McAfee has painted a gloomy security picture for 2012 in which enterprises and criminals shift to new platforms and tactics for securing and infiltrating networks.
The company's 2012 Threat Predictions Report said that attacks on industrial systems and embedded hardware will continue as utility companies increasingly use network-connected systems to control infrastructure.
Dave Marcus, head of research and communications at McAfee Labs, told V3 that the danger of attack on industrial systems could be compounded as hacktivist groups such as Anonymous shift to political protests.
"The embedded attacks have been talked about for a while, but it was only in 2011 that it started taking off. There is a lot more discussion going on than ever before," he said.
McAfee also predicts an increase in the use of phoney or compromised digital certificates, such as the Diginotar breach, to spread malware and launch targeted attacks.
"The targeting of certificate authorities is really damaging. You are really undermining the core trust of the operating system when you abuse the certificate authorities," said Marcus.
McAfee believes that commercial spam from mailing lists will become more prevalent as companies advertise via email, but that malware and phishing attacks will decline.
Many of the major trends from 2011 are expected to carry on into next year, including the rise in mobile malware and the migration of servers to the DNSSec security standard.