Security threats to beware in 2011

Whilst Windows will remain the chief target for hackers, in terms of operating systems, cyber criminals will look to spread their net further as Microsoft's market share is eaten away by the likes of Apple's different offerings.

Already this year there has been a significant rise in malware targeting Apple users and a specialist version of the notorious Koobface worm was spotted.

"As the Apple OS becomes more commonly used, there will be a nasty worm or virus which is going to target it specifically," said Stonesoft's Airamo.

Of course, Windows will remain the central target for hackers given the dominance it has over competitors, but there will be a change in tactics amongst cyber criminals, explained David Harley, senior research fellow at ESET.

"While there won't be a big shift towards specific targeting of other operating systems, as more people start using them, there will be increased interest in finding weaknesses." Harley said.

Mobile and consumerisation

As workers get increasingly mobile and as they use the same device for personal and business use, the more threats IT administrators are likely to face.

The fact is, with manufacturers like Apple, Google and Microsoft trying to cater to both businesses and consumers, and with the move to the cloud, people are entering the workspace expecting to be able to use a range of devices for work and pleasure.

"With the blurring of the lines between business and personal use, the increased sophistication of the devices and the consolidation of mobile platforms, it is inevitable that attackers will key in on mobile devices in 2011 and mobile devices will become a leading source of confidential data loss," Symantec said in a blog post.

In a Symantec survey, over half of respondents said they will install security software on their mobile device in the future, so at least some are realising the threat facing smartphones and tablets.

Hopefully, 2011 will also be the year when everyone begins to understand the importance of securing their companies' and their own data.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.