Top 5 Threats to Cyber Security in 2011

December 29, 2010

Did you get an iPad for Christmas this year? The device seemed to be on everyone's wish list -- including cybercriminals. Security technology firm McAfee wanrs that the iPad, and a host of other popular technologies, are under the greatest threat from cyber attacks in 2011.

Did you get an iPad or smartphone for Christmas this year? The devices seemed to be on everyone's wish list -- including cybercriminals.

Security technology firm McAfee Inc. warns that the iPad, and a host of other popular technologies, are under the greatest threat from cyber attacks in 2011.

"We've seen significant advancements in device and social network adoption, placing a bulls-eye on the platforms and services users are embracing the most," Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said in a statement. "These platforms and services have become very popular in a short amount of time, and we're already seeing a significant increase in vulnerabilities, attacks and data loss."

McAfee Labs researchers list these technologies as having the greatest likelihood of experiencing cyber attacks in the new year:

URL-Shortening Services. Frequent users of social-media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are familiar with URL-shortening websites such as Bit.ly and Tinyurl.com. But using abbreviated URLs makes it easy for cybercriminals to mask and direct users to malicious websites, McAfee Labs says.

Geolocation Services. With services such as foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places, cybercriminals can see in real time where you are, what you’re talking about, who you’re with and what operating systems and applications they are using, McAfee Labs says. That information can be exploited by cyber criminals posing as friends or acquaintances -- let alone thieves who want to do physical harm.

Smartphones. Take widespread adoption of mobile devices by healthcare businesses, including sensitive proprietary data and patient information, and combine with historically fragile cellular infrastructure and you have a recipe for a hack attack, McAfee Labs says.

Apple Software and Devices. PC users have long envied the Mac OS platform for its relatively unscathed track record of warding off malicious attackers. But McAfee Labs warns that the soaring popularity of iPads and iPhones, particularly when used in business environments, will prove too tempting for thieves, hackers and other cyber crininals.

Privacy Leaks via Your TV. Internet TV makers were quick to rush their highly anticipated products to market in 2010, without too much concern about security. McAfee Labs says it expects to see more suspicious and malicious apps designed to attack the most widely used media platforms, such as Google TV in order to access sensitive personal and financial information.

To learn more about these potential threats, and others predicted by McAfee Labs, click here.