The distributed denial-of-service attacks carried out by WikiLeaks supporters and opponents which dominated the news over much of December are just the tip of the iceberg, according to McAfee's 2011 Threat Predictions report.
The security firm warned that similar attacks undertaken by hacktivist groups or individuals will proliferate this year as more citizens seek to make extreme political statements online.
Campaigners could be given more focus and strategic direction by using social networks to help spread their message, said McAfee.
Firms need to realise that the scope of internet-based threats today has spread beyond traditional cyber crime, McAfee's European director of security strategy, Greg Day, told V3.co.uk.
“In 2010, the WikiLeaks incident highlighted that just by having a view on an issue, businesses can unwittingly be drawn into the centre of an open public debate," he added.
"Enterprises need to become increasingly aware of how these comments can be accessed in the open forum of cyberspace, and the subsequent implications this can have for an organisation."
The security firm also warned that some of 2010's most talked about platforms could become the next big target for cyber criminals.
Key among these is the potential for hackers to use geo-location services such as Foursquare and Gowalla to harvest user data and craft targeted attacks via social networks.
McAfee said that hackers will continue to use URL shortening services on platforms such as Twitter to direct users to malicious web sites, while the proliferation of smartphones in the enterprise, and the slow uptake of encryption technology, will encourage cyber criminals to target mobile platforms.
"We've seen significant advances in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most, " said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.
"These platforms and services have become very popular in a short time, and we are already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss."
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