Mobile malware and targeted attacks are among the biggest problems facing end users and administrators in the coming year, according to the latest Threat Predictions report from M86 Security.
The company said that attacks on social networking services will combine with targeted operations and mobile threats to represent the top security risks in the next 12 months.
The success of high-profile targeted attacks such as Stuxnet and the Anonymous-backed AntiSec operations have shown just how effective a targeted attack can be, the report said.
M86 also predicted that social networking services will continue to be fertile ground for malicious activity.
Bradley Anstis, vice president of technical strategy at M86, told V3 that people's familiarity with friends and contacts on social networking sites dramatically increases the success rate of malicious activity such as click-jacking and photo-tagging operations.
"The biggest problem is that the average user's suspicion level is far lower [on a social site] than when they are just browsing on the internet," he said.
"If someone is addicted to Facebook they spend a lot of time updating and following friends' links. They start doing it automatically."
The rise of botnet clients and banking Trojans, meanwhile, means that malware writers will step up efforts to attack mobile phones.
Other dangers predicted by M86 include a rise in the use of exploit kits, attacks surrounding the London Olympics, higher levels of malicious spam and the targeting of third-party software for malware infection.
Anstis warned that Java is a particularly worrisome component for enterprises owing to the need for extensive testing of patches prior to deployment.
"When you are updating Java Virtual Machines all the time you can break existing software, whereas if you update Adobe Flash it's pretty much impossible to break the existing environment. So your window of vulnerability is a lot larger with Java," he said.
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A survey of local authorities has found that they face challenges in the areas of data, compliance and mobility.
More than 800,000 home users could be affected