A recent post on the Experian Data Breach Resolution blog identified five of the top trends in security breach threats. They listed five classes of threats that appear to be the most troublesome:

  • Targeted attacks are attacks that usually focus on gaining access to sensitive information from a particular company. These are often perpetrated by sending email links and attachments that appear to be from legitimate sources.
  • Information compromise of social networks and social engineering sites is accomplished by posing as friends, thereby gaining access to personal information.
  • Zero-day rootkits and vulnerabilities are often called hide-and-seek attacks. Hackers insert their malware into a company’s system, attempting to hide them from detection until a security vulnerability is discovered.
  • The sophistication of mobile device operating systems make mobile threats a growing concern. Trojans and other malware are often secreted in seemingly legitimate phone apps, waiting to glean sensitive information.
  • Probably the most insidious threat, in my opinion, is the availability of kits that allow the creation of malware without any expertise. In 2011 alone, the creation of over 268 million variants was made possible through DIY malware kits. This statistic comes from Symantec, a leader in security technology.

I believe that these malware kits present a particular danger to computer users’ data. An expert hacker will normally try to not leave any trace of infiltration, leaving the door open to future attacks. However, a would-be attacker, with little or no expertise, might create an attack weapon that trashes the drive on the victim’s computer, damaging valuable data files.

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