Predictions from PandaLabs

PandaLabs has long been one of the most trusted names in computer security, providing reliable cloud-based protection to both enterprises and individuals for a generation. Used as a model for multiple similar cloud-based startups over the last decade, the venerated Panda security suite remains one of the most-downloaded anti-viral and anti-malware suites in existence, and for good reason.

Naturally, when PandaLabs makes pronouncements about the future of data security, especially when it relates to the cloud, the IT industry tends to perk up and listen. In a recent blog post, Panda provided a list of their upcoming predictions regarding the evolution of cloud-based security, and these seven predictions are worth discussing.

Prediction one – Malware creation will reach a record high in 2014.

A safe prediction, to be sure, but almost certainly accurate – we’ve seen similar records reached this year and in both 2012 and 2011, making it a safe bet that 2014 will bring with it an even larger explosion of malware variants.

Prediction two – Java will continue to be a thorn in the side of IT security.

Once again, a safe prediction. Billions of computers have Java installed, and a familiarity with Java is a prerequisite for hardened computer criminals. The widespread usage of Java isn’t likely to change in the near future, which means it will likely continue to be used as an infiltration portal for hackers around the world.

Prediction three – Social engineering will play a larger role in intrusions going forward.

Here’s where Panda breaks with much of the common wisdom regarding social media security. While many experts insist that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are moving toward more robust security practices, which is largely true, Panda suggests that the human factor will begin to play a larger role. In other words, the growing tendency of the public to share personal details in their online profiles will arm hackers with information that can be used to execute phishing attacks against highly-placed individuals.

Prediction four – the Android mobile operating system will remain a top target for hackers.

Indeed, the flexible nature of the Android platform, in comparison to Apple iOS, entices many hackers to write malware keyed specifically for Android users. As Android smartphones continue to expand in popularity, this isn’t likely to change.

Prediction five – Ransomware will become a more pervasive threat in the coming year.

A dire prediction, if it turns out to be true. However, we are seeing a resurgence in data backup efforts that counter ransomware attacks. Using one of the many cloud-based storage apps, or backing up data locally, eliminates the effectiveness of ransomware – if more enterprises back up their data regularly, ransomware should actually become less of a threat in the future.

Prediction six – Enterprise-wide mobile security solutions will become a necessity.

Malware is more pervasive, virulent, and intelligent than it’s ever been, and some of the bugs out there are smart enough to circumvent perimeter protection by hiding in mobile devices. Coupled with widespread acceptance of BYOD policies, a comprehensive Enterprise Mobile Management security platform will be the next Holy Grail in cloud-based security.

Prediction seven – The emergence of networked objects will lead to new forms of intrusion.

Perhaps the scariest of all Panda’s predictions, this is one that many experts agree with – the “Internet of Things” poses a serious security risk in the short term. As cars, coffee makers, garage door operners, and home appliances become more intelligent, and therefore more interconnected, hackers will devise new and dastardly ways to worn their way into our lives, sneaking in to our homes via televisions, refrigerators, or stereos. New technology means new security holes, which means the explosion of online-accessible consumer goods we’re going to see over the next year could bring with it a host of new security problems.

Is Panda correct on all counts? Only time will tell – but it’s a safe bet that electronic intrusions will increase in scope and complexity over the next twelve months.

– Jubal McMillan, Editor

More Information:

http://pandalabs.pandasecurity.com/predictions-for-2014/

http://www.itbusinessnet.com/article/Malware-Creation-and-Android-Security-Threats-Will-Hit-Record-High-Numbers-in-2014-Predicts-Panda-Security-2969026

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panda_Security

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