The coming year will bring an increase in targeted attacks and state-sponsored hacking, according to researchers with Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky listed the increase among its top predictions for 2013, suggesting that critical infrastructure and sensitive data will be increasingly targeted by both-nation states and independent groups.
"We can expect the growth of cyber-espionage to continue into 2013 and beyond," the company said in its report.
"It is easy to read the headlines in the computer press and imagine that targeted attacks are a problem only for large organisations, particularly those that maintain ‘critical infrastructure’ systems within a country. However, any organisation can become a victim."
The company said that in many cases, critical infrastructure such as public utilities will be the target of attacks. Such attacks, said Kaspersky, could become a common form of combat between enemy nations alongside conventional warfare.
"Looking ahead we can expect more countries to develop cyber weapons – designed to steal information or sabotage systems – not least because the entry-level for developing such weapons is much lower than is the case with real-world weapons," the company said.
"It’s also possible that we may see ‘copy-cat’ attacks by non-nation-states, with an increased risk of ‘collateral damage’ beyond the intended victim of the attack."
Other 2013 predictions from the company include an increase in hacktivist activity such as denial of service attacks and data breach incidents.
Malware writers could also look to new platforms in 2013. Kaspersky Lab researchers predicted that malware targeting cloud services will become increasingly popular, while malware for mobile devices and OS X systems is also predicted to rise.
Android OS, with its huge market base and wide variety of online markets, is likely to be the most popular mobile target, according to the researchers.