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01 PORT PIRATES

"If 2007 was the year of encrypting laptops, 2008 will be the year of encrypting USB flash drives," according to Jay Cline at Minnesota Privacy Consultants. "These easily concealed devices are the preferred method for purloining data from corporate machines to non-corporate environments, and with their increases in speed and capacity, they will supplant laptops as the leading cause of security breaches."

With USB keys in almost every employee's pocket and reports of laptops going missing, and data being downloaded from company PCs via USB or iPod already abounding, Check Point's McKinnel tipped information leakage as the biggest security threat to businesses during 2008.

SOLUTION

Resellers must weigh up their customers' security versus usability needs. "A lot of government departments haven't moved towards laptops, and their machines don't have USB drives," McKinnel said. "This could be inconvenient in some businesses. So 50 per cent of the solution is the physical thing itself; the other part of it is port control."

McKinnel suggested the channel also look to solutions that encrypt all traffic. This means that even if data is downloaded via USB and launched elsewhere, it cannot be read without re-entering a username and password. Check Point has three relevant Pointsec solutions - a laptop encryption device or software, port control software, and USB encryption software.

0 THE THREAT WITHIN

While there's plenty of technology coming through to tackle security from a technical perspective, Gartner's Walls pointed out organisations needed to keep an eye on their people first and foremost. He claimed insiders are the most common source of security breaches. "It's easier to take advantage of people than technology," Walls said. "And it costs a lot of money to do [law] enforcement activities."


MUTANT MALWARE

In 2006 and 2007, Trend Micro saw malware spread by malicious websites where each victim got a unique version of a trojan. Some websites hosting ZLOB fake codecs, for instance, install a trojan with a different identifier for each victim. Cyber criminals can keep the mutation algorithm of the trojans wholly on the server hosting the malicious files. In contrast to polymorphic viruses, the mutation algorithms do not need to be distributed along with the malware. This allows, the mutation algorithm to remain confidential and makes it tricky to write pattern files that cover all malware spread by the malicious website. Trend Micro threat researchers expect polymorphism of malware on the server side will develop further in 2008.


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