Social Networking Sites like Twitter,Facebook to Become Major Targets:According to McAfee's prediction,the hubs for those snippets of communication -- Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites -- will become major targets for cyber criminals.
Its a proven fact that today's consumers are more wary of Web links sent by strangers. They tend to trust Web links and e-mail messages sent by friends and family.
But online attackers are learning how to exploit that trust, by delivering malware that appears to come from Facebook friends, Twitter followers and friends' e-mail accounts.
Facebook which has about 350 millions is the most likely social networking site to be targetted.Though Twitter has a smaller population, because of the site's trust relationships, it too will be targeted.
URL Shorteners, Banking Sites Increasingly Exploited by Online Crooks
McAfee also warns that URL shorteners, like those used to accommodate Twitter's140 character limit, make the cyber criminal's task even easier.
Unlike many typical Web addresses that show Internet users the name of the site they're about visit, shorter URLs tend to display a string of letters and numbers that seem to have no rhyme or reason. For example, instead of showing a user "http://bankofamerica.com"or "http:/bbcnews.com," abbreviated URLs might
display only "http://bit.ly/XpEwA" or "http://bit.ly/15OAyP."
As another Internet security firm Symantec said in its recent report on 2010 threats, URL shortening services will "become the phisher's best friend."
"Because users often have no idea where a shortened URL is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on," the company said.
Google's New Chrome OS Could Face Security Challenges
Even though banks have upped online security with extra features to authenticate users, cyber thieves have become smarter. Some criminals have already learned how to bypass the banks' second layer of protection.
McAfee noted one new technique that involves interrupting a legitimate transaction to make an unauthorized withdrawal, while simultaneously checking the user's transaction limits to fly below the radar and avoid alerting the bank.
McAfee said another target for online crooks this year will likely be Google's new operating system, Chrome. The tech giant, which has already released a Chrome browser, is expected to release an entire open source operating system this year to rival Microsoft Windows, Linux and others.
As the "new kid on the block," McAfee predicts attackers will attempt to break the code and prey on consumers.
While Microsoft has a lot of experience with operating system security and regularly sends out patches, it will be a brand new world for Google.
Adobe to Be Number One Target for Cyber Criminals
But the No. 1 target for cyber criminals in 2010? McAfee expects it to be Adobe products, especially Flash and Acrobat reader.
Symantec also warned that malware for Mac and mobile devices will increase. As Macs and smart phones (such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android phones) increase in popularity, attackers will spend more time figuring out how to exploit them.
But not all predictions for 2010 are negative.As law enforcement recognizes the severity of the damage cyber criminals inflict, they are stepping up efforts to combat them. International cyber law enforcement had a number of successes in tracking, identifying and arresting cyber criminals in 2009, and McAfee expects that trend to continue in 2010.
And, ultimately, the motive behind talking about the possible cyber attacks in 2010 is to keep the consumers educated about security trends and make sure they use safe browsing technology and anti-virus software.