Cyber Security: 2012 Threat Predictions

Year end cyber security threat reports by McAfee and Cisco provide some useful warnings and recommendations for 2012.



McAfee lists the top 10 threats as:

  1. Industrial threats will mature and segment
  2. Embedded hardware attacks will widen and deepen
  3.  Hacktivism and Anonymous will reboot and evolve
  4.  Virtual currency systems will experience broader and more frequent attacks
  5.  This will be the “Year for (not “of”) Cyberwar”
  6.  DNSSEC will drive new network threat vectors
  7.  Traditional spam will go “legit,” while spearphishing will evolve into the targeted messaging attack
  8.  Mobile botnets and rootkits will mature and converge
  9.  Rogue certificates and rogue certificate authorities will undermine users’ confidence
  10.  Advances in operating systems and security will drive next-generation botnets and rootkits.


Cisco also warns about the threat of “hackativism” – a blending of hacking and activism as seen with groups such as Anonymous.  Cisco provides a useful checklist of action items for 2012 for enterprise security.  The top 10 list includes:

  • Determine what data must be protected. “You cannot build an effective DLP program if you don’t know what information in the enterprise must be secured. You also must determine who in the enterprise is allowed to have access to that information, and how they are allowed to access it.”
  • Know where your data is and understand how (and if) it is being secured. “Identify every third party that has permission to store your company’s data— from cloud providers to email marketers—and confirm that your information is being secured appropriately. Compliance requirements, and now the trend in cybercrime toward ‘hack one to hack them all,’ means enterprises must never assume their data is secure, even when they put it in the hands of those they trust.”
  • Use egress monitoring. “This is a basic thing, but not enough enterprises do it—although compliance demands have more organizations adopting this practice. Egress monitoring is a change in focus from just blocking ‘the bad’ from coming in. You monitor what is being sent out of your organization and by whom and to where—and block things from leaving that shouldn’t be.”
  • Create an incident response plan. “IT-related risk should be treated like any other business risk. This means enterprises need to have a clear plan in place to respond quickly and appropriately to any type of security event, whether it’s a data breach resulting from a targeted attack, a compliance violation due to an employee’s carelessness, or an incident of hacktivism.”
  • Implement security measures to help  compensate for lack of control over social networks. “Do not underestimate the power of technology controls, such as an intrusion prevention system for protecting against network threats. Reputation filtering is also an essential tool for detecting suspicious activity and content.”



3 thoughts on “Cyber Security: 2012 Threat Predictions

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