Cybercriminals Shifting Focus

By Laura Spadanuta

Cybercriminals may be shifting their focus from Windows-based PCs to non-Windows platforms and mobile devices, according to a new report from Cisco.  The Cisco 2010 Annual Security Report takes a look at the year in cybercrime and computer security.

The major finding was that the years of cybercriminal exploitation of PC operating systems has lead vendors and companies to shore up their systems with security, as well as spurring companies such as Microsoft to become more aggressive in patching any vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals are thus being forced to turn elsewhere to make money.

Cisco refers to this as a "tipping point" that cybercriminals have reached in Windows systems. Consequently, attacks are rising on other devices such as Apple platforms like iPhones and iPads, as well as on other smart phones. Cisco also attributes the trend to increased public acceptance and use of such devices.

Among other notable findings in the report was the fact that 2010 marked the first year that spam had declined in the history of the Internet. However, spam still remains a problem and actually increased in certain developed economies (such as France and the United Kingdom) where broadband Internet is improving.

Cisco also reports an increase in money muling, which is the recruitment of people to set up bank accounts for scammers to use for money laundering.

The report also highlights "seven deadly weaknesses" that cybercriminals exploit. The weaknesses are sex appeal, greed, vanity, trust, sloth, compassion, and urgency.

♦ Photo by Yagan Kiely/Flickr


Wanted: More Security Solutions for Smartphones

It is worrysome that cybercriminals are starting to focus on smartphones and non-PC platforms.  This is especially true becuase smartphone sales are on the rise like never before.  Mobile broadband subscriptions are predicted to hit 1 billion this year!  Now that criminals are shifting their focus it is time for innovative security solutions to address these issues.



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