ESET’s Threat Trends Predictions 2014: The next battle for internet privacy, a new assault on Androids, and a new wave of hi-tech malware

Each year, ESET releases its Threat Trends Predictions report for the coming twelve months, written by our global network of security experts, and based on wide-ranging analysis of trends in cybercrime and malware. This year’s report centres on three key trends, the first and foremost being privacy – the others being threats to mobile devices, and new, hi-tech malware targeting PCs and other devices in the home. You can download the full 35 page report Trends for 2014: The Challenge of Internet Privacy (.PDF).

The reaction to Edward Snowden’s revelations concerning the activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) demonstrates that Internet users really do care about digital privacy and security. Our report analyses how users can protect their information – but ESET experts warn that ensuring data is locked down (by the use of encryption, for instance) is merely the first step towards real security.

“The challenge to internet privacy has not meant a decrease in cases of people affected by any malicious code or other kind of computer threat,” the researchers write. “Concern about privacy is a good starting point, but it is essential for people to be aware of all aspects of Information Security. Otherwise, it is not possible to mitigate the impact of computer threats.”

Next year will also see an escalating increase in serious threats targeting Android phones and tablets – ESET detections of such malware increased more than 60% between 2012 and 2013. This trend is predicted to continue in 2014. ESET Research Laboratory points out that malware afflicting Android now uses classic PC attack methods – the discovery of vulnerabilities, then their exploitation through malicious code.

Filecoders such as the ransomware Cryptolocker have been one of this year’s most notorious attacks, one that is still spreading worldwide. More such malware is expected in 2014.Likewise, Bitcoin and other e-currencies will remain a target for cybercriminals – but gangs may cast their nets wider, and threats against devices such as smart cars, games consoles and smart TVs may loom on the horizon.

The use of DDoS as a means of protest will continue to grow, particularly by people unhappy with the surveillance activities of governments and events in the Middle East. Indeed a lot of hacking as well as DDoS for activist purposes is predicted in 2014; so, expect a lot of attacks against high profile, controversial targets, especially national and local governments and their infrastructure.

Detailed info available in ESET Ireland’s Blog post 2014 security and privacy predictions

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