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Cyber cartels to escalate attacks on infrastructure systems

Cyber cartels to escalate attacks on infrastructure systems

Power, oil and gas pipelines and large communications systems are prime targets, warns Verisign.

Critical systems will become prime targets for cyber criminals and the global financial crisis will be exploited for a variety of activities, according to a new report by infrastructure provider Verisign. The report, entitled 2009 Cyber Threats and Trends, claims 2008 was a tipping point for time security threats. It says cyber cartels targeted commercial banking accounts for fraud operations and security measures meant to protect these accounts.

Cyber warfare has also become a reality in today’s political climate, and several regions are seeing a rise in politically motivated activities.

“The cyber security landscape has fundamentally changed where `script kiddies’ no longer perpetrate the lion’s share of malicious activity online,” says Verisign vice president and general manager Jason Greenwood.

“Professionalised cyber criminals, the rise of cyber cartels using online fraud to fund their operations show how we have entered a new era of online security threats.”

The report predicts that critical infrastructure systems will see increased attacks in 2009. These systems are used to deliver services such as power, oil and gas pipelines and large communications systems.

It also predicts that the current global financial crisis will provide opportunities for cyber criminals or spies to exploit the turmoil.

The report also suggests that Middle Eastern cyber cartels will increase online fraud operations to support their agendas.

“Though we have outlined a number of trends we expect to see in 2009, we also believe other disruptors will begin in the coming year and will pose hardships for security professionals in the years to come,” says intelligence director Rick Howard.

“The increased use of mobile phone platforms, virtual worlds and the interconnection of devices will provide new attack vectors that must be considered now, before they take hold.”

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