Anonymous Reboots, Hacktivism, Cyberoccupiers. Hello 2012

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Clear and present danger: online hacking is one of the biggest national security threats, the Australian Federal Police have warned.

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This comes as several high profile banks online systems locally, including ANZ, have been subject to sophisticated hack attacks, meaning not only a headache for the organisations in question but also may potentially put millions of customer’s personal details at risk.

”Online attacks are becoming more common as organised criminal gangs and motivated individuals understand the technology of the internet and take advantage of the anonymity that comes with it,” an AFP spokesperson told Fairfax Media today.

”The ability for criminals to use technology to commit crime, attack critical infrastructure, engage in terrorist activity and undermine national security is a very real threat.”

The chilling new cyber reality is all the more pertinent with McAfee listing ‘hacktivism’ among its top 10 predictions for 2012.

The security gurus also predict notorious hackers Anonymous  – the people behind high profile attacks on Sony’s PlayStation Network, Mastercard and PayPal to name but a few – will also ‘reboot’ and says they are a “credible force.”

“Anonymous and other hacktivist groups have shown themselves to be dedicated, resourceful, and even agile in choosing some of their targets and operations,” McAfee warns.

This is despite the fact several of its members, many just teenagers working out of a bedroom ,were arrested and charged last year.

2012 will also see a large increase in such attacks and coordinated social media-based hacktivism on Twitter, Facebook and the like.

Hard-line hacktivists supporting the worldwide Occupy movements may also drop the Anonymous label and reinvent itself  as “Cyberoccupiers”, it predicts.

And if you thought the Ryan Giggs Twitter privacy fiasco was bad, there’s far worse to come.

The private lives of public figures including politicians, industry leaders, judges, law-enforcement and security officers will be disclosed this year more than ever before.

Here’s McAfee’s list of predicted security threats for 1212:

· Industrial threats will mature and segment

· Embedded hardware attacks will widen and deepen

· Hacktivism and Anonymous will reboot and evolve

 

· Virtual currency systems will experience broader and more frequent attacks

· This will be the “Year for (not “of”) Cyberwar”

· DNSSEC will drive new network threat vectors

· Traditional spam will go “legit,” while spearphishing will evolve into the targeted messaging attack

· Mobile botnets and rootkits will mature and converge

· Rogue certificates and rogue certificate authorities will undermine users’ confidence

· Advances in operating systems and security will drive next-generation botnets and rootkits

Get the full McAfee 2012 threat lowdown here.

P.S. Happy new year.

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