McAfee Security Releases 2011 Threat Predictions Report

Dennis Faas's picture

Security company McAfee Labs recently released their 2011 Threat Predictions report, where they foresee cyber criminals turning their attention to three specific attack vectors in the coming year.

An attack vector is "a path or means by which a hacker (or cracker) can gain access to a computer or network server in order to deliver a payload or malicious outcome. Attack vectors enable hackers to exploit system vulnerabilities, including the human element." (Source:

Most specifically, Google TV, the Apple iPhone, and Foursquare: a location-based social networking website and software for mobile devices are three technologies which are increasingly popular right now. McAfee says they will be amongst the most-targeted systems for hackers in 2011.

Geo-Locators Make Identity Theft Easier

McAfee's findings are part of its 2011 Threat Predictions report, which generally notes that the hacking landscape has "changed considerably" over the past year. By this, McAfee means that amongst the most useful new targets for hackers are geo-location services like foursquare, which reveal to Facebook users where their friends are located.

For example, if a foursquare user visits a local restaurant, they can make that known to their friends and keep track of their attendance at said locations. The reason for targeting geo-locator tools like foursquare is fairly straightforward: they can be mined for personal information towards identity theft.

But undoubtedly the most troubling part of the report involves Apple, which for years has been neglected by hackers largely because of its niche share of the tech market. That's changing dramatically as more and more people use of the iPhone and the iPad tablet.

Cyber-Threats to Apple Users Expected to Increase

"Mac users must remember that less targeted is not the same as invulnerable," recently noted SophosLabs' manager, Richard Wang. (Source:

McAfee predicts that malware taking aim at Apple products will "continue to increase in sophistication" throughout the coming year. McAfee says that the combination of increased use of Apple products and the general ignorance of users in securing them could make for a troubling 2011.

In fact, McAfee notes that the presence of Apple botnets and Trojans could very well increase from a rare encounter to a common occurrence over the next twelve months. (Source:

Generally, the McAfee report makes clear that the abundant amount of information we place online could come back to haunt us in the coming year. It seems all users, particularly those using Mac computers, should be aware of the mounting threats found online.

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