February 1, 2013 By Hilton Collins
Sophisticated mobile threats, Windows 8 infiltration and large-scale attacks on human population centers are among McAfee Labs’ cyber threat predictions for 2013. In Jan., researchers at the company released their 2013 Threats Predictions report, citing the rise of adaptable and frequent cyberattacks that target global critical infrastructure systems.
This stark forecast came the same month that the Pentagon began planning to expand its cybersecurity forces to more than five times their current size. Recent events and increasingly scary predictions paint a grim picture of the future of cyberwarfare.
“We do see that there’s a shifting trend here concerning large-scale attacks, more in the aspect of disrupting operations,” said researcher Ryan Sherstobitoff, referencing the Shamoon virus attack that shut down 30,000 computers simultaneously in Saudi Arabia in 2012. According to Reuters, Shamoon replaced system files with garbage data, including images of burning American flags, rendering the computers useless.
Sherstobitoff told Government Technology that the world will experience more of these attacks where the purpose is to harm machines on a massive scale, not steal information.
But data theft will still occur in the public sector, despite criminals’ thirst for chaos and destruction. “People who are interested in government targets are not interested in stealing money from bank accounts; they’re interested in stealing intellectual property,” Sherstobitoff explained.