Mobile devices, cloud computing top security threats

Mobile devices, cloud computing top security threats

Multiple reports from security companies all point in the same direction: the cloud and mobile devices, despite the undeniable opportunities they bring, pose the greatest threats for businesses, as far as technology is concerned.

According to security company AVG, identity theft is still on the rise and mobile devices are another way cybercriminals have found to target users. Cloud computing is also a threat as, according to AVG, “many organisations are relying more on web-based technologies, but aren’t investing in stronger IT defences”.

“If general carelessness continues to reign unabated, we are in for another bumpy ride,” says Lloyd Borrett, a security analyst for AVG AU/NZ.

The company's 2011 edition of the top-five security threats list, includes mobile devices at the top, closely followed by small businesses.

“While a growing number of cybercriminals are specifically targeting small businesses, 85 percent of small businesses refuse to see the danger at all,” according to an AVG report. The report further states that small business owners often do not have proper security policies in place, as they feel they are "less of a cybercrime target than large companies".

Social searches, applications and the cloud complete the list of top threats, leading the company to urge users to “get smart about internet security”.

The enterprise, not the consumer, seems to be the primary target for cyber criminals across the globe so far this year. Additionally, criminals are shifting their focus from desktop computers to mobile devices. RSA and Cisco have both released reports on what cybercrime trends to watch out for this year.

The RSA Anti-Fraud Command Centre also points to mobile devices as one of the biggest threats to watch out for this year. The company has released its 2011 Cybercrime Trends Report and says that “cybercrime continues to show no signs of slowing down. “

Mobile malware tops the list of cybercrime trends compiled by the RSA for 2011, as mobile applications downloads continue to rise. The report points out the number of downloads will more than double in 2011 to 25 billion applications.

“But it is not just consumers and their banks that must consider the risks of mobile malware. The consumerisation of IT has laid the bridge for the crossover of consumer technology into the enterprise. Organisations are providing their employees with mobile devices, or employees are using their own personal devices to conduct work-related activities – potentially opening up a backdoor for malware to make its way onto the corporate network,” says the RSA.

Cisco’s 2010 Annual Security Report highlights the shift from Windows-based PCs to other operating systems and platforms, including mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

According to Cisco’s report, “scammers are finding it harder to exploit platforms that were once their bread and butter – in particular, the Windows platform – and are looking elsewhere to make money”.

“Third-party mobile applications in particular are emerging as a serious threat vector,” the report states.

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