Three SMB Predictions for 2011 from BitDefender

Paul Mah

With Thanksgiving literally round the corner, the end of 2010 also draws inexorably closer. Before the holiday mood sets in too deeply - I'm referring to the other staffers, of course - now is probably a good time to start planning and preparing your goals for 2011. So what are some areas that small and mid-sized businesses should take note of when it comes to security?

 

Security vendor BitDefender has some ideas, and Catalin Cosoi, who is the Head of the Online Threats Lab there, was kind enough to send along a short list of predictions of what 2011 will bring. Cosoi manages the research and development of new anti-spam, anti-phishing and other anti-malware technologies at BitDefender. Below are his three predictions, followed by my comments.

 

Prediction #1: More platform-independent threats will emerge, threatening Windows, Mac and Linux users equally. We've seen this starting with threats like the Mac Java worm from October.

 

Just this week, fellow blogger Sue Marquette Poremba wrote about the security vulnerabilities in older, insecure versions of Java. End users and businesses are not updating them for various reasons, leaving their workstations at risk. If Cosoi's prediction comes true, we can expect more such cross-platform problems to emerge next year. While there probably isn't much that individual SMBs can do to preemptively address this particular area, assigning staffers to closely monitor the security landscape might be a good idea. As a start, they can follow Sue's Data Security blog on IT Business Edge.

 

Prediction #2: Attackers will target social media networks to attack businesses, not just individuals.


 

I've been writing about social engineering, and how companies are falling to social engineering attempts. Leveraging relationships and access to personal data on social media networks will allow these tricksters to leverage privileged information to spin even more convincing yarns, or to more easily get clueless employees to visit malicious websites. Well, I hope that your company has plans to properly train employees, because it is a near certainty that hackers will leverage the availability of information on social media networks to attack businesses.

 

Prediction #3: Malware that targets mobile devices will become more common, threatening company data stored on them. Chinese consumers were hit with a virus that infected more than 1 million cell phones and cost users 2 million yuan ($300,000 U.S.) per day.

 

It is literally a foregone conclusion that mobile devices represent an extremely attractive target for malware as they become increasingly powerful.

 

I do have a few pieces of advice on how to protect your mobile devices:

 

  • Ensure security software and operating system updates are up to date.
  • Develop and enforce strong security policies for using mobile devices.
  • Encrypt the data on the devices.

 

 

Do you have any comments? I look forward to hearing from you here.



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