Data -- even on platforms such as mobile phones -- will continue to be the primary motive for future cybercrime. That's one of the key findings in a survey released Wednesday by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC).
The report, called the GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2009, outlined the top five areas of security concern and risk for consumer and enterprise internet users for the coming year.
The GTISC said it expects threats to rise and evolve in the areas of malware, botnets, cyberwarfare, VoIP and movile devices. It also foresees the continued sophistication of the criminal underground economy, in which cybercrooks peddle malware-for-sale kits and other programs.
Risks are likely to target traditional computing environments and mobile applications, the report concludes. In fact, the researchers said they expect to see more mobile phone malware as a way for herders to expand their botnets, or networks of compromised computers.
A number of experts from across the IT security spectrum – from government to industry to academia – called, in the report, for closer coordination among the security industry, internet service providers (ISPs), application developers and government regulators to safeguard users and hinder the spread of sophisticated cybersecurity threats.
“The one big thing we all believe is that awareness is a big piece of the threats that we face," Mustaque Ahamad, director of GTISC, told SCMagazineUS.com on Wednesday. "We should be building systems that deal with these kinds of threats.”
Though some of the threats are not making a huge impact yet, there is enough evidence that some are already here and growing, he said. Others are potential problems, and professionals should be prepared for them, rather than just react to them.
Ahamad said the report was vendor neutral.
"We are driven from an academic research point of view – we try to take a long view of things, not necessarily to help develop a product coming in three months or so," he said.