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Mobile devices expected to be major target for cyber criminals

BUCHAREST, Romania – December 20, 2007 – With increasing numbers of computer users conducting routine activities online, BitDefender expects to see on-going challenges in the security landscape. In its predictions for 2008 BitDefender®, the antivirus and data security solutions specialist, highlights mobile malware, botnets, phishing and identity theft as the main threats.

"User behaviour has changed over the past two years,” said Bogdan Dumitru, BitDefender’s chief technology officer. “With the emergence of the online lifestyle, we believe we will see new threats resulting from online bill payment, stock trading, shopping, gaming and social networking. Traditional anti-virus and other security providers are focused on protecting computer applications, and while this is certainly still important, today’s biggest threats – as well as the most prominent emerging threats – are targeted at the online lifestyle.”

BitDefender’s 2008 security threat predictions include:

PC-based Malware

In 2008, it’s all about the money. BitDefender predicts an increase in targeted exploits of malware and money-driven actions, attempts to collect private databases, financial information, and internet banking details. The attacks are predicted to happen less frequently than they have in the past, but they will be more sophisticated as social engineering will influence daily events.

Spam

Diversity and evolution characterize the next year in spam. With the objective of avoiding filters, spam will use constant variation coupled with heavy obfuscation of both content and intent. Penny stock spam is increasing as well as spam that simply points users to specific (storefront) Web sites.

BitDefender antispam analysts expect political spam to increase as the U.S. presidential elections draw near and other significant worldwide events may be used as "pretexts" for targeted spam waves in 2008.

Attachment spam, which was decreasing in the last few months of 2007, is expected to increase again and become a significant concern in the next year.

Mobile Malware

Mobile devices are prime targets in 2008. Mobile device connectivity via channels like Wi-Fi, GPRS (General Packet Radio Services) and Bluetooth will continue to allow opportunities for malware applications to steal sensitive data.

Major players in the smartphone market will attempt to enforce “off-the-shelf” phone security, however, BitDefender analysts strongly recommend consumers use additional mobile security applications for the best protection against this vastly increasing threat.

Mobile Spam and phishing

Spam and phishing are not just a threat on your computer anymore. Mobile spam, especially via SMS, is expected to increase dramatically in 2008. Since mobile devices are equipped with powerful

Web browsers, common phishing techniques are targeting mobile applications. The WAP-PUSH technology allows "pushing" - that is loading - arbitrary, unsolicited content to mobile devices via WAP, thus providing a novel and very dangerous way to distribute viruses.

Mobile viruses

The beat goes on in 2008 as viruses target mobile devices. Mobile devices with web browsers and always-on internet access have brought the security concerns of the web to the mobile world. Viruses based on browser exploits are predicted become common in 2008.

Botnets

Botnets continue to grow as a threat in 2008. Various versions of the Storm Worm, aka Nuwar, represented the biggest single threat in 2007. The Storm Worm, with thousands of variants, set a precedent of how botnets are expected to develop in 2008. The new and improved backdoor Zlob Trojan is predicted to become one of the major threats over the next year.

Phishing and identity theft

Phishing, both web- and email-based, remains a severe security threat in 2008.Techniques used to defeat antispam filters are expected to become more sophisticated and the use of SSL authentication by phishing websites to get the "lock icon" look in the victim's browser is expected to increase. BitDefender experts also predict the number of targeted bank attacks will grow significantly in 2008.

File infectors

With P2P file sharing already commonplace, the number, diversity and impact of file infectors is expected to increase considerably in 2008.

Adware and spyware

Beware of Adware and Spyware in 2008, as their development and is expected to increase.

Mass mailers

While mass mailers were still quite prevalent in the beginning of 2007, they are expected to lose importance in 2008.

To protect against the above threats, BitDefender recommends that consumers use only the most up-to-date, layered security on PCs and mobile devices. For more information on BitDefender’s security options, please visit www.bitdefender.com.

About BitDefender®

BitDefender is a leading global provider of security solutions that satisfy the protection requirements of today's computing environment. The company offers one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of security software, setting new standards for threat prevention, timely detection and mitigation. BitDefender delivers products and services to over 41 million home and corporate users in more than 180 countries. BitDefender has offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Romania. Further information about BitDefender can be obtained by visiting: http://www.bitdefender.com.

Contact details:

Mike Ottewell
MJO Associates for BitDefender UK
Tel: 01538 361217
E-mail: mjo.associates@tiscali.co.uk

Nick Billington
BitDefender Country Manager
(UK and Ireland)
Tel: 0845 130 5096
E-mail: billington@bitdefender.co.uk
Fax: 0845 130 5069

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