Malware and cyber crime increasing and evolving, says new report

Madeleine Swain
11 December, 2013
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Sophos is a security company with offices all over the globe, producing various cyber security solutions for everything from Wi-Fi to mobile protection. This week, it released its latest report into the state of cyber security and it reflects the rapidly changing world we live in.

“While many security experts are aware of the high level trends, few have recognised their significance,” global head of security research at Sophos, James Lyne said.

“If 2013 has taught us anything, it is that traditional security controls are struggling. These new behaviours are forcing the industry to adapt and change, and widely held best practices must be reconsidered.”

The Sophos report covers such threats as stealthy malware tools, which offer dynamic camouflage and give cyber attackers long-term, persistent access to users’ data. It also explains how the proliferation of connected devices, such as smartphones and tablets, has led to new and often under-protected targets.

“Many new ‘internet of things’ devices are becoming commonplace in our homes and everyday infrastructure, offering shadier cyber criminals the potential to impact our daily lives, rather than just the traditional theft of financial information,” Sophos said.

The company predicts that next year will see even more problems with phishing, as cyber criminals develop ways to infiltrate harder to penetrate operating systems like Windows 8.1. At the same time, embedded devices such as point of sale systems, medical systems and new ‘smart’ infrastructure will fall prey to attack.

Sophos also suggests that, on top of all this, we will probably encounter brand new threats.

In an alarming prediction, Sophos’ chief technology officer, Gerhard Eschelbeck, warns that it won’t be just the traditional targets of cyber criminals who should be on their guard.

“It is clear in 2014 we need to be watching not just the evolution of existing attacks, but be prepared for dangerous new threats emerging that we haven’t previously dealt with,” says Eschelbeck. “As the industry adapts and enhances protection mechanisms to cover new devices and threats, this is increasingly becoming an issue for every member of society, not just for government and business.”

You can download a full copy of Sophos’ Threat Report 2014: Smarter, Shadier, Stealthier Malware here.

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