This is how cyber criminals are going to attack you in 2012…

Published this week, Cisco’s annual 2011 security report highlights how cyber criminals are moving away from mass spam campaigns and using far more sophisticated, targeted means of attacking its targets.

Scott Olechowski, threat research manager of Cisco commented that cyber criminals were now employing “…a precision, assassin-like model versus a horrible, carpet bomb type of model.

Let’s look at the up and coming and most effective models and means in which cyber criminals are going to employ in 2012:

Mass account compromise: Piecing together pieces of data gathered from trojan theft and then utilizing them as stepping stones for more lucrative means.
For example: email addresses and passwords acquired from a dating website, then re-used on a banking site, or the use of the email address to re-set passwords for other sites.

VoIP Abuse: Targeting SME’s, hackers place fraudulent long distance calls, some cyber criminals have used VoIP as a means of phishing and have extracted social security numbers from some individuals in US organisations.

Money Laundering (Muling): Criminals use data theft malware to access online bank accounts and then transfer monies to the accounts ‘money mules’. Muling is increasing at a rapid rate and Operation Trident Breach in the US this year saw the arrest of 60+ criminals who had stole over $70 million dollars.

Mobile Devices: With the proliferation in the technology and use of mobile devices, cyber criminals will look to exploit weaknesses in operating systems and in social engineering. The creation of bogus and nefarious apps is a real danger, as is the threat to businesses because of the organisational level network access many have on their mobile devices.

Cloud Infrastructure Hacking: With so much data now held in the cloud, it is an irresistible target for cyber criminals. By attacking a cloud, criminals can attack multiple enterprises in one go.

Data Theft Trojans / Web Exploits / Spyware / Click/re-direct Fraud: These classic forms of cyber attack will continue to be prevalent in 2012 as off-the-shelf software is available to anyone who fancies giving it a go.

In short, cyber crime isn’t going to go away. Quite the opposite. Organised cybercrime is growing at an exponential rate and cyber criminals are quick to use the latest technology to deliver ever more effective and targeted attacks.

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Source: Cisco 2011 Annual Report

You can read Cisco’s full report here.