M86 Security Labs Threat Predictions for 2011

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Five Places Where Malware Hides

Malware has to live somewhere. And while some Web filtering solutions can detect known malware hosts, most malware hides in sites that are otherwise benign.

Last year, security experts were predicting threats to Adobe, increases in malware and more exploits. The predictions were pretty spot on.


What do experts think 2011 will bring? M86 Security Labs today released its threat predictions for next year. The biggest concerns for 2011 probably aren't too surprising: smartphones and tablet security issues, the growing shift in exploit toolkits to malware-as-a-service and the ever-increasing sophistication Trojans. After all, these are problems that are rising as we continue through the 4th quarter of 2010.


However, one prediction did surprise me a bit: spam campaigns increasingly imitating legitimate mail from popular websites. The report stated:

While we have seen messages like these before, we've noticed that they now look more legitimate than in the past. Examples of this include spammers who targeted Amazon/Flixster/GoDaddy names and a FedEx campaign. In the case of LinkedIn spam messages, we observed that the headers and body templates were taken from actual LinkedIn messages. Therefore, it's nearly impossible for the average user to distinguish between the legitimate LinkedIn messages and the nefarious ones.
E-commerce sites like Amazon.com and logistic services companies like FedEx are used by millions of people worldwide who are accustomed to receiving receipts and shipping confirmations from them. Therefore, they are ideal targets for spammers who want to mimic these types of messages to trick users into downloading malware or clicking on a link that leads to a malicious payload.

These aren't new methods of attack; businesses have been spoofed in e-mail for years now. I guess cyber-criminals figure that if it continues to work, then why not continue to use it?