Inside data targeted by spam attacks in 2009

This year will see an increase in botnets spreading into corporate networks - gathering data to be used for blackmail or sold on the underground market, according to McAfee.

According to McAfee's January Spam Report, attacks are likely to increasingly target browsers, as it is the area with least protection. It also predicted that the resulting breaches of confidential data will also force companies to overhaul their security practices in 2009.

Greg Day, security analyst for McAfee, said that these attacks were familiar in the consumer space, but were now increasingly targeting businesses. Criminals have involved themselves in illegal practices such as stealing intellectual property or gaining access to customer records.

He said: "There is huge revenue potential from either trying to trick or blackmail people into handing over corporate information, or even using automated attack."

The report also said there was going to be an increase in home business scams taking advantage of the unemployment caused by the credit crunch, such as fake training and certification schemes.

Day said: "We've already seen a lot of this, whether it is a jobs recruitment website which asks for a CV and personal details, an unsecured loan when you've been made redundant, or whether you want to make extra money working from home.

"People are struggling financially, and tricksters are going to do their level best to make you hand over to them what they want."

Click here for more security predictions for 2009.