2012 Outlook, Japan’s Cyber Defense & Congress Considers Legislation
The New Year marks new challenges for cybersecurity, according to tech experts and policy forecasters following the topic.
Compiling its own list of cyber risks, security giant McAfee released a new report on the ‘2012 Threat Predictions,’ honing in on an expected rise in attacks on U.S. industrial systems and national infrastructure; an increase in “hacktivism,” or politically-motivated attacks; and more malware directed at smartphones and mobile devices.
“The past 12 months were a transformative year in many ways… We saw great changes in mobile threats, hacktivism, client-side exploitation, social-media exploitation, and targeted attacks,” McAfee said in its report. “Many of these changes and trends will continue to influence the threats landscape for years to come.”
Meanwhile, McAfee’s competitor Panda Security foresees privacy violations and data theft as the “top security issues organizations need to focus on in the coming year,” with foreign cyber-espionage as well as social networking attacks both contributing to the loss of government, corporate and personal data.
“The overall picture is not improving,” Panda Security wrote on its blog. “As new technologies advance, cyber-crooks develop new modes of attack sometimes by simply adapting old techniques to the new platforms. In the end, users’ false sense of security is cyber-crooks’ best friend.”
But, based on the latest reports out of East Asia, not all nations are waiting around to be attacked. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s largest news agencies, the country is working on beefing up its cyber defenses with the development of a new “virtual cyberweapon” – a virus that is said to be capable of tracking and disabling original sources of cyber attacks.
While the specifics of the virus are not yet known [nor might ever be] the Yomiuri reported that the nation’s Defense Ministry commissioned Japan-based IT product developer Fujitsu Global under a 178.5 million yen ($2.32 million USD) contract.
And while Japan’s government may be working to infiltrate attacks, back in the States it seems Congress may also be brewing up its own cybersecurity initiative.
According to Politico Morning Tech, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “promised floor debate during the first Senate work period of 2012, and staffers have been working quietly behind the scenes to make sure that happens. Sections of staff drafts of a cyber bill have been circulating among industry stakeholders, and while nothing is final yet, it appears forces are mobilizing to put legislation forward.”
But Senator Reid won’t be the only one driving the information security debates on the Hill this year, as the National Journal notes that the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force may continue to push for what it says are “industry-friendly” cyber initiatives in lieu of one comprehensive bill, whereas House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) may also aim to put forth his own more expansive legislation.
No matter how the new year goes, make no mistake that cybersecurity issues are here to stay in 2012. And for that, stay tuned to Cybersecurity News for more updates.
For more predictions on cybersecurity in 2012, check out the following headlines:
Pike Research: Smart Grid Security Inadequate, Threats Abound (CIO)
Cyber threats in 2012: 5 pain points (Government Computer News)
The state of information security: 2011-2012 (ZDNet)
The top 10 looming computer security threats of 2012 (Motley Fool)
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