Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Cyberworld Bad Guys are out there

January 7th, 2011 by Deb McLean

In today’s age of cyber-world, we must all be cognizant of protecting our personal information.  Recently read an interesting article in the Chicago Tribune about what the hot spots are going to be for cybercriminals in 2011.  I’m a big fan of social media, but we must all continue to be on the watch cause there are bad guys out there!   Keep a watchful eye.

Social media platforms, mobile devices and Apple products are going to be hot spots for cybercriminals in 2011, according to a report released this week.

In its annual McAfee Threat Predictions report, the California-based tech security company said location-based services such as Foursquare, as well as popular social media sites like Twitter and URL-shortening Web sites, will be targeted by online thieves and hackers.

With more online computing being done on smart phones, tablet computers and other portable gadgets, mobile devices will likely be eyed by cybercriminals as well, leading to an increased risk of personal and corporate data loss, McAfee said in the report.

And Apple products, once largely ignored by hackers and tech thieves, will see a rise in malware sophistication as their use in professional settings continues to increase, the report said.

“These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we’re already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, in a statement.

While social media have grown in popularity over the last few years, URL-shortening services will be at the forefront of cybercrime activity, the report said. The use of shortened Web addresses on sites such as Twitter leaves users vulnerable to cybercriminals who can easily mask and lead users to malicious Web sites, McAfee said.

More than 3,000 URLs are shortened per minute, the company said, and a growing number of those Web addresses are actually sites that can barrage users with spam, malware and other scams to get a user’s data.

Location-based Web sites and apps such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places will be exploited because they track and plot the whereabouts of a user and their “friends.”

“In just a few clicks, cybercriminals can see in real time who is Tweeting, where they are located, what they are saying, what their interests are, and what operating systems and applications they are using,” McAfee said. “This wealth of personal information on individuals enables cybercriminals to craft a targeted attack.”

— Tribune newspapers

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