The results for the IBM 2004 Global Business Security Index Report were announced and the report provide an early look at potential security threats in 2005. The report says that based on early indicators, a new trend this year may be the aggressive spread of viruses and worms to handheld devices, cell phones, wireless networks, and embedded computers, which include car and satellite communication systems.
According to the report, written by IBM's Global Security Intelligence Services team, email-based worms and viruses wreaked havoc on corporate networks in 2004. Email worms such as Bagle, Netsky and Mydoom led the pack in the number of variants and overall impact. During the latter part of 2004, a growing number of viruses aimed at PDAs and other mobile devices, such as the Cabir worm, were released. It is likely that such worms will be used by copycats and may spur an epidemic of viruses aimed at mobile devices.
Some of the potential trends in 2005 include
Mobile Devices - Mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones are the new frontier for viruses, spam and other potential security threats. Bluetooth and other wireless technologies that connect mobile devices pose new exposures for hackers to target.
Identity Theft - There appears to be no end in sight for identity theft. Phishing attacks that use "spoofed" e-mails and fraudulent websites designed to deceive recipients into divulging personal information such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc. will likely continue to plague businesses and consumers.
Malware - Malicious software (known as "malware") writers are getting smarter and are employing basic software development practices to spread destructive software.
Instant Messaging - Botnets will likely move to instant messaging networks for command and control of infected systems.
VoIP - There will likely be an increase in the disruption of VoIP networks. In particular, eavesdropping and denial of service attacks carried out remotely against VoIP networks could provide significant damage for enterprise organizations.
The report summarizes 2004, saying that viruses are on the upswing, despite extensive efforts to contain them. The number of known viruses grew considerably in 2004. It also says that spam is on the rise, despite of the CAN-SPAM Act coming into force in the United States (Editor's note: but we know it's not effective, don't we?), while phising scams continued to grow. The report also touches the subject of infected image files, a new way of spreading malware.