Cloud-based data stores and mobile platforms are most at risk next year, with end user education becoming increasingly important to guard against social engineering attacks, according to the latest predictions from security firm Webroot.
In a blog post, the firm’s chief technology officer Gerhard Eschelbeck said that smartphones in particular represent the "newest front in the war on cyber crime ", given the vast amount of data that can now be stored on such devices.
Malware writers will increasingly take note of mobile platforms given their growing market penetration, forcing IT to change its attitude and ensure that even employee-owned consumer devices are secured if used in the corporate sphere.
“Users have embraced the advantages of mobile platforms, and even though IT admins may officially consider some or all of them ‘unsupported’ in some organisations, you can’t abandon users who will choose convenience over strict IT policy,” he added.
“IT admins should embrace these new platforms, and take steps to protect users who insist upon having them, even though doing so may make their work harder.”
Eschelbeck added that the quality of many social engineering-based attacks means that end user education needs to be stepped up in the coming year to ensure that hackers do not find a way into corporate systems by tricking employees into opening a malicious attachment or following a dubious link.
“Every user, from the newest administrative assistant to the C-level executives, needs training in identifying and avoiding fraudulent email and other messages, harmful file attachments and internet behavior that can lead to trouble,” he wrote.
Finally, organisations will increasingly look to cloud-based services in 2011 to ease administration headaches and improve performance, said Eschelbeck.
However, he warned that an unwanted side effect of this would be that cyber criminals will develop “a taste for the vast volumes of sensitive data stored in the cloud”.
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