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Phishing top threat next year, says security expert

Tash Shifrin

Malware is increasingly being released by organised criminals, with phishing a key threat next year, security technology firm McAfee has warned.

McAfee issued a list of the 10 biggest security threats for 2007, predicting an increase in phishing – stealing passwords by luring users through fake pages from popular websites such as eBay.

Jeff Green, senior vice-president of McAfee Avert Labs and product development, said, “Within a short period of time, computers have become an intrinsic and essential part of everyday life, and as a result there is a huge potential for monetary gains by malware writers.”

Other key threats – which McAfee did not rate in order of magnitude – are an increase in spam, particularly bandwidth-eating image spam, and adware, which the security firm expects to “go mainstream following the increase in commercial potentially unwanted programs”.

Increasingly popular technologies and websites are also set to be targeted, with McAfee predicting that hackers will increasingly target MPEG video files to tap the popularity of video sharing, while mobile phone attacks will also become “more prevalent” as mobile technology develops.

Identity theft and data loss will “continue to be a public issue”, McAfee warned, while the underground market in software vulnerabilities will continue to make security flaws a threat.

McAfee warned that parasitic malware would “make a comeback” while hackers would make increasing use of bots. A rise in the number of root kits on 32-bit platforms is also predicted.


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