Malware may be down, but the Internet remains dangerous: Websense

Security vendor also expects the Cloud to be a target for cyber criminals next year

Websense saw a decrease in particular kinds of malware in 2013, but A/NZ country manager, Gerry Tucker, warns that this does not mean “cyberspace is becoming safer.”

For one, Tucker points out that more complex and targeted cyber attacks are being carried out instead, particularlty as cyber criminals move away from high volume malware.

“This type of malware can become more easily detectable over time,” he said.

Instead, more direct attacks that are highly sophisticated are being employed by cyber criminals.

“These APTs [advance persistent threats] are increasingly stealthy in nature and once a foothold is secured, they will steal user credentials and move unilaterally throughout infiltrated networks,” he said.

“Not only are APTs harder to detect, they are also much more destructive to organisations that fall victim to these attacks.”

The weakest link

Tucker’s outlook for 2014 is a cautious one when it comes to the Cloud and all of the data going into it, which he said is making it a “more attractive target for cyber criminals.”

“They will find penetrating the data-rich Cloud can be easier and more profitable than getting past the ‘castle walls’ of on-premise enterprise networks,” he said.

Thus, third party Cloud providers are highlighted as potential targets for cyber attacks in 2014.

“Contractors, vendors, and other third-party members of the ‘data exchange chain’ will be seen as easy pickings,” Tucker said.

Reconnaissance conducted on professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, to gather intelligence on potential victims is also expected to be on the security radar next year.

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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