The Tech Herald

2010 Predictions: Trend Micro

by Steve Ragan - Dec 18 2009, 22:00

The Tech Herald has had an enormous amount of email and blog post links from vendors offering their 2010 predictions. As a result, I’ll be listing them one or two a day until the end of the year, adding my thoughts to the mix. To start things off, the observations below come thanks to Trend Micro.

The predictions below come from the recent Trend Micro Annual Threat Report. The report itself looks at the past to determine what to expect in the coming year.

The first prediction is that thanks to the boom in virtualization and cloud-based services, this shift in infrastructure will widen the scope of cybercrime. “With the growing popularity of cloud computing and virtualization among companies, we fully expect cybercriminals to find new methods by which to increase their profit margins,” said Elizabeth Bookman on the Trend Micro blog.

While I agree with this prediction, because there is no real maturity in cloud-based services, so the idea that they could be hit while they are still working out the kinks is a good one. I disagree with Trend Micro’s example that the Danger/Sidekick incident “…highlighted cloud computing risks that cybercriminals will likely attempt to abuse.”

If the Danger/Sidekick incident is to serve as an example of a vector of attack from criminals, it is because criminals will always take advantage of poor planning and lax operation controls. To be clear, the loss of data suffered by millions of Sidekick users was not an attack by any criminal. It was poor backup strategy and hardware failure. The Sidekick story wasn’t even a security issue, and said nothing about the state of security in the cloud as it were.

Another prediction from Trend Micro targets IPv6, and the future exploration from enterprise users as a means to replace the two-decade old IPv4 protocol. “As users start to explore IPv6, so too will cybercriminals and we can expect to see proof-of-concept elements in IPv6 start to materialize in the upcoming year,” Trend noted.

They also commented on regional TLDs (Top-Level Domains) that will introduce “Cyrillic characters in place of similar-looking Latin characters” as a means of attack.

There is a broad area to cover with both the IPv6 prediction and the TLD prediction. However, I’m of the opinion that Trend is making a valid point on each topic and take no real issue with either one. At the same time, the TLD problem is something that is known to the development teams behind each of the popular browsers, and this might end up being a non-issue.

The blog post noted that social media and networks will continue to be used as a method to exploit trust. These types of attacks have been seen countless times in 2009, so this is a prediction that is bound to remain true. One of the drawbacks to that “circle of trust” that people have on social media is that they are more likely to follow links or offer information if friend asks for it. This willingness to follow links is how the Koobface family of Malware was able to spread as fast as it did on Facebook.

Other observations and predictions include the impact Windows 7 will have “since it is less security than Vista in the default configuration.” They also noted that risk mitigation is not as viable as option anymore.

If that wasn’t bleak enough, I’ll leave you with their second to last prediction, “Bots can’t be stopped anymore and will be around forever.”

What do you think? Has Trend Micro hit the mark with their predictions? Comment and have your say. You can read the blog post here.

[This editorial is the opinion of Steve Ragan and not necessarily those of the staff on The Tech Herald or the Monsters and Critics (M&C) network. Comments can be left below or sent to security@thetechherald.com]

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