Top telecom security concerns to watch in 2012 : Verizon Wireless

The adoption of mobile devices,
proliferation of applications and growth of cloud computing are helping
accelerate business innovation and social benefits. 

According to the Verizon “2011 Data
Breach Investigations Report,” the number of data attacks has tripled in
the past five years, making the need to balance security with risk an even
greater priority for businesses and consumers.

Verizon’s ICSA Labs division recommends that
businesses and consumers guard against the following 13 security threats in

1.  Mobile
Malware Is on the Rise. Malware targeting mobile devices will continue to increase,
and enterprises will wrestle with how to protect users.  Obvious targets
will be smartphones and tablets, with the hardest hit likely to be
Android-based devices, given that operating system’s large market share and
open innovation platform. All mobile platforms will experience an increase in
mobile attacks.   


2.  Criminals
Target and Infect App Stores. Infected applications, rather than browser-based
downloads, will be the main sources of attack. Because they are not
policed well, unauthorized application stores will be the predominant source of
mobile malware.  Cybercriminals will post their infected applications here
to attempt to lure trusting users into downloading rogue
applications. Cybercriminals also will find ways to get their applications
posted into authorized application stores. And infections can easily
spread beyond the smartphone and into a corporate network, upping the ante on


3.  Application
Scoring Systems Will Be Developed and Implemented. To reassure users,
organizations will want to have their application source code reviewed by third
parties.  Similarly, organizations will want to be sure that the
applications approved for use on workers’ devices meet a certain
standard.  It is anticipated that the industry will develop a scoring
system that helps ensure that users only download appropriate,
corporate-sanctioned applications to business devices. 


4.  Emergence
of Bank-Friendly Applications With Built-In Security. Mobile devices will
increasingly be used to view banking information, transfer money, donate to
charities, and make payments for goods and services, presenting an opportunity
for cybercriminals, who will find ways to circumvent protections.  To help
ensure the security of online banking, the banking industry is likely to begin
to offer applications that have strong, built-in security layers.


5.  Hyper-connectivity
Leads to Growing Identity and Privacy Challenges.  In today’s business
environment, more users need to legitimately access more data from more places.
This requires the protection of data at every access point by using stronger
credentials, deploying more secure, partner-accessible systems, and improving
log management and analysis. Compounding the issue are a new age of cross-platform
malicious code, aimed at sabotage, and mounting concerns about privacy.
Enterprises will no longer be able to ignore this problem in 2012, and will
have to make some hard choices.


6.  New
Risks Accompany Move to Digitized Health Records. In the U.S., health care
reform and stimulus funding will continue to accelerate the adoption of
electronic health records and related technologies throughout the
industry.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act calls for all
medical records to be electronic by 2014, meaning that much work must be done
in 2012 and 2013 to prepare.   New devices will be introduced that
send sensitive information beyond the traditional boundaries of health care
providers, and more and more health care providers are using mobile devices.
 Along with the need to secure newly implemented EHR systems, securing
mobile devices and managing mobile clinical applications will continue to be an
ever-increasing focus in the health care industry.


7.  Mobile
and Medical Devices Will Begin to Merge. Mobile devices and health care apps
will proliferate, making it easier, for example, to transform a smartphone into
a heart monitor or diabetes tester.  As a result, some experts believe
that industry health care groups will declare mobile devices to be medical
devices in order to control and regulate them.  As interoperability
standards mature, more mobile devices and traditional medical devices will
become nodes on an organization’s network. These devices also will share data
with other devices and users and, as a result, be susceptible to the same
threats and vulnerabilities that computers and other network-attached
peripherals, such as printers and faxes, are susceptible to today.


8.  Smart
Grid Security Standards Will Keep Evolving. In the U.S., public utility
commissions, along with the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
will continue to develop smart-grid standards.  State PUCs will begin to
agree on a standard in the coming year.  The government will increasingly
require utilities to demonstrate that their smart grid and advanced metering
infrastructure solutions protect not only the privacy of consumers and consumer
usage data but also the security of the AMI infrastructure.  At some
point, a single federal framework will supersede state regulations and


9.  New
Concerns Will Surface About IPv6. The federal government is still struggling
with the rollout of IPv6-enabled devices as organizations migrate from IPv4.
 This will be an ongoing concern, and IPv6 specific vulnerabilities and
threats will continue to cause trouble during 2012. In addition, the other two
fundamental mechanisms of the Internet — Border Gateway Protocol and Domain
Name System also now offer a next-generation version.  In 2012, many
will start migrating to these newer versions, generating a new round of
vulnerabilities and exploits.


10.  Social-Engineering
Threats Resurface. More targeted spear-phishing — an email-fraud attempt that
targets a specific organization, seeking unauthorized access to confidential
data will be the major social-engineering threat of 2012.  Efforts to
educate user communities about safe computing practices will continue to be a
challenge as the user base of smart devices increases dramatically. 
Social networking sites will continue to implement protection for users from
malware, spam and phishing, but sophisticated threats will continue to seduce
users to visit a rogue Website or reveal personally identifiable information


11.  Security
Certification Programs Will Increase in Popularity. Certifications will
continue to increase, especially as the government accelerates IT mandates for
its agencies in the areas of cloud and identity; and in turn, the private
sector will follow suit. Internet threats will continue to affect business,
government and user confidence and wreak havoc on computing devices in the
office and at home.  The challenge for all testing bodies will be to stay
ahead of the ever-changing threat landscape and to evolve testing accordingly.
 Some testing bodies may suggest certifying the security of companies as a
whole, not just their products or services, as a way to build trust online.


12.  ‘Big
Data’ Will Get Bigger, and so Will Security Needs. “Big data” —
large data sets that can now be managed with the right tools — will be popular
in 2012 as more companies derive greater value through analytics. Companies
will use the data to create new business opportunities while empowering
evidence-based decision making for greater success.  However, companies
will need to secure this data in order to achieve the gains they seek.



13.  Safeguarding
Online Identities Will no Longer be Optional.  With the rampant growth of
online identity theft, consumers, businesses and government agencies are
seeking ways to better protect their identities.  These groups will look
to the private sector to provide a cost-effective solution that helps to
safeguard their identities and create greater online trust.  

“The proliferation of Internet
connectivity, mobile devices and Web applications are helping to enrich lives
and advance global business opportunity in new meaningful ways,” said
Roger Thompson, emerging threats researcher, ICSA Labs. 

By Team
[email protected]