Security had remained in spotlight for most part of 2013 and there is hardly any reason to expect things to be any different in 2014. With technology continuing to get more advanced, the cybercriminals keep thinking of innovative ways to make a mockery of privacy and security using new and sophisticated tools. PC users have been living under the cloud of security threats for well over a decade now and unfortunately for them, there’s a strong chance that they’d be spending yet another year under it. Let’s take a look at five of the major threats that PC users and security vendors may have to fend off during 2014.
Social networking medium
One of the biggest threats that PC users faced during the entirety of 2013 and are expected to get haunted by during 2014 as well is the growing interest of cybercriminals in social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. The sheer popularity of this medium, along with the amount of information that users tend to share online make it an irresistible and highly profitable target. Furthermore, gaining unsolicited access to someone’s account empowers hackers with the ability to exploit the trust that’s implicit within inter-network communications and thus easily trap more victims.
Thought to be a safe and secure alternative to Adobe Flash, HTML5 is web developers’ preferred programming language for creating and organizing web content. However, the language is far from perfect and, according to security vendor McAfee, may allow hackers to gain complete control of target’s device. With the use of HTML5 growing more common, hackers are likely to spend more time trying to uncover its flaws and then exploit them for malicious purposes.
Cloud storage service
The cloud service is likely to be a popular target for the bad guys during 2014. For many users, the cost of service and the convenience of uploading and retrieving data is the only thing that matters. The security of the service and its database is often ignored. This is precisely what the hackers may look to exploit. By gaining access to the cloud system, they’d have little trouble launching a wide-scale attack. The cloud service providers, however, may face a greater threat than the users of the service because getting hold of staff accounts would mean an unhindered access to several user databases. When in doubt about the security protocols put in place by the service providers, it’s best for users to encrypt their data before uploading it to the cloud storage.
The BYOD revolution
For cybercriminals, killing two birds with one stone is a mouth-watering prospect. With more companies allowing employees to bring their own devices to the workplace (BYOD), things are indeed shaping up nicely for the hackers to reap a great amount of reward for a successful attack. They’d only have the incentive of scooping up the personal and financial information of a target’s system, but will also be able to use that very same system to get access to the workplace network and spread across it.
FIFA 2014 World Cup Brazil
The inclusion of the mega-event to the security risks faced by PC users may seem somewhat odd, but undermining the potency of it as a threat can be of dire consequences. Cybercriminals are expecting to exploit the excitement surrounding the FIFA 2014 World Cup that is scheduled to be held in Brazil this year through various scams, with the 419 scam likely to be used most commonly. Users may be coaxed into revealing their personal information by being offered a coveted reward such as free tickets to Brazil, a chance to dine out with their favorite star, or something more believable such as a signed t-shirt, etc.
While the mass-surveillance activities of the National Security Agency (NSA) is perceived as a threat by many computer and Internet users, it’s been deliberately excluded from the list of top threats in 2014. Some of the actions of the security agency are clearly violating the Constitution, but since there’s hardly anything that an average citizen can do about it, there’s no point stressing over it.