A Look Back; A Look Ahead - Cyber Safety in 2012 and Predictions for 2013
What are some of the key cyber safety and security news events of the past year? I've tried to summarize some of the big stories in areas such as cybercrime fighting; cyber bullying stories; legislation; and social media news. This might be the only blog entry I ever write that brings together a school bus driver, a K-pop music star and President Obama.
Many of us at Symantec and Norton have been putting our heads together to predict some of what we can expect to see in 2013, as well. Of the predictions we've come up with (you can read the full list in detail over at Director of Security Technology and Response Kevin Haley's blog) I want to draw your attention in particular to two: the likelihood that cyber terrorism will get highly personal as attacks focus on individuals or minority groups and the possibility that new electronic payment methods could be vulnerable to hacks and breaches.
What do I mean by personal attacks? We've already seen cyber criminal methods used by government groups in conflict such as Stuxnet. And we've seen political efforts against government agencies, as long ago as when the Estonian government's websites were hit by denial of service attacks. Not new. I expect to see more targeting of groups on a smaller scale such as people in groups on social media. Someone who has a different and strongly-held opinion on an issue might join the group in order to access the group's members, then distribute malware to infect their computers and post confusing, abusing or disruptive messages using their accounts as a platform. Or steal their credit cards and make donations in "their name" to the opposing side.
E-payments have so far been adopted slowly by consumers but with the addition of payment methods in social media, we expect to see e-payments grow in popularity in 2013. And where there's money, there will surely be cybercriminals following right behind to rip us off. Most likely we'll see socially spread malware that takes over the user's account, re-sets passwords and uses the encrypted but stored credit card information to make real world purchases for the crooks.
Let's take a quick look at some of the stories in 2012 that stood out to me and if you think I've missed something, please add it in the comments area below.
- January - Facebook rolls out Timeline to all; Microsoft names author of Kelihos botnet; Wikipedia goes dark to protest proposed SOPA and PIPA laws
- February - EU Safer Internet Day; White House announces Industry Botnet group
- March - Dharun Ravi found guilty in Rutgers’ spy-cam/cyber bullying case (seen below, left); Massive credit card data breach
- April - Mac Trojan "Flashback"
- May - Google warns users who have DNS Changer on their computers; human rights and foreign policy websites hacked; FBI warns hotel travelers of risks of public WIFI; Facebook goes public
- June - LinkedIn, eHarmony, Yahoo data breaches; US Dept of Justice sting Carderprofit announced; Facebook reported to be considering letting under 13 year olds join; CDC releases study showing 1/3 of high school kids text while driving; New York school bus driver bullied and videotaped (Ms. Klein, shown below in photo); Common Sense Media study of teens and social media shows positive influence but difficulties in disconnecting
- July - Dropbox security breach; Microsoft offers reward for capture of Rustock author; Korean pop song "Gangnam Style" posted to YouTube, becomes Internet sensation (photo above, top)
- August - FTC proposes changes to COPPA; “sexting” added to Webster's Dictionary; Dropbox adds option of two factor security; President Obama conducts a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" chat
- September - Anti-Islamic video posted to YouTube inflames Middle East in rioting; Norton’s "Cybergeddon" movie launches on Yahoo! Screen; Apple launches iPhone 5; FOSI and partner Symantec/Norton launch A Platform for Good
- October - Facebook hits 1 billion users; Barnes and Noble data breach; Canadian teen Amanda Todd posts YouTube video then commits bullying-related suicide; new research from American Academy of Pediatrics indicates teen suicides are usually due to many factors; Microsoft launches Windows 8
- November - South Carolina tax records data breach; Facebook adds privacy training for new users; Harvard’s Berkman Center releases report on bullying/cyberbullying research; President Obama’s election night tweet is most popular of all time (at right)