing to its open development environment.

Next on the threats list is the geo-location issue, which M86 says will impact users of online services like Facebook and Twitter, with the addition of geo-location data posing a potential problem for child safety.

This is because, says the firm, predators nay be able to access personal pictures on mobile devices that are stamped with GPS co-ordinates.

Also predicted as a threat for 2012 is the issue of Zeus mutations, which M86 says will arrive en-masse following the release of ZitMo (Zeus in the Mobile) in September of this year. Antivirus vendors, says the vendor, will have to pay more attention to Zeus mutations in 2012.

On a related note, M86 also predicts that targeted attacks will continue next year with higher levels of complexity and exploiting stolen digital certificates, using zero day attacks and multi-stage attacks.

The security vendor’s research team says it expects to see more advanced persistent threats and more attacks launched against large commercial organisations.

On the web front, meanwhile, M86 says that 2012 will see exploit kits becoming more sophisticated as cybercriminal coders refine them. Some of these toolkits now use dynamic obfuscation - whereby malicious websites serve a slightly modified variant of malicious code every time a user accesses that site. This obfuscation, adds the firm, often allows them to bypass security scanners.

Also on the threats horizon is the expectation that cloud service providers will become attack targets, owing to the fact that their data is concentrated and the systems are standardised.

A successful breach, says the firm, could yield a lot of valuable data for a cybercriminal. For this reason the M86 Security Labs team predicts more high profile attacks on cloud service providers in 2012.

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