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Near impossible to keep your data safe

Tuesday, February 11 15:57:40

Security breaches, cyber criminals and organised attacks made it nearly impossible to keep personal and financial data private last year.

That's according to the annual threat roundup report, "Cashing in on Digital Information," from Cork-based Cloud security firm, Trend Micro.

Large-scale attacks on privacy and security are detailed in the report that covers online bank hacking, mobile threats, infrastructure attacks, and others.

It concludes that, unfortunately, the new technology being embraced may give more opportunities for criminals to thrive, as they evolve their cyber-attacks and endanger business, including online banks and retailers, while moving closer to homes and individuals through mobile technology.

"Last year encompassed major security breaches, increased malware, and mobile threats that impacted people from all walks of life around the world," said Dervla Mannion, Vice President, European Operations Centre, Trend Micro. "Now more than ever, consumers and corporations alike must be diligent in understanding their vulnerabilities, and what should be done from a security perspective to better protect personal data and guard against compromised privacy. While this report details the threat landscape of 2013, more importantly it explains how these threats will continue to evolve and what should be done to mitigate the negative impact."

The report found that online banking malware that directly target victims' finances intensified globally this year, prolific ransomware increased and evolved into Cryptolocker throughout the year.

There was a sizeable increase in both volume and sophistication of mobile threats, as PC-based threats transitioned to mobile platforms. By the end of 2013, we saw a total of 1.4 million malicious and high-risk Android apps being identified. Apple users are not immune. 2013 saw an increase in phishing attacks specifically targeting Apple users as criminals recognise the potential revenue from this install base.

Through social networking and "personal cloud" accounts, personal privacy became a recurring issue. Aggressive phishing attacks riding on the release of popular products such as PS4 and Xbox One emerged to compromise personal information.

High-profile incidents of infrastructure being targeted by cyber-attacks became a reality in South Korea, demonstrating how critical operations can be impacted on a broad scale.

2013 saw increased awareness regarding unsupported versions of Java and Windows XP, which will present widespread security challenges as patches and upgrades cease when support for XP ends April 2014.