Application security

MessageLabs: Expect increase in VoIP, social networking attacks in 2007

Voice over IP (VoIP) hacking attacks will surge next year as more businesses implement the technology, according to one message security vendor.

Cybercriminals will exploit vulnerabilities in the application and launch attacks, according to Paul Wood, senior analyst at MessageLabs.

He said malicious users could use a telephone call that causes the application to crash, infects the computer and gives the attacker control over the PC.

"We can probably expect to see early forms of VoIP attacks in the new year," said Wood. "With the increasing adoption of Google Talk, Skype and other internet telephony applications, the system will become a rich target for spammers and malware writers. Similarly, as instant messenger (IM) becomes more prevalent, it creates a fertile environment in which criminals can operate."

MessageLabs annual intelligence report, released this week, predicts that IM attacks will become more aggressive in 2007. Social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, will become increasingly attractive targets for hackers due to the accessible information that is posted, according to the report.

"2006 was the year that spammers took the security industry by storm and showcased their new tactics and techniques for mass disruption," said Mark Sunner, MessageLabs CTO. "Spam has categorically shed its title of being a nuisance and is a perilous threat, which all companies need to be protected against. Next year will certainly bring more targeted and sophisticated attacks as the bad guys continue to sharpen their tools."

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