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Wednesday, 21 December 2011 12:08

Top security threats for 2012

Written by Nick Farell

 

Arrival of Mayan god Bolon Yokte fails to make it

Security outfit BullGuard has listed the threats that punters may encounter in 2012 and surprisingly the end of the world caused by the arrival of Mayan god Bolon Yokte is not among them.

Instead, says BullGuard we will see hackers going after the Cloud, QR codes, Internet connected TVs, smartphones and tablets and Windows 8. In a press release, the security outfit said that the Cloud brings with it the hidden dangers of malicious users accessing your data without permission.

QR Codes, or square, barcode-type images are popping up everywhere because they offer quick access to software, websites or services by scanning the code with a phone’s camera. The downside of the speed and convenience on offer is that they could become a prime target for hackers. Apparently it would be a doddle for a hacker to direct a phone towards a malicious website or application, which could then encourage the entry of sensitive data to proceed or start a download of malicious software that could infect a phone to track its location, send SMS messages to premium rate numbers, or reveal credit card or bank account information.

Internet-connected TVs are also a security nightmare waiting to happen. Hackers can access sensitive information such as credit card details, or carry out “phishing” attempts by encouraging users to enter personal data into an online form. The A/V industry has been relatively slow at recognising the importance of security so it’s important that consumers are aware of the threat, and again avoid entering or storing any sensitive data where possible, Bullguard claims.

Smartphones and tablets are being used to store sensitive data all of which could be accessible to malicious parties if not properly protected. Consumers should remain vigilant about what sort of data they choose to store or share from a mobile, and investing in a dedicated security suite can help protect against an ever-evolving range of threats, the company said.

Windows 8 will offer anti-virus and a firewall when version 8 hits the shelves in 2012. While this will mean that everybody has a degree of protection as standard, the downside is that these tools may not be as effective as dedicated security suites, and may not offer comparable protection, Bullguard said. If too many people rely on Microsoft’s solution this could make it a prime target for hackers looking to circumvent security.

Nick Farell

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