Malware Disguised as Social Networking Tops Emerging Security Threats
What's the top threat to data security going to be in 2009? According to the
GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2009
out of Georgia Tech's Information
Security Center, the answer is malware specifically disguised as "benign
social networking links."
The report, released at the GTISC
Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats this week, identifies
the key data security threats that are likely to expand and evolve in the coming
year. It focuses on threats to both consumer and enterprise systems.
According to the second-annual report, the chief motivator for all of the top
emerging threats will be data. Last year's inaugural report cited financial
gain as the chief motivator, and "Web 2.0" was cited as the top emerging
threat category. But Web 2.0 doesn't even make the top-five list for 2009.
Instead, this year's list includes the following:
- Malware disguised as social networking links;
- Botnets, which GTISC said are growing faster even than viruses and spam;
- "Cyber warfare" (attacks on economy and infrastructure);
- VoIP and mobile convergence issues, including "voice fraud and cellular
- "The Evolving Cyber Crime Economy," which includes malware programs
and kits for sale.
"At GTISC, we strongly believe that a proactive approach to understanding
emerging threats will help us develop more effective information security technologies
and strategies," said Mustaque Ahamad, director of GTISC, in a statement
released Thursday. "The annual GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber
Security Threats and this report seek to give us a better understanding of the
increasingly sophisticated cyber security challenges we will face in the years
The 2009 report can be downloaded in PDF format here.
A Webcast covering he report, as well as additional information, can be found
Dave Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's educational technology online publications and electronic newsletters.