Did it seem like you were hit by less spam over the past year? You weren't imagining it; you likely did get less spam in your inbox in 2011. According to Cisco Security's 2011 Annual Security Report, one reason is because companies are doing more to fight spam. They are working with law enforcement agencies and security agencies, and they are making headway against the bad guys. But, Cisco also pointed out, an increasing number of cyber criminals are dropping spam attacks in favor of targeted attacks and cyber crime itself is becoming more organized into crime rings. ZDNet reported:
Cisco reports that cyber crime has evolved to a much more sophisticated level with organized crime rings focused on bigger scams. For example, a cyber criminal might be more likely to use a phishing scam now to literally fish around for the easiest way into a wealthier account.
However, just because spam numbers have gone down doesn't mean it has gone away. There are still spammers and criminals using mass mailings, especially using current events to get our attention. Remember after the earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan last spring? It didn't take long for the bad guys to swoop in to play on the empathy and kindness of world citizens, using fake charities in order to steal personal and financial information. The spammers were back in force after Osama bin Laden was killed, and you can count on them being back again at the next major disaster or world event.
The Cisco report also discusses the changes in how the work force used mobile devices and cloud computing over the past year and what that could mean for the future of security in these areas. When it comes to mobile devices and the cloud, Cisco states what is fairly obvious: The more you work outside the traditional environment, the more the risk of data loss or a security breach increases. In response, the report pointed out that more companies are renewing their efforts in data loss protection.
If we can base 2012 on what Cisco learned in 2011, we will have a pretty good idea of what is to come and how to prepare for it. Of course, when it comes to security, you have to be one step ahead.