Researchers at McAfee Avert Labs predicted this week that the top security threats in 2007 will revolve around increased production of malware by organized criminals for monetary gain.
In a teleconference today, McAfee executives said cybercriminals will increasingly enlist sophisticated techniques such as rootkits, polymorphism, parasitic infectors and automated systems with cycling encryption to release new, for-profit builds.
"Within a short period of time, computers have become an intrinsic and essential part of everyday life, and as a result there is a huge potential for monetary gains by malware writers," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs and product development. "As we see sophisticated techniques on the rise, it's becoming increasingly hard for the general user base to identify or avoid malware infections."
The Avert Labs teams predictions for next year included the increased prevalence of password-stealing websites, an uptick in image spam, data loss and theft at the corporate level and the continued concern about vulnerabilities in widely-used software.
Particularly disconcerting to McAfee's security team is the rising trend of zero-day vulnerabilities appearing a day or two after Patch Tuesday to maximize the window of opportunity before Microsoft can address the issue.
McAfee also predicted that bots will continue to be in the hacker bag of tricks, along with rootkits and parasitic malware.
As more consumers go online for entertainment, adware will "go mainstream" with an increase in commercial Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs), according to Avert Labs.
The company also said that the popularity of video sharing on the web will make MPEG files a prime target for hackers to deliver malicious code.
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