It's December and time to gear up for the new year. Why not get started by pondering 13 security threats that stand poised to mess up our lives in 2010? Datamation offers this nasty list as gleaned from Symantec's latest Security Trends report. Here's the ugly lowdown on what to watch out for as you go about your work.  

  1. HackerAntivirus is not enough: We have reached an inflection point, where new malicious programs are actually being created at a higher rate than good programs.
  2. Social engineering as the primary attack vector: More and more, attackers are going directly after the end user and attempting to trick them into downloading malware or divulging sensitive information under the auspice that they are doing something perfectly innocent.
  3. Rogue security software vendors escalate their efforts: In 2010, expect to see the propagators of rogue security software scams take their efforts to the next level, even by hijacking users' computers, rendering them useless and holding them for ransom.
  4. Social networking third-party apps will fraud targets: With the popularity of social networking sites poised for another year of unprecedented growth, expect to see fraud being targeted toward social site users to grow.
  5. Windows 7 will come in the crosshairs of attackers: Microsoft has already released the first security patches for its new operating system.
  6. Fast Flux botnets will increase: Fast flux is a technique used by some botnets, such as the Storm botnet, to hide phishing and malicious Web sites behind an ever-changing network of compromised hosts acting as proxies.
  7. URL-shortening services become the phisher's best friend: Because users often have no idea where a shortened URL - particularly from Twitter - is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on.
  8. Mac and Mobile Malware Will Increase: As Mac and smartphones continue to increase in popularity in 2010, more attackers will devote time to creating malware to exploit these devices.
  9. Spammers breaking more rules: As the economy continues to suffer and more people seek to take advantage of the loose restrictions of the Federal Trade Commission's Can-Spam Act, there will be more organizations selling unauthorized e-mail address lists and more less-than-legitimate marketers spamming those lists.
  10. As spammers adapt, volume will continue to fluctuate: Since 2007, spam has increased on average by 15 percent a year. Spam volumes will continue to fluctuate in 2010.
  11. Specialized malware on the rise: Expect this trend to continue in 2010, including the possibility of malware targeting electronic voting systems.
  12. CAPTCHA technology will improve: Businesses are getting better at stopping automated programs from creating accounts on Web sites. This will prompt more businesses in emerging economies to offer real people employment to manually generate accounts on legitimate Web sites.
  13. Instant messaging spam will surge: As hackers exploit new ways to bypass the technologies that are getting better at catching them, instant messaging attacks will grow in popularity.

 -- Don Willmott