Web 2.0 Technologies Make 2010 Security Outlook Bleak

Michael Vizard

As we look toward 2010, the one thing we can be sure of is that there will be a lot more collaboration between end users and different companies thanks to the mainstream adoption of a variety of Web 2.0 technologies. And with that increased adoption we'll also see not only more sophisticated types of malware attacks in 2010, but more comprehensive ones as well.

Bradley Anstis, vice president of technology strategy for M86 Security, a provider of security software that just acquired Finjan, notes that when it comes to security, IT organizations would do just as well to pay as much attention to the data leaving the company as they do the packets coming in. That's because in the age of Web 2.0, more attacks have to do with pulling data out of the company than just trying to insert malware somewhere in the organization.

In particular, Anstis says IT organizations will need to pay attention to the following security issues in 2010:

  • More Sophisticated Botnets: The first generation of botnets relied on rudimentary IRC-based command and control protocols that were relatively easy to spot. The latest generation is making use of mainstream HTTP protocols and the custom protocols used by services such as Twitter, Google and Facebook.
  • Attacks Focused on Social Network APIs: Beyond targeting the transports, security attacks are now starting to zero in on the APIs that social networks have made available to end users to integrate applications and mashup various sets of data.
  • Exploiting Rich Media Applications: Technologies such as Adobe Flash make it possible to create enticing applications that can easily be loaded with malware.
  • Increased Web Site Infections: The only thing hackers always like more than enticing users to a fake site is to infect their systems by hiding malware in legitimate sites, which are now hosting malware at an alarming rate.
  • Increased Targeting of Cloud Computing Services: Whether it's just a software-as-a-service (SaaS) environment or a full cloud computing platform, large numbers of users will lead to larger number of attacks. The security of these platforms may be better than what any individual IT organization can do. But just crooks target banks that have better security than your home; hackers will go where the data is.

Other things that Anspis says IT organizations need to keep an eye out for are poisoned search engine results that lead users to sites that have been optimized around a keyword in order to insert malware; more 'scareware' tactics that convinces users to download fake security software; exploitation of international domain names to create fake web sites; and more sharing of links to infected sites via link shortening service such as www.tinyurl.com.

No matter how you cut it, 2010 is already shaping up to be a tough year for security. As such, Anstis, whose predictions can be found here, says the smartest thing any IT organization can do is a full review of their security policies to find out not only where money is being spent needlessly, but also to reduce complexity because just like Web 2.0 integration, complexity is the enemy of security.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 8, 2009 4:12 PM Adam Bullock Adam Bullock  says:
Interesting post, Mike. Bradley Anspis is right on the money; a full review of security policies is entirely necessary. Reply

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