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Web 2.0 Tops 'Emerging Cyber Threats'

The ever-nebulous "Web 2.0" is emerging as one of the five top security risks to watch for both consumers and the enterprise--this according to the inaugural edition of the "GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2008" out of Georgia Tech's Information Security Center. The report, released at the GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats and Countermeasures, identifies the key data security threats that are likely to expand and evolve in the coming year.

According to the report, the chief motivator for all of the top emerging threats will continue to be financial gain, taking advantage of holes in continually advancing applications whose development has been, to date, outpacing the development of countermeasures.

Commenting on the report, GTISC Director Mustaque Ahamad said, “As newer and more powerful applications enabled by technologies like Web 2.0 continue to grow, and converged communications applications increasingly rely on IP-based platforms, new challenges will arise in safegaurding these applications and the services they rely on. The GTISC Emerging Cyber Threats Report for 2008 highlights those areas of greatest risk and concern, particularly as continued convergence of enterprise and consumer technologies is expected over the coming year."

The report listed five broad categories of data security risk, cited below:
  • Web 2.0 and client-side attacks on social networking technologies, aimed at "stealing private data, hijacking Web transactions, executing phishing scams, and perpetrating corporate espionage;"
  • Targeted messaging attacks, aimed at individual users, largely for the purpose of stealing authentications and private data;
  • Botnets expanding the scope of their activities to the theft of information and increasing abuse of DMS servers;
  • Mobile convergence threats, including "vishing," "smishing," and voice spam, plus denial of service attacks targeting voice infrastructure; and
  • RFID attacks, including automated exploitation tools for tracking users via RFID devices, cloning, RF blocking, and even a form of tunneling in which commands, such as SQL queries, might be submitted to an RFID reader.
The predictions, however, are not all dire. The GTISC suggests that in the coming year the gap between application development and security and countermeasure development will begin to narrow as coordination between the "security industry, carriers, Internet Service Providers, application developers, and the user community" increases.

More information, including the complete report, can be found at the links below.

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About the Author

Executive Producer David Nagel heads up the editorial department for 1105 Media's education publications — which include two daily sites, a variety of newsletters and two monthly digital magazines covering technology in both K-12 and higher education.

A 21-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192 or follow him on Twitter at @THEJournalDave (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education). A selection of David Nagel's articles can be found on this site.


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