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Protect the data, not just the systems

Jack Loo | March 30, 2012
Managers and department heads to shift towards a more data-centric model for effective security and privacy: Trend Micro

Myla Pilao Trend Micro

Mobile devices and social media are two hot areas for security threats, according to Myla Pilao, director core technology, TrendLabs, Trend Micro. She also shares how the threat landscape is going to be this year.

1) What is the current information security landscape for IT leaders?

We see cyber criminals act with even more persistency and sophistication compared to last year, as the world shifts from the PC-centric desktop towards mobile and cloud computing. The repercussion for IT administrators will be an imperative to approach security with a data-centric framework - protecting the data, not just the systems.

In its '12 Threat Predictions for 2012' report, Trend Micro takes a closer look at the different areas of security impact in relation to the Big IT trends, mobile landscape, threat landscape, and data leaks and breaches. 

To stay ahead of the curve, IT leaders will need to continue their move towards a more data-centric model for effective security and privacy as they embrace consumerisation, virtualisation and the cloud. Enclosed below is the impact of the trends: 

  • Big IT Trends: There will be an increase in the numbers and complexities of both BYOD challenges and the securing of physical, virtual and cloud-based systems.
  • Mobile Landscape: Smartphone and tablet platforms, especially Android, will suffer from more cyber criminal attacks. In addition to threats from malicious apps, security vulnerabilities will also be found in legitimate mobile apps, making data extraction easier for cyber criminals.
  • Threat Landscape: Botnets, hackers and cyber criminals will be increasingly more sophisticated and creative in their attack methods, making it tougher for law enforcers to apprehend those responsible.
  • Data leaks and breaches: Aside from higher skilled hacker groups posing a bigger threat to organisations and their data, with privacy redefined, users become more susceptible to data losses through social engineering ploys and more sophisticated cyber crime tools.

2) What are the security areas that will see more emphasis from the user community?

Conversely related to the level of end-user adoption and presence, key security areas emphasised in 2012 would be in mobile and social securities.

With the global increase in smartphone usage, mobile platforms, particularly the Android platform, will become more tempting cyber criminal targets. Due to its popular open platform structure and strong following with at least 51.9 million Android-based devices used globally, the Android platform is a highly sought after target with the increasing growth in users. If current trends hold, Trends Micro expects to see more than 120,000 malicious Android apps by the end of 2012.

Also, as the global population becomes increasingly social, the new generation of young social networkers are at greater risks of data thefts and higher likelihood of falling victim to social engineering. Research shows that the top three social media security risks are malware infection, data leakage and unwilling attack participation. Attracted to arresting headlines like the disastrous earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Kim Jong Il's and Steve Job's death, more end-users will be susceptible to social media scammers and spammers as they leverage every trending topic possible.


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