This year could see a reshaping of how enterprises view security and targeted attacks, according to a new report from Kaspersky Lab.
The company has logged a surge in targeted attacks over the past quarter, and believes that these will evolve into a separate category to mass malware operations.
Kaspersky Lab senior malware analyst Roel Schouwenberg explained that the growth in targeted attacks will increasingly threaten mid-market and smaller firms, and force more companies to become familiar with the idea of advanced persistent threats (APTs).
"The fact that it has this three-letter acronym suggests it is only directed at very high-value targets, and I do not think that is the case," Schouwenberg told V3.co.uk.
"The average person sees 'APT' and they think it sounds like something from The X-Files."
Kaspersky Lab and other security firms have reported a rise in new malware samples, but Schouwenberg warned against putting too much emphasis on "sample inflation".
The analyst explained that many malware samples circulate using polymorphic coding techniques which produce a different piece of software each time an attack is carried out.
These techniques mean that security researchers could credit a single malware sample with spawning thousands of "unique" malware types with minor variations.
Schouwenberg believes that the security industry should instead focus on detecting and protecting against attack methods, and less on the exact count of unique malware samples in circulation.
The methods for infecting computer users are changing as well, and Kaspersky Lab reported that Java-based malware attacks increased towards the end of 2010, only to fade again in early 2011.
Schouwenberg warned that, although attack volumes may have fallen slightly in recent months, the Java platform remains particularly vulnerable, due in large part to its parent company.
"Oracle has not learned any of the security lessons," he said. "Even though Java is popular, it never really upped the ante when it comes to security."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago