The number of potential vulnerabilities continues to skyrocket, with data thieves growing more sophisticated, more targeted, and more numerous. With that in mind, we picked seven of the most worrying trends; not to feed your nightmares, but to discuss their business impact and what you can do to protect against them.
1. The number of Android malware apps has reached 10 million.
This is according to a recent report from virus researchers at Kaspersky. This means that your average mobile phone likely has some nasty stuff already downloaded on it. Businesses need to protect their phones with a variety of mobile device managers. Check out a few of the top tools I reviewed last year for Network World.
2. Phishing is only going to get worse.
Have you gotten an email with “an invitation to connect on LinkedIn” in the subject line? Turns out that this is the most popular phishing line out there, according to Websense. Train your users to be more careful, and employ better screening tools in your email servers to block this stuff from ever coming into your networks to begin with.
3. Fake AV continues to spread.
A third nightmare goes under the name of FakeAV or ransomware. This is software that masquerades as a real anti-virus tool, but instead tricks you into downloading it and then holds your hard disk hostage until you pay up. Again, screening tools and proper user education is essential here.
4. Social networks can be very effective malware spreaders.
As the world becomes better connected, the bad guys are using social networks to quickly spread their infections. Look how many times this scam about a girl killing herself on Facebook has traveled around the world. This is even more harmful because getting a message from someone on your network engenders a certain level of trust. Keep in mind that next generation firewalls can block some of this activity.
5. Worry about your embedded systems.
How many point of sale terminals are sill running Windows XP? What about the print servers and other embedded systems that are connected to the Internet? Turns out these are the latest sources of infections that can spread across your network, as Target Corp. found out earlier this year. Norse Corp. has tracked these infected embedded systems and can be used to protect your network from sneak attacks.
6. Flash is still a security sink hole.
Given that the number of security vulnerabilities in Flash now exceeds 300, the multimedia and software platform continues to an uphill battle; even though Adobe is continuing to provide patches as new exploits are found. At the very least, this means you have to stay on top of the patches and keep all your users current – this is one piece of software that you need to download often.
7. Apathy is the real culprit these days.
We finish with perhaps the scariest of the seven data security trends that are potential risk for your business: People just don’t care much about network security; even in light of the well-publicized data security breach at Target as well as in many other recent examples you may have read about or seen on the news. Management and Information Technology Decision Makers (ITDMs) should consider investing money up front to protect the business to help prevent a potentially disastrous data security leak in the future.
Have we missed anything? We welcome your comments below.