Social networking sites will be most vulnerable to cybercriminal attacks across the world in the next year, says a report from Trend Micro, an anti-virus, anti-spam and Internet security vendor.

Social networking sites are ideal targets for online criminal activity because of the large number of users, and an apparent high-level of trust among them, the report says.

“Social networking to be the most vulnerable in 2012. In 2011 also, the most number of attacks was either on social networking websites or was through them. This clearly indicates that it is not going to be an easy year for the users of these websites,” the report says.

The report has come up with predictions covering four main categories — big IT trends; mobile landscape; threat landscape; and data leaks and breaches.

“Users in 2012 will need to continue moving towards a more data-centric model for effective security and privacy as they embrace consumerisation, virtualisation, and the cloud,” Trend Micro’s chief technology officer Raimund Genes has said.

In the mobile landscape, says the report, smartphones and tablet platforms, especially Android, will suffer from more cybercriminal attacks.

Among big IT trends, the Bring-Your-Own-Device era is here to stay. As more and more corporate data is stored or accessed by devices that are not fully controlled by IT administrators, the likelihood of data loss directly attributable to the use of improperly secured personal devices will rise. Information Technology will definitely see such incidents in 2012.

A bigger threat

For data leaks and breaches, more hacker groups would pose a bigger threat to organisations that protect highly sensitive data.

“High-profile attacks will continue to hit major organisations in 2012. Important and critical company data will be extracted through malware infection and hacking. As a result, significant data loss incidents will ensue, potentially affecting thousands of users and their personal information,” the report notes.


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